Most homeowners understand that as your house ages, it needs more and more work. This is especially true for your electrical wiring. It’s not only necessary for basic electrical needs, but it can also be dangerous to leave old wiring unchecked. The U.S. Fire Administration states that there are approximately 29,000 electrical fires each year. These fires have caused 280 deaths and over $1 billion in property damages. It’s clear that anticipating electrical issues before they start is a good way to prevent fires, injuries, and damages. But how can you know if there is an electrical wiring issue in your home? It’s not as if you can see behind your walls to know if there’s a problem. Thankfully, there are warning signs that can help us to identify when rewiring is necessary. Here is a list of common reasons why your house needs rewiring. If you’ve experienced any of the following issues, you need to contact a professional electrician.
1. Buzzing sounds
This may not result in a total rewiring of your house, but buzzing noises are electrical warning signs you should take very seriously. There are many reasons why you will hear a buzzing or humming noise. It could be mains hum, wiring issues, or a problem with your circuit breaker.
2. Burning smells
If you haven’t used any appliances or cooked anything in your home, yet you sense a burning smell, it could be a serious electrical issue. Burning smells could be due to heat coming off of faulty wires. Be sure to identify any rooms that give off the burning smell. It’s highly advised to turn off the circuit breaker and contact a professional if the burning smell persists.
3. Loose Outlets
Loose outlets are another issue that most people will overlook, but they can be a sign of bigger electrical issues. It may not mean that your house needs rewiring, but it could mean that there are loose screws, it was installed poorly, or the outlet has been overused. It may appear to be a minor issue, but ignoring a sign like this could be costly.
4. Blown Fuses or Tripped Breakers
The entire reason why you have a circuit breaker is to halt an electrical flow if it proves to exceed a certain number of amps. This is a safety feature that needs to be operational at all times in order to protect your home from a blow, a trip, or even a fire. If your circuit breaker is constantly cutting off the electrical flow in your home, it’s possible your house needs rewiring.
5. Over-fused Electrical Panel
Larger electrical wires carry more electrical currents. If there’s too much flowing through it, it can easily overheat. Breakers are designed to limit these currents to avoid fires. That’s why it’s important for a breaker or a fuse to match the amperage that a wire is designed to handle. When there’s too much amperage, the circuit is over-used. Your house needs rewiring if this imbalance exists.
6. Damaged Insulation
If you notice damaged insulation, it could be a strong sign that your house needs rewiring. Wires that are broken and have metal exposed can heat the insulation to the point where it melts. If you see these happening, the wires need to be replaced as soon as possible.
7. Hot Plugs, Cords, or Switches
Switch plates, plugs, or cords that are hot to the touch need to be addressed by a professional electrician right away. Hot or warm switches are not simply a common thing that eventually happens in old houses. It’s a warning sign that a fire could start at any second. It could mean that your switch is overloaded, there’s faulty wiring, or the light switch has worn out.
8. Bulbs Burning Out
If one or more of your light bulbs is constantly burning out, it’s likely that your house needs rewiring. It could be due to a simple issue, like low-quality bulbs or a loose connection in the light fixture. Or it could be something more serious, such as excess heat building up in your wiring.
9. Sparking Outlets
Of course, if you’re plugging something into an outlet and you get an electrical shock or see a spark come out of the outlet, call an electrician right away. Even if the shock or spark appears small, it’s not something you want to mess around with. There are various reasons why an outlet might produce an electrical shock or spark. An electrician will be able to identify the problem, but it’s important to cut off the currents to that outlet for safety.
10. Aluminum Wiring
Electricians will always warn homeowners about aluminum wiring. Aluminum wire connections have proven to be more dangerous than copper wiring. Aluminum is likely to overheat or fail altogether. Your house needs rewiring if you see the letters ‘AL’ listed on the panel jacket. Contact a professional electrician for further information on how to determine if your house needs rewiring.