Five Questions To Help You Decide If Your Home Needs Rewiring

Posted on: 6 May 2016

Whether you're concerned that your house's wiring hasn't been updated in a few decades or whether you're moving into a new house and notice a few warning signs, you may be considering the possibility of needing to have the whole place rewired. And while this is an invasive and potentially extremely expensive project, it is possible that you'll need to have rewiring done in order to preserve your own safety. Faulty electrical systems are not only a fire hazard, but they can also put you at risk of electric shock. Here are five questions to ask yourself when you're trying to decide whether your home needs to be professionally re-wired.

1. Is the wiring more than 50 years old? 

Old wiring can often be a problem in several ways. Not only was old wiring not built to support today's normal hefty electrical burden, but outdated wiring often was built with what we now know are unsafe components. In addition, the insulation can wear out and other components may be more likely to fail as well after that many decades of use.

2. Is it aluminum or knob-and-tube wiring?

Aluminum wiring and knob-and-tube wiring are two of the old, potentially unsafe types of wiring that you may find in your home. Some of the biggest problems with these types of wiring are when they're incorrectly connected (aluminum wiring was often installed with connectors and switches rated for copper use only, which causes many malfunctions) or when they're incorrectly retrofitted to work with more modern wiring. Knob-and-tube wiring, for example, may be relatively safe as a closed system (depending on the situation) but may become unsafe when new circuits are added without giving correct consideration to the old wiring's idiosyncrasies.

3. Are there enough wall sockets?

In some older houses, there aren't nearly as many electrical outlets as modern homes require to keep all the electronics and appliances up and running. if you find yourself using extension cords, power strips, and other such devices frequently, you may be overloading your sockets and creating a fire hazard. Rewiring the system to include more wall sockets may be the best option for electrical safety.

4. Is the system adequate and properly grounded?

As mentioned above, the builders from several decades ago couldn't predict how much electricity use we'd need this far in the future, so many old houses are wired with a much smaller electrical capacity than you actually use. If you frequently notice flickering lights in your home, you may be dangerously overloading the system. And if the system has insufficient grounding (for example, if your electrical outlets don't include a round hole for the third prong of a plug), that's a big red flag. 

5. Is there visible damage to the sockets or switches?

Visible damage is another indicator that there's something wrong with your electrical system. It could be that you're overloading it, or it could just be that there are some big malfunctions going on. You may need rewiring or you may just need repairs, but you'll definitely need to be calling in an electrician.

These five questions will help you determine if your house has the warning signs that show when a house is in dire need of electrical re-wiring