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Older MD, VA, and DC Homes Need Electrical Upgrades

Posted on: March 28, 2013

When was your home built? Most homes in MD, VA, and DC tend to be at least 50-60 years old. When these homes were built, not too many families owned televisions or even refrigerators. Video game systems and computers were unknown back then. Today, the variety and sheer number of electrical appliances and devices we use every day has skyrocketed. Unfortunately, however, the electrical systems in many homes in Baltimore and Bethesda, MD, Alexandria, VA, and Washington, DC have not been upgraded to keep pace with our constant demand for electrical current. Outdated electrical systems pose serious hazards, ranging from electrocution to fires.

If you live in an older home in the area and have observed any problems or oddities with your electrical system, call Kolb Electric immediately. Our expert electricians will make recommendations for any necessary upgrades.

Electrical Service Upgrades

Are you dealing with frequently flickering lights? Do your circuit breakers trip often when you turn on large appliances? Does your home have several two-pronged outlets that do not accommodate today’s three-pronged plugs for most electrical appliances? If you answered yes to any of these questions, your home more than likely needs a heavy up, which is an increase in the power of your main electrical service. For example, we can transition your home from lower amperage to either 200 or 400 amps.

Outlet Upgrades

Homes without Ground Fault Interrupter (GFI) outlets in the bathrooms, kitchens, or garages also need to be upgraded. This is a type of outlet that protects against electrical shocks. GFI outlets are required in most states, and homeowners in MD, VA, and DC should change all older version outlets to GFI outlets. A GFI outlet has two buttons, including a test button and a reset button, and the outlets turns the power off before a shock can occur. It is especially important that GFI outlets are installed in any area of your home where water flows—bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor areas. The outlet will sense when there is a potentially dangerous imbalance in the flow of electricity from the outlet to whatever is plugged and will shut off to prevent shocks or electrocution.

Aluminum Wiring Upgrade

Many older homes in the area were constructed with aluminum wiring. When these homes were built, aluminum wiring was considered safe to use and viewed as a cost-saving measure. The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) now believes aluminum wiring poses a safety hazard in homes that still have this type of wiring.

The biggest danger associated with aluminum wiring is that unanticipated fire hazards arise from the rusting and deterioration caused at the points where aluminum wiring is connected at outlets, light fixtures, and splices. Call us so an expert electrician can evaluate whether or not this is a problem in your home and take steps to transition your home from aluminum to copper wiring.

If you live in an older MD, VA, or DC home, contact Kolb Electric today. We strongly recommend that you avoid attempting any electrical upgrades or repairs on your own as this can be very dangerous. Electrical upgrades are best left to a professional, licensed electrician.

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