Electrical Systems in Your Home Wear Out Too
Electrical devices and components in your home, ranging from the main electrical panel to switches and outlets can get worn out from age and use. Just as your car ages and has components that wear out, the same thing happens to the electrical in your home.
Many homes in Colorado were built before the 1990s and the average age of a Colorado home is around 50 years old. On top of natural aging and wear and tear on devices, electrical usage in homes has increased immensely in the last 20 years alone. You would only have to look as far as the kitchen or living room to see the vast increase in electrical demand with every appliance and electronic device we use daily.
Signs of old or worn-out electrical in your home:
- Outlets and switches:
- Two prong outlets are a sign that the ground in your home is not up to code
- Outlets that seem to move or wobble in the wall can be an electrical hazard.
- Outlets that won’t firmly hold a plug- if you plug something in to an outlet and it is loose or falls out.
- Switches that work intermittently or just feel like they aren’t working quite right.
- Switches or outlets that are hot to the touch can be an indication of an overloaded circuit or an indication that the device is old/worn out.
- Switches or outlets that are buzzing, humming or making any sort of noise can be worn out or defective devices.
- Using some sort of extension cord or power strip on your outlets because there are too few outlets available- code has evolved to require more outlets per room and a heavy reliance on “outlet extenders” can be a safety concern as you may be overloading your outlets and circuitry.
- Absence of GFCI protection in the kitchen, bathroom, and outdoor areas of your home.
- Flickering lights can be related to a few different concerns around the house.
- A home built in the 1960s or 1970s could have been built with aluminum wiring. Over time aluminum switch or outlet wiring will corrode where it is in contact with copper at connections to lighting and devices. The loose connections caused by the corrosion can cause electrical arcing and fires.
- Frequently tripping breakers can be an indication of many things, including overloaded circuits or worn out breakers.
The daily electrical demand in a modern home is much greater than the demand in the very same house might have been 30 or more years ago. It isn’t safe to assume that your electrical system can handle the increased demand on the basis that it always has previously. An unsafe electrical system in your home may begin with the annoyance of tripping breakers and loose outlets, but the majority of your home’s electrical is the wiring hidden behind your walls that you may never see.
An electrical system that is not adequately equipped to handle the strain from a household’s daily use can be dangerous and should be evaluated for safety and necessary upgrades. A licensed electrician has the knowledge and experience to inspect and verify the safety of the electrical systems in your home.