5 Signs To Replace Your Home's Electrical System
Posted Aug 21st 2013 | By:
To determine if your home's electrical system really needs replaced, here are 5 warning signs to watch for:
1. Flickering lights - While this might simply be a case of a bad bulb or an overheated recessed light, flickering lights can also mean that the home's circuits are overloaded. If you notice the lights dimming and flickering too frequently, faulty wiring may be the problem.
2. Breakers trip often - The circuit breakers are designed to trip when things become too overloaded. Use a handheld circuit breaker tester to get a reading-if the test light doesn't light up, the breaker is faulty.
3. Shocks and sparks - If you see sparks whenever you plug something in, or get shocked whenever you flip a switch, the outlet or switch could be going bad and shorting out. An electrician can replace the devices to see if that fixes the problem. If not, the wiring needs further examination.
4. Burning smell - If you notice a burned or singed smell near an outlet, switch or electric appliance, it's a warning that you have an electrical problem somewhere. A short in the wiring can spark an electric fire within the walls by igniting insulation. Quickly contact an electrician to come over and examine the area.
5. Age of your home - If you've purchased a home that is more than 40 years old, you can't be certain that the wiring is still up to code. Over time, wire insulation can deteriorate and many of the old electric systems are just not up to today's standards. Look for un-grounded outlets (two-prong plug-ins), missing GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets and discolored outlets and switch plates. In an old home, it's wise to have an experienced electrician come over to inspect the system and make recommendations for replacements.
Even though replacing the electrical system in your home can be costly, it's an investment that is well worth it. Homes with older, less efficient wiring can not only cost you money, but may cause electrical shocks and even worse, a fire. Depending on the size of your home and the existing type of electrical system, a professional electrician will be able to upgrade or replace the wiring to reduce the risk of accident or injury.
Tyler King is a freelance writer and frequent contributor to publications specializing in home improvement, home repair and construction. He encourages homeowners of structures built before the early 1970s to contact electricians in their area for a comprehensive evaluation of the electrical systems.
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