In Australia, up to 40 per cent of all residential fires can be attributed to some form of electrical failure or fault. Whilst some of these may be prevented through more careful practices, such as not leaving a mobile phone to charde near flammable materials, others can be directly attributed to overloaded electrical circuits, faulty electrical appliances, and deteriorated wiring.
As your home ages and the demands on electrical systems increase, so too does the importance of remaining vigilant to signs of wiring degradation. Even homes built in the 1990s will not have been wired to cope with the electrical demands of modern technology, which may be beyond their capacity.
Why should you rewire a house?
A fire hazard may be the main reason for having a house rewired. Electrical standards have changed in recent years, as has our demand for power. Sometimes, older homes just aren’t up to scratch.
The fire hazard increases if you use too much electricity for your existing wiring. This can include having extension cords with extra plugs, which can overload the system. Rather than improvise and risk a fire, having the house rewired can help you have everything you need for today’s lifestyle.
How often do you need to rewire a house?
Even if your house isn’t showing any of the telltale signs that it needs to be rewired, it’s better to be ahead of the curve than behind it.
For example, an electrician 50 years ago wouldn’t have needed to know [how to wire a dimmer switch] which is now second nature to most sparkies.
Wiring needs change dramatically in just a couple of decades, so it’s likely that you should rewire your home every 20 years or so. To be safe, you should get an electrician to check it every decade to make sure it still meets Australian electrical standards and your personal needs.
Electricians will charge according to the size of your house, but they will also include outlets, lighting and other electrical connections you need.
Include everything you need in your initial consults and the cost will be lower than if you forget something and the electrician has to come back later to install something extra.
Be aware of the many warning signs that tell you your house needs rewiring. Some of these can include:
1. Flickering or dimming lights
One of the most common tell-tale signs your house needs rewiring is the flickering or dimming of lights. When a light brightens there is too much voltage and when they are dim, they are receiving too little. Whilst common to think there is a problem with the lightbulb itself, this type of spike or decline in power is typically synonymous with loose wiring or faulty circuits and should be looked at as a priority.
2. Lightbulbs burning out in their sockets
If you have not noticed flickering or dimming lights, you may have experienced lightbulbs burning out within their sockets. This is a typical sign of bigger problems with your wiring and is caused by the fluctuations in voltage. With lights being the most visual signs that a house rewire is required, you should contact your local electrician as soon as you notice this.
3. Regularly blown fuses
Growing amounts of technology and electrical appliances within our home results in older style fuses which are not designed to take this weight of electricity blowing. If your fuse blows regularly, you may need to upgrade them to more modern circuit breakers.
4. Sparking outlets
Sometimes sparking outlets are perfectly normal and nothing to worry about, however, they can be a clear signal of a potentially dangerous problem. If your outlets are short-circuiting, excessive heat is building up within the outlet which causes melted insulation. When exposed, this can lead to electrical fires.
5. Discoloured outlets or switches
A clear sign of sparking outlets and that your house needs rewiring is discoloured or charred electrical outlets and switches. A loose connection or faulty wiring near the outlet or switch can result in the sparking which will cause a small fire. This small fire will leave a discolouration on the surface of the outlet and should be looked at immediately.
6. Burning Smell
A strange odour emanating from a power outlet or fuse box may be a sign that there is something amiss. If you notice an unusual burning smell and suspect that the origin is associated with an electrical source, unplug appliances and call a qualified electrician immediately.
7. Fluctuations in power
Power fluctuations can be caused by loose wiring, overloaded sockets or too small of a conductor carrying power to your home. If you are not daisy chaining electrical appliances and notice fluctuations in power, there may be a deeper problem with your electrical wiring.
8. Tripping circuit breakers
Circuit breaker boxes have proved invaluable in preventing electrical fires. However, outdated boxes, or those with worn connectors, inevitably create a fire hazard. If a circuit is regularly tripping due to a blown fuse, it needs investigation by a professional electrician to isolate the cause. This may be a faulty electrical appliance or relate directly to your home’s wiring.
9. An electrical shock when you touch a cord
Nobody likes an electrical shock, especially your children. If you have recently received a small electrical jolt when touching a cord or cable, you should contact your local electrician immediately for a home electrical safety inspection.
10. Old property and cabling
If your property is over 40 years old, you are most at risk from outdated cabling and degrading wires. They are dangerous and need to be replaced immediately to comply with modern electrical safety standards.
Once you have had your house wiring checked by a qualified electrician, stay safe by avoiding overuse of extension cords and power boards. Ensure ceilings and walls are secured to prevent rodents from gnawing on wires.
By treating electricity with the respect it deserves and staying vigilant for the above indicators that your wiring may be compromised, you can minimise the risk of fire – protecting your family and possessions. Stay safe.
As an electrical contractor, Allyn White Electrical does all kinds of industrial and commercial electrical installations and repairs as well as home electrical services and emergency electrical repairs. We are a small family-owned and run business with over 40+ years’ experience so please call us on 0416235641. We are here to help.
sources: realestateview, hipages