A home is a huge investment, and you should know exactly what you’re getting into when you make your purchase, and when you first move in. There’s a whole checklist of factors to consider, but one of the biggest ones to worry about is the wiring. The electrical wiring of your home isn’t just a financial issue, it’s a matter of safety. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation, electrical failure accounts over 53,600 fires each year, accounts for 500 deaths and 1,400 injuries. It causes 1.4 billion dollars in damage annually, not to mention the personal cost that comes with losing your home.
To make sure you’re not involved in those statistics, you should absolutely have your home inspected by a professional before you buy (and always reach out to an electrician if you have any concerns). Nevertheless, there are warning signs that any homeowner should know about and watch out for when it comes to electrical safety. When you first move into your home, keep an eye out for..
This is an easy one to notice. If you see any exposed wiring that is frayed or cracked by age, heat, corrosion, or bending it’s going to need to be replaced. Failing to do so could lead to shorts, shocks, and sparks. Also, keep a look out for wiring that has been pinched or pierced by nails and screws.
Damaged Outlets or Switches.
If you see cover plates that are scorched or burnt it’s a sign of bad wiring. It may be a local issue or pandemic to the rest of the house, either way make sure to take note of it. You should also replaces any cover that are cracked or broken. When switches are turned on or plugs inserted into outlets, if you hear any buzzing, popping, or cracking, immediately turn everything off and cut the circuit breaker if you can because a fire may be imminent.
Tripping Circuit Breakers.
If your circuit breakers are regularly tripping, it’s a serious issue. Circuit breakers trip when circuits become overloaded, so shutting off power to that section of the house isn’t just an inconvenience—it’s a fail safe, designed to prevent a fire. If this happens quite regularly then you either have a problem with your wiring becoming overloaded too easily or the circuits. Either way, it needs to be addressed.
If you turn on a large appliance like a vacuum cleaner or a microwave and the lights dim you may be overloading your circuits. The larger the dim, the bigger the issue. Your current shouldn’t have to struggle when you turn something on. Check the circuit breaker to see what section of the house is causing the issue and make sure to have an electrician check it out.
Here’s an odd one you may not have considered. Mice and rats love to chew through wires. Call it a lack of self preservation or a lack of awareness, but many a home has suffered electrical system sabotage thanks to these critters. If you spot rat or mouse droppings then you might also have wiring damage. As always—and as the running theme in this article— it’s worth looking into. Safety first!
Taking note of potential wiring issues is super important, especially when shopping for homes that are more than 30 years old. Sometimes, even knowing when a fuse box is outdated can indicate expensive full-scale electrical issues waiting on the horizon. Hiring an electrician can be expensive, but you know that old saying about spending little money now versus a lot later? It’s an accurate one, and it’s also better to be safe than sorry.