Electrical Wiring Safety – Out With The Old And In With The New

Has your home been around for more than twenty to forty years? If so, your electrical wiring may be starting to pose a potential risk. Studies indicate that preventable residential fires kill more Australians than any other type of fire. And bear in mind too that it is most likely poor or faulty electrical wiring installation that is the cause.

The older your home is, the greater the chance of your electrical wiring is unsafe, especially if you haven’t had an electrical safety inspection recently.

But why is old electrical wiring likely to be a threat? Let’s take a look at why old wiring does not have the same safety features found in the more modern wiring systems of today.

Home Electrical Wiring Safety Checklist

Deterioration protection

Back in the day in Australia, most electrical wiring used a black rubber protective coating for the wires. Over time, this rubber deteriorates and crumbles away, so the wires become exposed – a huge fire hazard. Today, wires are coated in PVC, which is far less likely to deteriorate or leave exposed wires. 

Exposed and damaged wires

Loose, altered and damaged wires often seen in old wiring, can create all sorts of issues from burns and fires to electrical shocks and fatal accidents.

Overloading circuits and outlet shortage

Decades ago, there was not the need for the huge amount of electricity we use today to power entertainment systems, computers, devices and home automated networks. If you live in an old home, you might face the challenge of not having enough electrical outlets to plug your devices into.

Plus, your endless number of devices will consume huge amounts of power. It is likely your old home is rated for relatively lower amperage and not designed to support all these devices. By overloading your circuits, you increase the potential for a fire hazard.

Lack of electrical grounding

In the event of power surges, the lack of electrical receptacle grounding leads to your connected electrical appliances being vulnerable to electrical damage. Grounding an electrical receptacle prevents painful or even fatal electrical shocks when power travels via the incorrect path. All modern homes should have some type of grounding in their electrical systems.

Poorly modified wiring

The rules for doing any kind of electrical work today are stricter than ever. So, if your electrical structures are old, they may well have tampered with thanks to years of DIY tinkering. If you live in an old building chances are it features poorly executed electrical connections or faulty wiring. The best thing is to have it checked out in an electrical safety inspection to prevent potentially fatal fire accidents.

We know what can go wrong with antiquated electrical systems, but what indications are there that show you have a problem? Here we have nine tell-tale signs that you might need a new electrical wiring installation.

  1. Regular fusing
    If you have a fuse breaker that trips often this is a clear sign that something in your wiring isn’t right. Perhaps too many single appliances are plugged into one circuit causing an overload. Test it by unplugging all items and plugging them back in individually. If the fuse trips, that’s where your problem stems from. However, it could also mean that you have a fault in the circuit or wiring.
  2. Dimming or flickering lights
    Even with modern wiring, lights can occasionally flicker or dim. When a light brightens it has too much voltage and when it dims, it doesn’t have enough. If it happens regularly then you could have an issue with the wiring. It could mean that your circuit or even the whole electrical wiring needs to be replaced.
  3. Old sockets and switches
    Take a look at the switches and sockets in your home. Are they old-fashioned? If so, there is a strong possibility you have old wiring too. Another giveaway is black rubber wiring. A house that is over forty years old which has not been modernised is likely to have black rubber wiring, and as we discovered earlier, this black rubber brittles with age and is a potential fire hazard.
  4. Buzzing, charred or discoloured outlets
    If your outlets buzz or are discoloured or charred, this poses a potentially dangerous situation. You will need to replace the outlet switch. But be warned, there could be a problem elsewhere such as in a faulty circuit or loose connection. It pays to have a professional electrician find the root cause of the problem.
  5. Switches causing shocks
    Do you ever feel a slight tingle or shock when you touch a switch? If so, this indicates you have a problem. It could mean that a wire in the circuit is shorting out or that a wire has lost its insulation. Again, it pays to call in a certified electrician.
  6. Light bulbs burning out
    If you notice light bulbs burning out within their sockets this is an indicator that you have fluctuations with voltage caused by problems with your wiring. Any changes to lights is a good visual sign that your house may need to be rewired.
  7. A faint burning smell
    No doubt any burning smell will cause you to worry. And if you have an electrical short near your switches it can cause a small fire. You might not be able to identify the source of the smell because the wiring may be shorting behind the wall or underneath the floor. Without further delay call on a qualified electrician to come and locate the issue.
  8. Fluctuations in power
    If you notice fluctuations in power you could have a problem with loose wiring, overloaded sockets or your conductor may be too small to carry ample power throughout your home. However, if you are not operating all your electrical appliances at once and still notice fluctuations you may have a deeper issue with your wiring.
  9. Tripping circuit breakers
    Your circuit breakers are designed to trip and cut off the electrical flow when a circuit exceeds the number of amps it is intended to handle. But if it trips too often this is a tell-tale sign there is a problem with your wiring.

Wrap up

Our highly qualified electricians at Vesolution have performed an unlimited number of rewires. Providing flawless electrical services on the Northern Beaches, we aim to provide all customers with expert solutions to their electrical problems. Contact us today to take advantage of our competitively priced house rewiring service.

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