Old house electrical wiring: A guide for a buyer
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 They are made of outdated material and cannot handle most of the new appliances.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:
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.
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 :
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.
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.
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.
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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.
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.
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.