Buying or rehabbing an older home is usually someone’s first experience with the reality of needing to replace electrical wiring. As a general rule, if your home is more than 40 years old, and the wiring hasn’t ever been updated, now is a good time. Beyond the age of your home, there are some other signs that you can look for that indicate it’s time to rewire your home.
Seeing signs – lights that dim or flicker
Lights that dim or flicker are an indication of a circuit that’s overloaded. While normal as a rare occurrence in good wiring, if you notice dimming or flickering often, it could be wiring that needs replaced or a bad circuit breaker.
Activities interrupted – fuses and breakers that go out
When it comes to fire protection, circuit breakers are your best friend. If a circuit begins to overload, the breaker “trips,” or opens the circuit, preventing further electricity from being conducted. Over time, circuit breakers will naturally wear. Like flickering and dimming lights, if your circuit breakers are tripping often or you’re blowing fuses more than normal, you could have a short in your wiring. In this instance, it’s best to contact a qualified electrician to examine the situation and let you know if you should replace your wiring.
All pain, no gain – getting shocked from outlets or switches
In the unpleasant event that you experience shock from an outlet or switch, it could mean that the wiring in your home needs to be replaced. If the offending unit is an outlet, remove the devices, and if you still feel a tweak, you’ll want that outlet replaced, and perhaps some wiring as well.
Hear no, see no – outlets and switches that buzz or are charred or discolored
But definitely don’t speak no. If you experience buzzing, charred, or discolored light switches or outlets, you should contact an electrician right away. Beyond replacing the unit, the problem could be caused by bad wiring near the switch or outlet that needs to be replaced.
Oooh that smell – uh ohhhhh that smell
If a burning smell is present, especially if it smells acrid, turn off the circuit breaker or remove the fuse for the area and call an electrician immediately. You’ll also want to locate a fire extinguisher in case the fire spreads inside the wall. That wiring will need to be replaced, and the rest of the wiring examined for similar issues that might exist.