A home’s electrical box allows electricity to flow from the grid to the home. From this point, a breaker box sends the source current to different parts of the structure. While most people can turn a breaker back on when it flips, not many understand how important it is to know the age of the home’s wiring. Below, readers will learn how the state and age of home wiring can affect the likelihood of a devastating house fire.
If the Home is Over 15 Years Old
Older buildings are more likely to catch fire simply because their electrical components are outdated. Insurers won’t cover homes that have antique porcelain circuitry and old wiring because it doesn’t take much of a load to cause a fire. Insurers run into issues because home inspectors aren’t allowed to cut into the walls in older homes; therefore, they can’t confirm the grade of a home’s wiring. However, it’s easy for residential electrical contractors in Newnan GA to tell if the wiring may be outdated.
Current rules state that the home’s electrical box must be outside. This rule was enacted in part by fire departments, to make it easier for firefighters to cut a home’s power supply. The rule went nationwide about 15 years ago, and a homeowner can roughly estimate a home’s age by looking for an exterior breaker box.
What to Know About Older Home Wiring
In and of itself, old wiring doesn’t always indicate trouble. However, electricians look for clues that may point out hidden dangers and future expensive repairs. Examples include:
- The home’s electrical capacity. Current codes require a 100-amp minimum, although higher capacities are recommended in appliance-filled homes.
- Insulation. It can be damaged by an overload, or if it’s cut or scratched. Homes built in 1960 and before commonly have rubber insulation, which can easily flake or crumble with age.
- Enough outlets. Before WWII, homes usually only had one outlet in each room. Today, though, outlets are typically placed within six feet of a doorway to reduce the need for extension cords.
- GFCIs. Garages, bathrooms, pool decks and kitchens should all be fitted with ground fault circuit interrupting devices through Plugged In Electrical Services.
The average American home is 40 years old or even older, and that means most homes need wiring upgrades to carry the loads required of today’s appliances and tech devices. A residential electrical contractor can tell a homeowner which upgrades their home needs.