When Is It Time to Replace Electrical Wiring?

Eventually, it will be time to replace electrical wiring in your home. The process requires extensive work by a licensed professional, but avoiding it can lead to disaster. From 2014 to 2018, the National Fire Protection Association reported an average of nearly 34,000 home electrical fires per year; wiring and related systems accounted for 7% of all home fires.1

Bad wiring can be anywhere in your home. It may be just behind a wall or outlet, out of sight, but nonetheless a clear and present danger. Fortunately, there are several warning signs and indications that it’s time to call in a wiring and rewiring specialist.

Here are reasons to act now:

Dimming Lights

If the lights dim or start to flicker when you turn on, for example, a toaster or vacuum, electrical wiring is likely being overloaded. Older, faulty, or degraded wiring cannot support the current required of such demand. Always know dimming lights are not normal. A seemingly minor issue can in fact be a precursor to a very dangerous situation.

The House is Older

Houses built more than 40 years ago should have their wiring redone for several reasons. The current wiring is likely wearing out. And, there’s a higher demand for electricity with most homes using high-power refrigerators, microwaves, stoves, dryers, entertainment systems, smart home equipment, and a range of other devices. An electrical system update that includes your wiring, circuit breakers, and electrical panel can prevent short circuits, shocks, or fires.

Dated Wiring Materials

Be aware of the condition and make-up of your electrical system. An inspection should be performed before remodeling or if the system hasn’t been checked in a while. Fuse boxes should be replaced with circuit breaker panels. Old wiring that must be replaced immediately includes:

  • Aluminum: A cheaper option than copper in the 1960s and 1970s, aluminum wiring is prone to sparks and short circuits. It is also susceptible to loose connections. As a result, gaps can form, leading to overheating and potential fires. Issues with aluminum wiring can also prevent enough power from getting to devices that need it to function properly.
  • Knob and tube: Used during the late 1800s up until the 1940s and is extremely dangerous when paired with modern-day appliances. Knob and tube wiring consists of porcelain knobs that anchor wires to various building elements, to pass the wiring through walls. There is no ground wire in this setup so connecting it to a three prong outlet is a hazard.

Dated Insulation

Cloth insulation deteriorates over time and becomes extremely brittle. Seeing it is a major red flag. However, this material was often used in the 1950s to cover electrical wires. Knob and tube wiring also used cloth in the form of looms; these sleeves were fit over wires where they ran through walls and into appliances. If you find cloth insulation, your home is in urgent need of an electrical update.

Wiring Safety Hazard Info

Contact an electrician if you notice any of these signs of trouble, no matter how old your electrical wiring is:

  • The breaker is tripping frequently.
  • You often rely on extension cords.
  • Outlets are discolored or stained due to surges.
  • Wiring appears to be damaged from rodents.
  • The electrical panel is outdated (i.e., is rated at a lower voltage, uses fuses).
  • A tingling sensation when touching a switch/receptacle/appliance.
  • You smell burning from a specific location.

Contact CMC Service Experts

Our licensed electricians can replace electrical wiring to update your home and support recessed lighting, hot tubs, ceiling fans, and other modern amenities. Electrical maintenance plans are available, so you get priority service, cost-saving discounts, and expert care that ensures it is safe to use electricity in your home. Call 919-626-3717 to schedule wiring and rewiring service in Fuquay-Varina, Knightdale, Morrisville, and elsewhere in the Raleigh area. We are available 24/7.


  1. https://www.nfpa.org//-/media/Files/News-and-Research/Fire-statistics-and-reports/Building-and-life-safety/oshomes.pdf