Hiller Know-How: When It May Be Time to Rewire Your Home

If you are purchasing an older home, or you just feel your home’s electrical system is worn out, you may need to consider rewiring your home’s electrical system. However, rewiring your home can get costly, so you will want to make sure it is necessary before you take action.

If you are suspicious that your home’s current wiring is old, you can run through this checklist:

  • Presence of non-grounded outlets: While they may not be a huge hazard on their own, non-grounded outlets are an indication of very old wiring.  This means that the old wiring exists in the walls behind the non-grounded outlets, and most likely is also shared by many locations.
  • Knob & Tube Wiring: Also referred to as “open wiring,” knob & tube wiring was a common method of wiring back in the early 1900s. It is a non-grounded system, using copper wire to run electricity through the walls and porcelain knobs to secure the wires in place and keep them from touching volatile surfaces. Knob & tube wiring needs to be carefully maintained and all repairs done by a professional electrician in order to remain safe. However, the old system will eventually age, and the knobs are subject to cracks, making repairs inevitable. If your home has knob & tube wiring, completely replacing the old wiring system may be the most realistic option.
  • Needing additional circuits: You may want to install more circuits, which would necessitate a rewiring in that room or area of your home. Some reasons for adding circuits are:
    • The constant tripping of breakers—for example, if several people share a bathroom and are constantly trying to run several blow dryers/devices at the same time.
    • Installation of new appliances—if you get a dishwasher or microwave and your home didn’t have one before, you will most likely need to add a separate circuit too.
  • Age of fuse box/ breaker panel: As we noted in our previous post, the main difference between a fuse box and a breaker panel is age—a fuse box is commonly found in older homes. If your home has a fuse box, it doesn’t necessitate an upgrade, but you may want to consider replacing it with the more modern breaker panel because it is generally lower maintenance and easier to use. Even if your home already has a breaker panel, you still need to consider replacing it with a new one if:
    • The amount of electricity you use is increasing—if you are adding a significant amount of switches and/or outlets, you may also need to get a new electrical panel.
    • You see corrosion due to water leaks or humidity.
  • Lack of boxes in ceiling for fixtures:Sometimes, when you try to replace an old fixture the electrician cannot find a box—this usually warrants some deeper digging that unveils old, bad wiring.

Rewiring your home is big job and it needs to be done by a professional. By going through this checklist you can determine if your home is in need of rewiring before calling an electrician.

If you have any further questions about whether your home needs rewiring, or you’re ready to get an estimate from a professional, please call us at 402-339-0524. Or you can contact us via the contact page on our site.

photo credit: sparktography via photopin cc