Older homes can have a variety of problems, and many of them originate with the electrical system. Knowing the electrical problems that are common in older homes can help you in your first few months after moving in. Once you’re aware that the problems exist and what effects they can have on your life, you can hire an electrician to make repairs as needed.
A fuse box is like an old-fashioned circuit breaker box. There’s nothing inherently wrong with a fuse box, provided that it is well-maintained and provides adequate electrical service to your home. However, there are some things about fuse boxes that can be problematic for homeowners.
For example, some fuse boxes are simply too run down to work properly. Other fuse boxes may have been modified by previous homeowners to provide too much power to individual circuits. This could potentially cause an overload or electrical fire.
There’s no way to tell from the outside if a fuse box is in good condition. If your new home has a fuse box, have it inspected by a certified electrician to ensure that it the box is safe for you to use.
GFCI stands for ground fault circuit interrupter. A GFCI outlet is designed to shut down if the current flowing from hot to neutral fluctuates or changes. These outlets are important because they can protect people from electrocution.
GFCI outlets are not a common feature in older homes unless the home’s electrical system has been recently updated. Look for GFCI outlets in the bathroom and kitchen, and in rooms where moisture is common. These outlets are easily identified by the black and red buttons on the outlet face. If your new home does not have these outlets, have them installed by a qualified electrician.
Decades ago, homes needed less electricity to run. As a result, many fuse boxes and older circuit breaker boxes fail to provide adequate power for modern families. Inadequate electrical service can lead to problems like fuses and circuits blowing regularly. Depending on the circumstances, this can also lead to electrical overload that could cause a fire.
If your home has inadequate electrical service, you’ll probably notice warning signs. Some common problems people experience when their electrical supply is inadequate includes:
You may also notice problems stemming from appliances and electrical devices that draw too much power on individual circuits. For example, electrical outlets and light switch plates can get warm or hot when they’re overloaded. Feel outlets from time to time to find out whether or not they’re heating up. Watch for problems like scorch marks on the walls over outlets.
Another common problem that many older homes have is a lack of outlets. Lack of outlets can lead to a heavy reliance on extension cords. This can be a danger for many reasons. Extension cords can be a tripping hazard. They’re also not durable enough to be used as a permanent fixture in your home.
If the older home you buy has a lack of electrical outlets, talk to your trusted electrician. They can install additional electrical outlets in each room as needed.
If you’re buying an older home and need to know more about the electrical problems you may encounter on the property, contact In Phaze Electric Inc. We’re happy to answer any questions you might have.