If your home hasn’t been rewired in the past 25 years, it’s likely that your electrics are long overdue for an overhaul. In extreme cases, an older property may need to be rewired completely.
However, newer properties can also suffer from wiring issues that dramatically increase the risk of electrical injury, fires and fatal accidents.
Below are 8 tell-tale signs that your home is in dire need of rewiring, presented by Bob’s Handyman Services.
Unexplained Burning Smells
One potential indicator that your house needs rewiring is a persistent burning odour. If you’re noticing an ongoing burning smell in your home and can’t track down an obvious source, the problem is likely linked to an electrical fault.
Faint burning odours can be the result of a minor fire caused by an electrical short. Sometimes, you may be able to pinpoint the location of a burning smell to an outlet or electrical appliance.
However, less pronounced burning odours may indicate bad tinning wiring issues hidden beneath floorboards or walls within your home.
A persistent burning smell is a red flag that a professional electrician should investigate at the earliest opportunity. A recurrent burning odour also underscores the importance of reliable smoke detectors.
Inspect Switches & Outlets for Discolouration
Discoloured electricity outlets and light switches are another clear indicator that you have a wiring issue. A loose electrical connection can cause sparking, leading to a small fire that can quickly discolour an outlet or switch.
If you’ve recently noticed a change in the appearance of your outlets, it’s high time to call in the services of a professional.
Are Your Lights Flickering?
Flickering lights aren’t always a cause for concern. Most times, we can usually attribute a flickering light to an old or improperly screwed bulb.
However, once you’ve ruled these out as likely causes, you may be dealing with faulty writing. If your lights are persistently dim, the fixture itself is probably receiving too little voltage. If the light is flickering brightly, it’s almost certainly receiving dangerously high voltage levels.
Both brightness extremes are indicators there is an underlying issue with your wiring.
Lightbulbs Burning Out Too Quickly?
Faulty wiring doesn’t always present itself in fluctuating brightness levels. Often, the first indicator of faulty wiring is a burned-out lightbulb. Burned out bulbs are the result of the same voltage issues that result in dimming and flickering lights.
Having to constantly replace damaged lightbulbs is obviously costly, but it’s also very dangerous.
In fact, attempting to change a bulb in a property with faulty wiring is one of the most common causes of electrical injuries in the UK.
Blown Fuses & Tripped Circuits
If your home hasn’t been rewired in a considerably long time, you’re far more likely to experience blown fuses regularly. Wiring standards of yesteryear simply aren’t up to managing the electricity demands of today, comments kitchen professional John. If blown fuses have become more commonplace since introducing new electrical appliances into your home, your wiring isn’t up to modern standards.
Another thing to keep an eye on is the performance of your circuit breakers, says John Keohane, an electrical contractor that specialises in house rewires and renewable energy, such as solar panel installations A tripped circuit breaker isn’t necessarily something to be alarmed about, however. If your breaker is tripping, it means it’s performing as it should and cutting off the electrical supply when a circuit becomes overloaded.
Having to manually reset breaker switches is a hassle, but also a clear sign that your wiring needs looking at.
Sparking & Shocks
Suffering from an electrical shock when handling a plug is an alarming experience for anyone. It’s also a sign that your appliances or wiring require an electrical inspection. In the United Kingdom, around 10 percent of accidental deaths are caused by electricity. Even non-fatal electrical injuries can leave victims with lasting scars and health issues.
Occasional sparking when you plug in an appliance isn’t necessarily something to worry about.
However, if you’re dealing with sparking on a constant basis, there’s an underlying cause that needs addressing. Over time, a short-circuiting outlet can lead to a build-up of heat. These high heat levels can cause the insulation to melt away, leading to exposed wires that pose a significant fire risk.
Uneven Power Supply
There are many causes of fluctuating power levels. Sometimes, the issue can be as simple as a substandard conductor. Other times, you may be overloading your sockets with too many energy-intensive appliances.
However, a fluctuating power supply is often tied to loose electrical wiring.
If introducing new appliances to your home is unavoidable, you should be careful not to rely too heavily on extension cords. Many people reach for power extenders if their home is short on sockets or existing outlets are placed in awkward places.
Using an extension socket to provide power to smaller appliances or things like chargers is usually fine. However, if you’re turning to extension cords to power white goods and larger appliances, you run the risk of placing too much strain on your wiring.
For peace of mind, you should instead invest in rewiring your home to provide you with the additional sockets you need. That’s a common situation with appliance repair services.
Another issue happens when you rely on smart security locks, comments Speedy Locksmith. Poor wiring could lead to emergency property lockdown.
Inferior Wiring in Older Properties
The older your property, the more likely it is you’ll encounter wiring issues when refurbishing or simply downsizing. If your property is more than a few decades old and hasn’t been rewired during that time, you’re probably contending with outdated cabling that doesn’t adhere to modern safety standards. In the UK, wiring faults are responsible for around 20,000 house fires every year. Many of these fires occur in older properties with outdated electrical wiring.
Even if your property was wired to a high standard in the past, there’s a good chance that cabling has degraded over the years. If you’re living in an older property, a visual inspection of fuses will give you a good idea of whether your home needs rewiring. If you’re dealing with porcelain fuses, your wiring definitely falls well below modern safety standards. Old socket and switch covers are also obvious signs your electrical system is outdated.
Time for a Rewire?
If you own a home, it’s recommended that you invest in a professional electrical inspection once every 10 years. If you live in a rented property, your landlord will likely provide electrical inspections once every few years.
Although the cost of rewiring an entire property might seem considerable, it’s an essential investment that every homeowner needs to accept. If your home is overdue for an electrical safety inspection, or you’re considering rewiring your property, make sure you know what to look for when deciding on an electrician to handle the job.