Your home's electrical system is easy to take for granted and the signs of wear and tear aren’t always obvious. You may assume that if your lights and appliances are working fine, that means your wiring is too. Unfortunately, that’s not always the case.
Prevent House Fires by Rewiring
According to the National Fire Protection Association, the leading causes of fires in U.S. homes are electrical failures or malfunctions. In 2019 alone, local fire departments responded to 1.3 million fires, totaling nearly $15 billion in property damage. Prevention is key to keeping your family and property safe.
The majority of electrical fires are caused by wiring issues. Outdated, damaged, or overloaded wiring and electrical panels are common in older homes. If your wiring was installed after 1960, it is insulated and has ground wires. But wiring doesn’t last forever and yours may have deteriorated, making rewiring necessary.
Simply put, rewiring means removing the old wires in your house and installing new ones. The newly installed wiring is safer and can handle the electrical needs of modern households far more efficiently than outdated systems.
There are some signs you can be aware of that may indicate your home needs to be rewired. If you notice any of them, your best course of action is to contact a professional electrician.
1. Frequently Blown Fuses or Tripped Breakers
If your circuit breakers flip or the fuses blow when you use several appliances at the same time, your system is probably insufficient for your electrical needs. Older electrical systems offer fewer amps compared to new ones. Electrical overloads can burn out devices and even cause house fires. Worn-out wiring is another possible cause of blown fuses.
2. Flickering or Dimming Lights
Lights can flicker or dim when the bulb isn’t properly connected or just needs to be changed. But in some cases, the problem is caused by faulty wiring, especially if the issue is with the lights throughout your home.
3. Light Bulbs that Burn Out Frequently
When a particular socket burns through bulbs too quickly, the problem most likely lies in the socket. However, if all of your light sockets seem to be that way, your home’s wiring may be to blame. Fluctuating voltage in your electrical system can quickly wear out light bulbs. These fluctuations might be due to an overloaded system or loose connections.
4. Buzzing or Sizzling Sounds
When your home is quiet, you may hear wiring or switches making a faint buzzing noise. This is normal for lights on dimmer switches or large electrical appliances like refrigerators. But most light switches, outlets, and circuit breakers should not make buzzing noises. Buzzing in these areas suggests overloaded wires or circuits.
5. A Burning Smell
A burning smell that isn’t coming from something you're cooking likely means there is an electrical issue in your home. If you can’t trace the smell to a single appliance like a toaster or coffee maker, the problem could be in your wiring. A short within your walls could spark a fire, so it’s important to pay attention to burning smells.
6. Shocks from Outlets or Light Switches
Electric shocks - even a slight tingle - when plugging in an appliance are major warning signs of problems in your home’s wiring. In some cases, they signal incorrect grounding of the system. They can also trace back to faulty wiring or outdated electrical panels.
Electric shocks can be fatal, with about 1,000 people in the U.S. dying every year because of them. That’s reason enough to have an electrician inspect your electrical system if you experience any shocks from outlets or switches in your home.
7. Burnt or Hot Outlets
Brown or black charring on or around an outlet’s contact openings means a small fire occurred within. These fires are usually the result of a loose connection or faulty wiring that causes a short. All outlets and switches should be cool to the touch. Warm spots or scorch marks are indications of unsafe wiring that needs immediate repair.
8. You Live in an Older Home
Aluminum wiring was popular in the 1960s when copper prices were high. Aluminum is more likely to sustain damage or cause fires compared to modern copper wiring. Knob-and-tube wiring was used before the 1940s and is even more dangerous.
If you have outdated wiring, or aren’t sure what type of wiring you have, contact an electrician for an inspection. They’ll be able to evaluate your wiring and determine if updates are needed.
Leave Rewiring to the Professionals
Rewiring is a complex task that should always be handled by a licensed professional. In addition to being dangerous for DIYers, electrical work must be completed according to applicable local codes to avoid costly mistakes and future repairs.
If you suspect your home has outdated or damaged wiring, contact a licensed electrician for a thorough inspection. They’ll check your electrical panel, wiring, and other areas for problems and be able to safely make necessary repairs. Rewiring can increase your home’s safety with the added benefit of extra switches and outlets needed for modern appliances and new electronics.
When you need electrical work for your home or business, call on the experts at Pallardy Electric. We’ve been serving St. Charles and St. Louis counties since 2001. We’re licensed, bonded, and insured for your safety and protection. Call us at (636) 202-1794 to schedule a free estimate. We look forward to working with you.