Common Electrical Problems in Older Homes and How to Address Them

While older homes have so much charm and history, there could be many issues underneath the surface. Electrical problems are very common in older homes because of the advancements in technology and materials used today versus when the home was built.

Older homes can have many different kinds of electrical issues that need to be addressed immediately for the safety of everyone living in the home, as fires and electrocution can be a result of ignoring electrical issues. Here are the six common electrical problems in older homes and how to fix them.

Dead Outlets

Decades ago, there were electrical codes for residential homes to follow. As a result, homeowners were attempting to do their own DIY electrical jobs. Outlets were a common issue so homeowners tried to fix them which often resulted in a dead outlet. When you try to plug something into an outlet in your home and it doesn’t work, a professional electrician needs to either replace the wires or rewire the outlet if they were disconnected.

Aluminum Wiring

Houses that were built before the 1970s typically used aluminum wiring as a less expensive alternative to copper wiring to run the power. We’ve learned over time that aluminum wiring is highly corrosive when it comes into contact with copper wiring, resulting in potential housefires. If you see aluminum wiring in your house, or your house was built before the 1970s, an upgrade to all-copper wiring is necessary for the safety of your home.

Bad Fuses

In older homes, fuse boxes were used instead of modern electrical panels with circuit breakers. When the circuit gets overloaded, a fuse will pop and that fuse needs to be replaced. If you still have a fuse box, upgrade to an electrical panel to reduce the headache of having to replace fuses every time they blow. For extra safety, you can also choose to have a whole-house surge protector installed that protects your electronic devices from external and internal power surges. If you live in an area where the voltage can suddenly spike, such as during lightning or frequent power outages, a whole-house surge protector can help protect your devices like televisions and computers from damage when there are voltage increases.

Flickering Lights

If you notice the lights flickering when there is heavy winds outside, it’s likely that your weatherhead may be to blame. The weatherhead is located on your roof where cables from the local power line are connected in order to power your house. If the lights flicker during windy days, most likely the wiring inside the weatherhead is frayed and needs to be replaced.

Inadequate Power

Older homes usually only have 100 amps of power because heavy use of technology wasn’t common. As more devices were  brought into the home over the last few decades, the need for more power started to increase significantly. Modern homes are equipped with 200 amps of power in order to accommodate the various devices we use in our daily lives. If you live in an older home but need more power then you can install a 200 amp electrical panel to give you the electricity you need. You can also install a portable generator as a back-up source of electricity in case you lose power in your home. Portable generators run on gas, diesel, liquid propane, or solar power, and are completely separate from your home’s electrical system, making it ideal as a back-up in case of an emergency.

Insufficient Grounding

Grounding is a way to get rid of excess electricity, because too much electricity can start fires or cause electrocution. It’s common for most older homes to lack the proper grounding, indicated by fuses that pop consistently if you still have a fuse box in your home. A professional electrician can properly ground your home and replace the old fuse box with a modern electrical panel.

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Wolverine Electrical Contracting is committed to safe and reliable electrical work for your home. Contact us today for an estimate by our friendly technicians who want to resolve your electrical issues as quickly and safely as possible.

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