Electrical Problems in Old Homes: What to Look Out For | CMC Electric
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Electric Problems in Old Homes: What to Look Out For

March 21, 2018

There’s nothing like the craftsmanship seen in old homes. You may find features such as gorgeous hardwood floors, richly stained crown molding, and the charming design styles of yesteryear. If you find yourself in possession of one of these old homes then congratulations! You’ve found yourself a real treasure. Unfortunately, you may also have some issues to contend with, such as electric problems, that pose a risk to the safety of your beautiful home.

The last thing you want is to lose your classic home to an electric fire, so read on to find out what to look out for to keep your home – and your family – safe and sound.

1. Non-Grounded Outlets

Non-grounded outlets put your home at serious risk of electrical fire. This old-fashioned style of outlet gives power surges nowhere to go. Power surges can happen at any time and are often unforeseen. They can occur during lightning storms, or when water accidentally leaks into the electric system, so you need 24/7 protection from these events.

Three-pronged, grounded outlets provide this protection by giving surges a path back to the ground, which absorbs the shock without harm to you or your property. If your home still has two-pronged, non-grounded outlets, don’t try to DIY this dangerous task. Call a licensed electrician to update the outlets for you. A professional will also have in-depth knowledge of the National Electrical Code (NEC) to ensure the job is done within the limits of the law.

2. No GFCIs

GFCIs play an important role in protecting your home from power surges, overheating, and electrical fires, but weren’t regularly installed prior to the 1970s.

GFCI outlets work by cutting power when a power surge is detected. That’s why they should be installed in places that see excessive moisture, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundry areas and outdoors. If these places are lacking GFCI outlets, call an electrician to install them for you to prevent serious and costly damages to your home.

3. Unexplained Increase in Energy Usage

Is your electric bill sky high, despite what you feel is relatively low power usage? This can be a sign of trouble. Old wiring has likely seen many years of heavy wear and tear, and it’s probably starting to affect the efficiency of your appliances. Unfortunately, the problem can be hard to spot.

Wires can fray or wear out due to harsh weather or pests chewing on the lines. The answer may even be as simple as a loose connection somewhere. Regardless, these problems put a strain on appliances, causing them to run harder, and even overheat. This can not only drive up your energy bill, but it can also cause power shortages and electrical fires. Be sure to hire an electrician to inspect your home and fix any problem areas before the system deteriorates any further.

4. Switches to Nowhere

If you’ve ever flipped a switch in your old home to no effect, this can be a warning sign. Over the years, and after many different homeowners have worked on the property, your electrical system may be improperly wired. Problems like multiple paths to ground (if you have grounded outlets), wires snaking through and around walls and other fixtures, and, of course, switches with no known purpose can occur when too many people do work on the home. These seemingly harmless mistakes can wreak havoc on your house.

Shortages, electrical shocks, and even electric fires can result. Simple DIY electric repair is not an option if the system has been badly mismanaged, as you may unknowingly make the problem even worse. A professional Raleigh electrician can help you sort out the issue, and determine if a full replacement is necessary.

Tackling these electric repairs is worth your while. Not only will it make you and your home safer, but it can also lower your energy bill, and, in some cases, even make you eligible for insurance discounts. So, call the professional electrical contractors at CMC Electric today, proudly serving Raleigh, Clayton, Wilmington, and the surrounding areas.