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5 Ways Your Old Wiring Could Be a Fire Hazard

5 Ways Your Old Wiring Could Be A Fire Hazard

There is no denying the charm and appeal of older homes; they are full of character – but, often, they are also full of hazardous electrical systems and components that can put your home, and your family, at risk. What dangers are lurking behind the walls?

There are over 51,000 residential electrical fires each year in the US, causing more than $1.3 billion in damage, 1400 injuries, and, tragically, 500 deaths. Faulty and outdated wiring plays a major role:

1. Knob+Tube Wiring

Knob+tube was popular from around 1880 – the 1940s (and used through the 1960s in some rural areas). Copper wire is threaded around porcelain knobs and through ceramic tubes. The wires were designed to suspend in the air, allowing the heat to dissipate.

Knob+tube wiring presents a variety of risks: if insulation was added to the home, for example, it can come into contact with the wires, leading to fire. Even a mouse nibbling through and into a wire is dangerous. Insurance companies hate knob+tube, and homeowners should too, as it’s a leading cause of electrical fires.

short circuit

2. Improperly Modified Wiring

If you live in an old home, chances are someone made “upgrades” to the electrical system along the way. When done improperly (as it often was by ambitious DIY-ers), you’re left with a patchwork of modifications that greatly increases the risk of house fires. If you notice dimming, flickering, or buzzing lights, or burn marks around your outlets, call an electrician immediately.

3. Degraded Insulation

Old wiring was designed with insulation to prevent fire. However, over time, this protective layer deteriorates or is damaged by stray nails (hanging up that picture can be dangerous!) or by rodents. This leaves the wires exposed.

4. Low Amp Wiring

If your home was built in, say, 1920, the electricians did not anticipate the remarkably advanced appliances we’d own a century later. Old electrical wiring is often rated for lower amps and cannot keep up with our TVs, computers, air conditioners, etc.. This can overload circuits, which in turn can cause a fire.


5. Faulty Breakers

This isn’t a “wiring” risk, per se – but it is still quite dangerous if your electrical panel is outdated. The switches and breakers that comprise the circuits could be faulty. Breakers are meant to protect a circuit from damage and to stop current flow when it detects a fault. When your panel is old, chances are it will malfunction at some point.

electrical service panel with exposed wiring

We know you love your older home! And we love bringing its electrical system into compliance with today’s codes to ensure your safety. Get in touch with Jefferson Electric today: we are committed to delivering the highest quality service and most progressive energy solutions. Preserve the charm of your home – and lose the fire hazards!

Connect with us by email: info@jeffersonelectricllc.com

Call or text: (317) 418-3917

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