02: Common Wiring Issues

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Common Wiring Issues With Older Homes

A Must-Have Article About Your Home’s Electrical System: Article 2 of 10

[/vc_column_text][vc_empty_space height=”22″][video_embed url=”https://vimeo.com/335577501″ border=”yes”][vc_empty_space height=”22″][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”hb-custom-sidebar-schedule-homeelectricedusale”][vc_separator color=”custom” accent_color=”#ffe300″ css=”.vc_custom_1577421655064{margin-top: 20px !important;margin-bottom: 20px !important;}”][vc_column_text]There are numerous potential wiring issues with older homes. Some of them are potentially dangerous. Some are inconvenient. Some are cosmetic. They can all add up to significant work and expense, so give some thought to them in preparation for either purchasing an older home or renovating one.

Fuse Boxes

If the house has a fuse box, rather than a breaker box, it is almost certainly grandfathered in. If it met code when it was installed, it is legal today. However, fuse boxes are no longer manufactured, and it is likely that you will want to replace it with a breaker box eventually. The complexity of that fix can vary a great deal, depending on how much the fuse box installation varies from current code. When replacing a fuse box, be sure to install a breaker box with sufficient capacity for expansion. The standard in new home construction today is 200 amps. Even if your anticipated needs are far short of that, the additional cost when installing the new panel is insignificant to just the cost difference between the two boxes, which is typically under $100.

Brittle Wiring

With age, the insulation on your home’s wiring can become brittle, leading to cracks that permit shorts and fire hazards. Finding the problem can be easy, but the remedy can be costly and time-consuming.

To begin with, problems with the wiring itself are not likely to be localized within one area of the house. If there is a problem, it is a problem throughout the house, so the fix is not localized, either. When planning a renovation of the wiring in such a situation, you will likely want to completely rewire the house.

Former Owners DIY Wiring Repairs. 

Even if you find the wiring to be in good shape, you may find that previous owners made repairs of or expansions to the original wiring, and some of them were done improperly. Regarding wiring, done improperly translates to dangerous. A thorough examination of the home’s wiring to locate such fixes is definitely worth doing.

Snaking Wires.

When installing new wiring in an existing home, getting the wires where they need to be is the most difficult part. If you are gutting the house, removing the sheet-rock or lath and plaster, you will be able to re-wire just as simple as wiring a new home. That usually isn’t the case. Most of the time, wires will need to be snaked through walls and ceilings to get them to the outlets, switches, light fixtures, and hardwired appliances in your home. Experienced electricians can usually accomplish this with minimal disruption, but it can be a major challenge to the amateur.

Other Issues.

Then there are the relatively minor issues regarding the need to replace outlets, switches, and light fixtures throughout the house. If you have had to replace all of the wiring in the home, switches, and outlets are not an issue at all. Replacing them will incur little effort or expense. Lighting fixtures are a different issue and a highly personal one. Old lighting fixtures may be a major part of the charm of the house and they might be very expensive to replace.

That brings us to the issue of who is going to do this work. Examining and repairing the wiring of an older home is not a job for an amateur. In a major renovation of an older home, building permits will be required. With building permits come inspections by local code enforcement officers. For safety and for convenience, you will want a licensed electrician to stand behind the work.[/vc_column_text][vc_widget_sidebar sidebar_id=”hb-custom-sidebar-schedule-homeelectricedusale”][/vc_column_inner][vc_column_inner width=”1/3″][vc_column_text]

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