Old house electrical wiring: A guide for a buyer

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 signs that should prevent from buying.

Old proprieties are full of charm and historical style and architecture. It is still the reason why they are widely appreciated today . Unfortunately, they require  a lot of maintenance, renovations and repairs. Whether you like it or not  ,you will, at some point, make renovations.  Your electrical system  plays a major role in these changes and it is of paramount importance to have an idea on the most important ones .

Old does not means bad. A bad electrical system can be only detected by a licensed inspector  but can be good as well. The most important problem with old installations is that they do not respect  new and updated norms . They are made of outdated material and cannot handle most of the new appliances.   bad wiring or installation can be performed by an electrician or hobbyist.

Why is it important for  a potential buyer or owner to know all of this?  simply because he will be aware  of every important change that is involved . This article will be divided into the following sections:

  1. Signs that should prevent a potential owner from buying. Every potential buyer  should be aware of the  problems that can put  his finances and him  down. This part will highlight the most important electrical signs that should alert him and make him thinks twice before making an offer.
  2. What is involved in the wiring. If you have not noticed none of the previous signs, then it’s good point. Maybe you have decided to buy that house and here we are.  Since there are many damages that can be hidden , an inspection will always be required by the authorities in charge.  You will therefore process to rewiring. This part will give  an insight of what is involved in rewiring: costs, type of renovations etc.                                                                                                      why to  rewire an old house

Electrical signs that should prevent you from buying.

If  you plan to visit or live in an old home , carefully check your system . if you see at least one of the following signs then you  might need an electrical system repair :

  1. Overcrowded outlet or junction box : this will undeniably alert you . A huge amount of cables are mixed , tied together and  pushed out of the box. There is a risk of  overheating  which can lead to fire.  An Overcrowded box is a sign of non professionalism . you have to look for that company to make sure to not hire it in the future.
  2. Loose connections or connections with electrical tape. I have never understood why we still find this kind of situations in wiring. How is it possible to allow cables without any protection. Anyway, if you face this problem, know that it is a serious one. Imagine how unsafe your children will be. With loose connection there is a high risk of electrocution(  what to do in case of a domestic electrocution) . Connections can be  lost inside or outside an electrical outlet for example. You may not notice them  if they are located inside. Another issue is the use of an electrical tape.  electrical tapes can offer a protection that can last for days. But because they are not safe over time, they are prohibited in many installations.Mainly  used as a protective option( to  protect users from electrical shocks when they come across those cables), they represent a good solution for a small period of time. You will see this type of bad and wrong connections many developing countries.
  3. Outdated control panel: many homeowners can not identify  an outdated control panel. so one  tip will be  to check how to turn the power off. if    more than one circuit breaker  must be shut off , then it is an  Old control panel . it has been designed in that way.  but many regions do not allow such connections anymore.
            you may also want to read avoid electrical pitfalls when buying
4. Opened junction boxes. mostly found in the basements, opened junction boxes look          unprofessional, which it’s true. they reflect an unfinished work . It is never safe to leave a box   open. Why? Simply because it is another cause of electrocution. Direct contact with these cables, especially if they are  not protected, can shock you and lead to fatal injuries.
  1. Exposed cables: they are found in receptacles. you might not notice those during your first visit unless the outlets have been disconnected. if you see those cables, know that those who did the connections were not qualified for that work .Start thinking on hiring good professionals.  how to find a good electrician in your area.
  2. Scratches or rusted cables.  After a while or a certain period of time, cables  due to  air and the lack of protection become sensitive. You have to pay attention on that because they will for sure invite fire in your home.

What is involved?

After the inspection, you might be required to do a rewiring or not. If your system doesn’t have any big issue, then skip this part and move on. But if it does and need rewiring , then this is what to know:

  • Try to figure out old electrical wiring in your home. In other words, what you have to  do is to draw the electrical connections that link each circuit and sub circuits. With basic knowledge of house wiring, you will be able to carry out the wiring between each room( switches and lights)  and the corresponding circuit breaker. If you are not comfortable with the idea, then contact a professional.
  •  The costs: they depend on the area, the age and size  of the house, etc. It starts at $7000 and can go up to $18000 for 1,500 to 3,000  square-foot home. those costs also take into consideration all the extra-work that will take place. Plaster work, floorboards or mouldings will be affected an fix back and handled with care.
 As a buyer, it is of paramount importance to know which parameters should make you buy a house or not. This article has pointed out the electrical signs that can facilitate that decision. If you decide to buy, then,an inspector is required for testing and to avoid future accidents.

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