Buying An Older Home? 4 Electrical Problems To Watch Out For

An older house may have the charm that you’re looking for when in your next home. All of this charm could be masking a more sinister problem with the electrical system. This doesn’t mean that you should pass on buying the home of your dreams. Here are some of the electrical problems that you need to be aware of in an older home.

Outdated Wiring System

Knob and tube wiring was common for homes built from the 1880s to the 1930s. Cloth wrapped wiring was used in homes until the 1960s. Aluminum wiring was the standard until the mid-1970s due to the high cost of copper. All of these electrical systems are outdated and will need to changed out. Include this in your budget for an older home if you’re unsure about the type of electrical wiring in the walls.

Overloaded Electrical Panel

Older electrical panels didn’t have as many circuits as modern ones. This can cause too many items to be on the same circuit. You may notice that the lights dim when the refrigerator turns on. Another common problem is that the breakers will constantly flip off. In a certain brand of circuit breaker used through the 1990s, the breaker will stay stuck on and can result in an electrical fire.

Buying An Older Home? 4 Electrical Problems To Watch Out For

Insufficient Number Of Outlets

Older homes don’t tend to have that many outlets in each room. There weren’t the same code requirements for outlets every so many feet as there are with modern regulations. You may find yourself having to run extension cords just to plug in your lights. This can cause you to overload your circuit and electrical panel.

Loose Outlets

As outlets age, they can have trouble retaining the items plugged into them. Plugs that fall out are more than just troublesome, they can present a serious hazard to your family. It can short out or even give you a shock when you try to plug the cord back into the outlet. A plug that is only halfway seated can spark a home electrical fire.

Older homes can present you with lots of problems if you want to bring them into this century. Before you decide to purchase one, you should be aware of any issues that are associated with them. Your electrical system is an important part of your home. Have a home inspection, and plan on having to do some electrical work in order to bring your new home up to date.


Author: Lizzie W

Lizzie Weakley is a freelance writer from Columbus, Ohio. In her free time, she enjoys the outdoors and walks in the park with her three-year-old husky, Snowball. You can find her on Twitter @LizzieWeakley.

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