Should I replace old wiring? A question frequently pondered by the owners of antique and historic homes, electrical fire hazards within homes more than 50-years old present a serious risk. Rewiring antique homes should always be on the agenda, whether you plan on staying over the short or long-term, and whether or not you plan on a significant home update or renovation.
Electrical Fires Are a Serious Hazard
Outdated knob and tube wiring, just one of many obsolete wiring forms including aluminum and non-metallic wiring, is one of the top five causes of electrical fires. 23,900 fires annually are the result of electrical malfunction based on 2014 U.S. Fire Administration statistics (the most recent data). Most electrical fires are the result of outdated systems, which are incapable of keeping up with the demands of today’s digital era, and among the reasons many insurers refuse to offer coverage for antiquated wiring methods.
How Do I Know If My Older Home Has Dangerous Wiring?
Expert advice is critical to determining if your home has dangerously outdated wiring, which can be hidden behind walls. If you experience these Hidden Dangers of Electrical Wiring, such as frequently tripping breakers/blown fuses, dimming/flickering lights, charred/discolored outlets/switches, or persistent burning smells, contact a licensed professional electrician right away.
There Is No ‘Temporary’ Solution
Although it is tempting to save money by replacing only certain parts, it’s imperative that your whole home electrical system be replaced. Replacing 2-prong grounded outlets in an older homes without proper ground isn’t a safe or permanent solution, nor is skimping GFCI protection in moisture-prone areas, circuitry, or electrical service provisions. Obsolete knob and tube, aluminum, and other unsafe wiring must be completely removed and replaced with today’s electrical wiring technology, which is easier to incorporate, doesn’t get hot when surrounded by insulation, and safer. It must also be incorporated with the proper grounding, circuitry, service panel and service upgrades to ensure a completely safe wiring system.
How Are Older Homes Rewired?
There are a couple of options for rewiring older homes. The first is to open the walls and run new wires, covering them with new drywall. However, this process is time-consuming and costly. Instead, wires may also be fished through walls using rods and fish tape, requiring only a small incision and wall patch.
More Than Meets the Eye
In addition to updating your homes wiring, in almost all cases, your electric service must be updated as well. The mass of modern appliances used today likewise makes 60 and even 100-amp services obsolete. The new standard minimum electric service on homes today is 200-amps. Your service panel (breaker box) will likely need an update as well, including the addition of dedicated circuits for each of your home’s major appliances. If your home is ungrounded, a ground should be added at this time as well. You electrician may also recommend adding additional outlets at this time, and the need to update 2-prong outlets to 3-prong grounded outlets or GFCI outlets in moisture-prone areas.
How Much Will a Wiring Update Cost?
Wiring updates to older homes are generally quite extensive. Expect to pay around $8,000 to $15,000 (or more) to meet the wiring needs of 1,500-3,000 square foot homes. Keep in mind, however, cost will vary based on the age and condition of the home, access to wiring, and additional electrical safety upgrades you may need.
Keep your family safe and protect your investment by rewiring your antique home. If you’ve never had your home’s electrical wiring inspected, don’t wait any longer. Learn more from the experts at Mr. Electric today.