Electrical Risk in Older Homes - Wire Craft

With the trend of DIY home improvements and the reality TV shows that glamorize it, house-flipping is emerging as a popular option for homeowners and hobbyists alike. And what’s not to love? The idea of taking a run-down fixer-upper and turning it into your dream home is an alluring Cinderella story. However, it’s important to note that there are also some major risks involved that you’ll need to be mindful of – particularly in terms of a home’s electrical setup.

We’re not just talking about electrical fires either, but electrocutions as well. There are 30,000 non-lethal home electrocution incidents reported each year. If you’re living in an older home, that number dramatically increases. This doesn’t mean you should avoid buying an aging house or forgo your house flipping hobby, but there are some key electrical issues you’ll want to be aware of to protect your home and yourself.

Key Electrical Issues

Electrical Risk: Outdated Wiring

It’s widely known at this point that aluminum wiring can lead to electrical fires, but it can also be a major risk for electrocutions as well. When you buy your home, you’ll want to confirm what type of wiring is used throughout the house. If it was built in the 1970s or earlier, there’s a strong chance that there’s aluminum wiring in your walls. If that’s the case, you’ll want to consult an electrician right away. Don’t even open your circuit box without consulting an expert – you don’t want to risk a fatal shock from a live wire when you open it.

Aluminum wiring needs to be taken care of immediately. The longer its in your home, the bigger a threat it poses. It can be a massive undertaking, but it’s far better than the alternative of burning down the house or harming you and your loved ones.

Electrical Risk: Outdated Outlets

Over the past several decades, home outlets have undergone a major evolution but in the technology used and how they’re placed throughout your home. For instance, you might find two-pronged outlets instead of the modern standard of three-pronged outlets. These can be fine for a time, as long as you’re only using two-pronged electronics. Do not use adapters that convert these old outlets to the grounded, three-pronged plugs.

These can cause even more issues and give users a deadly shock. Likewise, older outlets may not have ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These are the red and black buttons you’ll often find on select outlets in a modern home. These exist as a safety precaution to shut off an electrical circuit if it’s detected to be flowing in the wrong path. In both of these cases with outlets, you’d be better off installing new, up-to-date and grounded outlets rather than trying to make due with the old ones.

Electrical Risk: Poorly Placed Outlets

Safety codes have come along way since the 20th century and so has technology. You likely have more electronics, fixtures, and devices you need to plug in than someone would in the 1970s. This means that the outlets throughout your older home might not be placed conveniently at all. Some may even be in unsafe locations, like next to sinks or bathtubs.

In the cases of outlets near water, that may seem obvious to most as an essential fix. However, you also might be tempted to make inconveniently placed outlets to work by using power strips and extension cords. The more you’re daisy-chaining your power, the higher the risks go up for fires and electrocution. Instead of making due, make a change and invest in installing new outlets throughout your home in places that make sense for the modern age.

Old homes can be fun projects, but they come with a lot of electrical baggage. The best thing you can do is bring in a professional electrician to help get you up to code. They will also give you peace of mind that you aren’t at risk of a major accident. That’s where Wire Craft comes in.

We can help you install new wiring, outlets, and any other major electrical needs in your home. Let’s avoid any electrical risk at your home. Give us a call today.