If you own an older house that hasn’t had the electrical system updated, you may have outdated wiring or circuits that could be putting your family at risk. Old, damaged, or inadequate components can cause appliances to fail and can even spark a fire.
Signs of an Electrical Problem
- Frayed wires are a serious fire hazard. Wires can be accidentally nicked or pinched or damaged by nails, screws, heat, corrosion, bending, or rodents, or simply by time.
- Electrical outlets and switches should not feel warm when you touch them and shouldn’t have any discoloration from excessive heat. If they do, the wiring may be outdated and unsafe. Crackling or buzzing sounds coming from an electrical switch, outlet, or appliance mean there is a problem.
- Any smoke coming from an appliance, outlet, or baseboard means there is a problem. Turn off all appliances and the circuit breaker and call an electrician.
- Outlet covers and switch plates should be firmly attached to the wall to keep the wires inside secure. If a cover is damaged, loose, or missing, have it replaced.
- Many houses built in the 1960s and 1970s have aluminum wiring, which can corrode if it comes into contact with copper and create a fire hazard. Aluminum wires can be retrofitted to make them safe.
- The circuits and wiring in older houses were not designed to handle the demands of the numbers and types of appliances and devices the typical family uses today. If you frequently have to reset your home’s circuit breaker, it could mean that you are overloading the electrical system and that it needs to be updated.
- Using fuses with a higher amperage than the wires are designed to safely handle can cause wires to overheat. That can damage the insulation and create a fire hazard. The problem must be corrected by rewiring the old circuit.
- If lights dim when you turn on another appliance, the circuit breaker may be overloaded. If lights flicker on a windy day, that could mean that there are frayed wires in the weather head, an outdoor fitting where overhead power lines enter the house. That can cause a short when the cables move, which is a fire hazard. Contact your utility company and ask it to inspect the weather head and to replace it if necessary.
- Many older homes don’t have ground-fault circuit interrupters, which quickly shut down a current to prevent an electric shock. This is particularly important in wet areas, such as the kitchen and bathroom. If your home doesn’t have GFCIs in those areas, you can have an electrician install them or do it yourself.
Have a Professional Inspect Your Home’s Electrical System
An outdated electrical system can be dangerous. If you have noticed any of these problems, have an electrician conduct an inspection and make any necessary repairs. L-Train Electric serves the area from Northern Connecticut to the Shoreline. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.