How Can I Tell If My House Needs Rewiring?

2014 Apr 08
Posted in: Electrical
Electrical Wires

Do you have an older home? Your home may need rewiring for safety purposes.

According to a 2008 study by the U.S Fire Administration (USFA), insulation around electrical wires are the leading cause (30%) of electrical fires in the U.S.

These fires usually ignite in homes built 50+ years ago. So a house’s age is the first sign it needs rewiring. 

Sometimes rewiring is unnecessary and your existing electrical system can be brought up to date and made completely safe. Using the right professional, like George Brazil electricians, who are properly trained to apply cutting edge methods and technology could solve your problems without rewiring the whole home and help to minimize your costs. Yet, sometimes a whole home rewire is still the best course of action.

Why older wiring causes fires

Older wiring cannot handle the electrical load of the typical modern home. The electrical load from multiple TVs, phones, hairdryers, microwaves, washers and dryers cause the wires to heat up. Since the wires are probably deteriorating or aren’t properly insulated, the heat causes insulation and surrounding materials to catch on fire.

So, other than age, how can you tell if your house needs rewiring?

Here are two ways:

1) Circuit breaker trips frequently

Your circuit breaker’s job is to prevent fires by “tripping” or cutting off electrical flow when a circuit exceeds the number of amps it’s designed to handle.

Circuit breakers trip for several reasons, such as faulty or overheating electrical appliance connected to the circuit. But old, faulty wiring can also be the culprit.

2) You have aluminum wiring

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, failing aluminum wire connections can cause overheating that can cause a fire. It’s estimated that 2 million homes were built with aluminum wire between 1965 and 1973.

You can tell if you have aluminum wiring if  “AL” is on the wiring jacket.

3) Several discolored or charred outlets and switches

This is a sign that there’s a short caused by either a loose connection or faulty wiring near the outlet or switch. The loose connection caused arcing and sparking that resulted in a small fire which caused the surface of the outlet to char, discolor, or worse.

4) Persisting burnt smell

Do you notice a persisting burning smell with no identifiable source? It’s possible that you have an electrical short. If you don’t notice any discoloration on outlets or switches, the short may have occurred from wiring within the walls.

If that’s the case, turn off the circuit and call an electrician immediately.  

Best time for whole-home rewiring

Prepare yourself: Whole-home rewiring is a big job since an electrician needs to get behind your walls.

To kill 2 birds with 1 stone, rewire the entire home during a larger home remodeling project (kitchen remodeling, adding an additional room, etc.)

Do you suspect your home needs rewiring? Get a whole-home electrical inspection from one of our master electricians.

George Brazil has been keeping Phoenix-area homes safe, comfortable and energy efficient since 1955. Contact us online for more information about any of our services.
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