Home renovation television shows are inspiring many people to invest in older homes. Older homes tend to have a charm and character about them that newer homes lack. But just how safe is an older home? In this high-tech age of computers, smartphones, large screen TVS and more, electricity is an immediate and important need and a safety concern. When purchasing an older home, an electric safety inspection is a must!

Hidden Dangers

Unlike a broken window or a crack in the foundation, bad wiring isn’t detectable with the naked eye. While old wiring behind the walls may not necessarily be bad, it’s a risk you can’t afford to take. Rubber wire insulation, used in the 1960’s and earlier, easily flakes and crumbles from the wire and may be damaged due to scuffs or piercing over the years.  In the 1960’s and 1970’s, aluminum wiring was used in many homes instead of standard copper wiring. This type of less expensive wiring, while a money saver, proved to be more dangerous in the long run due to the wiring loosening and causing arcs and overheating at switches, breaker panels, and outlets.

Plugging In

Let’s assume the average family of four has three smartphones and two laptops, all of which need outlets for charging. If you purchase a home built prior to World War II, there is a high probability of having only one outlet per room. Outlets today are generally required every 12 feet or within 6 feet of every doorway. If there is only one outlet per room, remember the hidden dangers mentioned above. It is crucial that you hire a skilled electrician to assess the situation.

Don’t Just Make Do

Purchasing an older home is exciting and you can’t wait to decorate. Having an electrical inspection may be the last thing on your mind when in fact, it should be the first thing on your mind. Running an extension cord, while a temporary fix, often results in being a fire hazard if overloaded. Another consideration: today’s high-tech devices are sensitive. Not having enough power can actually damage sensitive electronics.

Take the Signs Seriously

Flickering lights are most likely signs of a serious electrical problem and not signs of a resident ghost. Other signs to watch for:

  • Sparking or warm outlets
  • Fuses that blow repeatedly
  • Breakers that constantly trip
  • A persistent burning smell in a room


GFCI Protection

Areas where moisture may occur should have Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) protection. This includes areas such as kitchens, baths, and decks near swimming pools.

Invest in the Future

Technology constantly evolves and we never know what the next must-have gadget will be. We do know that it most likely will require a charge to operate. When considering an electrical upgrade, consider structured wiring. This type of wiring consists of heavy-duty data cables that enable the latest features of stereo equipment, televisions, and more. Adding structured wiring may increase the value of your home. A 2009 study by the Consumers Electronic Association and the National Association of Home Builders Research Center found that almost half of the homes built in 2008 included structured wiring. Technology trends will only increase; adding structured wiring is an investment that prepares for emerging trends and new gadgets.

Contact the Experts

Penny Electric is a family owned and operated company serving Las Vegas and the surrounding area. As a family owned business, we understand the concerns you may have when purchasing an older home. While home inspections are required, an electrical inspection is just as important. Remember, most electrical problems are not visible to the naked eye. Our professional staff will prepare a free quote and will work hard to deliver service within the quoted time frame. Don’t let old wiring go unchecked. Contact us today for a free quote.