Each year, between 45,000 and 55,000 house fires occur in the United States due to faulty electrical work or old wiring. Today’s homeowner puts much more demands on the home’s electrical systems than was anticipated when they were created. If you’re using computer systems, gaming systems, large appliance, and even “smart home” components on a system that’s designed for much less, your home’s safety is at risk. This is just one of the many reasons you may need to update your home’s electrical system. Knowing when to replace electrical wiring is important as a homeowner, because your family’s safety is at risk.
Here’s When to Replace Electrical Wiring
Here are some signs to watch for that show it’s time to replace your home’s electrical wiring:
- Your home is 30 or more years old. In any home built before 1985, electrical wiring could be old and outdated. Having it evaluated by a licensed electrical contractor will help you know if it’s time for replacement.
- You’re tripping the breaker. If you’re regularly tripping breakers or blowing fuses, it’s a sign that your home’s demand is more than the system can take. A qualified electrical contractor can help you make the necessary changes to make your home ready for the demand you’re placing on it.
- You regularly need extension cords. If you’re relying on extension cords to plug in your electrical items, it means you don’t have enough outlets. If a room has just one or two outlets, then you need an update.
- Your lights dim or flicker when you turn on an appliance. This shows that the old electrical wiring isn’t up to the task to properly power the items inside your home.
- Your outlets are stained. Staining or discoloring of the electrical outlets means your home’s experiencing surges in power. This is a fire risk and needs to be addressed.
If you’re noticing these problems, you need to update your home’s electrical wiring with the help of a qualified electrical contractor.
Electrical wiring is not something you should DIY. Learn Why Here >>
Understanding the Benefits of Installing Copper Wiring
If you’re updating your electrical wiring and your home was built when bell bottoms were in fashion, chances are your home has aluminum wiring. Aluminum wiring was installed between 1965 and 1973, because it was cheaper than copper. Unfortunately, it was far inferior in terms of safety. Copper wiring has been in use since the 1820s, and it still stands as the ideal electrical wiring material. Here are some of the reasons why:
- Ductile and Malleable. Because copper is so ductile, it can easily be hammered into a thin wire for electrical needs. Its malleability allow it to be bent into shape. Both of these make it a simple solution for electrical wiring needs.
- Excellent conductor. Copper conducts electricity better than any other non-precious metal. This is an essential component for electrical wiring.
- Non–corrosive. Copper wiring is non-corrosive, which means it won’t rust and degrade even in difficult environments. That’s why copper wires can last up to 40 years, or even more.
With these excellent properties, it’s no wonder that copper has been a staple in electrical wiring for decades. If you’re wondering when to replace electrical wiring, take a moment to learn what type you have.
The Differences Between Copper and Aluminum Electrical Wiring
The benefits of copper are obvious, but is aluminum really a problem? Aluminum was commonly used in the 60s and 70s, but since that time a number of problems have been found associated with it. For instance, aluminum, unlike copper, is able to react to other materials used in home electrical systems in outlets, light fixtures, and splices. This reaction causes the aluminum to oxidize, deteriorate, overheat, and catch fire. In other words, living with aluminum wiring is like living inside a serious fire hazard, which is why you need to know when to replace electrical wiring.
Yet that’s not the only risk. Aluminum also has high electrical resistance, so it’s difficult for current to flow through it. This means an aluminum wired home will have more electrical losses than one that’s wired with copper. The CPSC estimates about 2 million homes were built with aluminum wiring before this risk was discovered. Many of these homes are in Maryland, Virginia and D.C. If your home was built during this time, then chances are high it was built with aluminum wiring.
If you suspect that your home may have aluminum wiring, don’t delay. You need to address this problem right away to ensure your home is protected from the fire risk associated with aluminum wiring. Call 877-287-1179 to talk to the team at Kolb Electric, and our technicians can inspect your home to determine if you have dangerous copper wiring.
Update Your Old Electrical Wiring in MD, VA or DC Today
If your home’s electrical wiring needs help, Kolb Electric is here to assist you. For over 90 years, we’ve been serving homeowners in Maryland, Virginia, and Washington, D.C., providing updated wiring and other electrical assistance. If you’re wondering when to replace electrical wiring, or you’re noticing some of these problems that indicate it’s time, contact our licensed electricians for an inspection, or call 877-287-1179 to schedule an estimate for your home’s rewiring project.