6 Common Signs Your Home Needs Rewiring
Electrical fires not only put your family at risk, but they also destroy your property. According to the U.S. Fire Administration, Americans experience over 24,000 electrical fires every year. Since your wiring produces heat energy as it transfers electrical power, ignoring the signs of trouble can turn out to be a fatal mistake.
The following are the signs that your home needs rewiring.
1. Your Wiring Is in Disrepair
Just like any other installations, your home wiring has an expiry date. When used as per the appropriate guidelines, it can last for up to 20 years.
When electrical cables begin to age, especially in older homes, they deteriorate and start to pose hazards and fire risks. However, age alone doesn’t indicate that the wiring is unsafe. It’s important to ask a competent electrical technician to undertake a thorough inspection.
The technician will look for signs of disrepair, such as damaged insulation caused by excessive heat. The presence of naked (live) wires is a safety hazard. If you see any of these signs, avoid the temptation to cap the wires with electrical tape.
These wires need to be terminated in a junction box, and only an electrician should do it. Note that this is a temporary solution, and you’ll eventually need to replace your wiring.
2. Persistent Burning Smell
If you notice a persistent burning smell without an identified cause, it’s probably coming from behind the walls. Since the electrical cabling is hidden by the walls, you cannot afford to ignore this warning. In most cases, the problem could be a short circuit.
A short circuit is an unusual electric connection that allows additional electrical power to run between various appliances, outlets, and switches. The short circuit generates additional heat that can also cause a fire within the wall. This fire will damage the insulation eventually and reach various parts of your house.
The short circuit is caused by frayed wires that come close to each other. So, the only remedy is to rewire your house so electricity can stay within the intended circuit.
3. Scorched Sockets or Switches
If you have a tendency to connect faulty extension cables to your outlets, they can short-circuit and overload the cables. The result is a small fire as a result of the excess heat. Scorched sockets and switches are easy to diagnose since you will notice a discoloration.
In extreme cases, plastic outlets may even melt. Obviously, they pose a great hazard and need to be replaced immediately.
Even if you haven’t overloaded your wiring, the outlets can burn if the installers weren’t careful during their work. It’s important to undertake an electrical safety evaluation once you complete the wiring before you can connect to the grid. Most importantly, ensure your circuit breaker is in good shape at all times.
4. Fuses and Circuit Breakers Blow Repeatedly
A fuse is important because it limits the amount of electrical power that flows to various appliances. It has a thin wire that melts once the power exceeds a certain threshold. A typical residential fuse will blow at 15-20 amperes. It does this to protect various appliances from damage.
However, fuses can also blow if you overload them. A modern electrical cooker requires a 13-amp fuse to operate efficiently. So if you’ve connected one fuse to several appliances, they’ll blow often. You need to protect your home appliances by rewiring your house so you can install a fuse for every appliance.
Also, most old homes have 5-amp fuses that can blow easily if you connect them to the microwave, toaster, and kettle. Consider rewiring your home, and invest in 13-amp fuses to avoid electrical hazards.
When the circuit breaker trips, it means too much electricity is flowing through it, and it cannot handle the load. However, if it trips often, it can be frustrating since it indicates a deeper problem in your wiring. These problems include:
- Electrical overloads when the circuit has more power than it can handle
- Short circuits when the live wire touches the neutral wire
- Ground faults when the live wire touches the earth wire
- Arc faults or sparking due to loose connections
Arcing is the main cause of tripping, and it’s vital to identify the loose connections to address the problem. Nowadays, it’s vital to install the arc-fault circuit interrupter (AFCI) to safeguard homes from the risk of fires by arcing.
5. Flickering or Dimming Lights
The main cause of flickering lights is an overloaded electrical system. You’ll notice that your lights will start to flicker when you run the dryer, microwave, or air conditioner. In older homes, these appliances are usually in the same circuit as the lights.
In such a situation, the circuit breaker is overloaded, and it’s just a matter of time until it gives.
The overload causes internal arcing within the circuit breaker that flashes and flickers dangerously. Also, it sends a heatwave that can damage the flammable insulation. If your lights aren’t flickering as a result of loose bulb connections, consider rewiring your house to prevent hazards.
6. Electric Shocks and Sparks
The prevalence of electric shocks in your home is no laughing matter as it indicates one or several of your outlets is malfunctioning. Electrical shocks occur when various parts of your wiring disengage from the box and become unstable.
Damages such as cracked casings and frayed wiring can introduce new and unpredictable paths in the system. Sparks and burn marks will appear in such outlets, and it’s vital to call an electrician immediately.
The old generations of outlets have two prongs instead of three. This means they have the neutral and live wires but don’t have the earth. The earth wire redirects unstable electrical currents to the ground instead of transferring them to the live wire.
Therefore, the risk of electrocution in homes that don’t have the earth wire is high. Avoid using the neutral wire as earth since it’s neither safe nor legal to do so.
Update Your Electrical System
Updating your home’s electrical system through rewiring is the best way to prevent electrical fires. While rewiring, it’s vital to correct any mistakes that pose a variety of risks. Electricians at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning understand the loading capacities of fuses and circuit breakers, and we’ll work to ensure all your appliances are protected.
It’s important to separate the heat-generating appliances from the others. For example, hairdryers, microwaves, toasters, and cookers convert electrical energy into heat, so they require extra protection.
If you’re not careful, they can damage other appliances such as TVs and computers. A successful rewiring project starts with a sound electrical design that meets all codes and regulations.
Are you worried that your faulty electrical system could put your family at risk? Contact us today at Black Lion Heating & Air Conditioning so we can undertake a comprehensive rewiring exercise to protect your loved ones and your property as well. We also offer HVAC services for all your heating and cooling needs in Seattle and the surrounding areas.