Upgrading an Older Home

Buying and upgrading an older home can be a romantic and fun project.  However, it can also require significant electrical updates. We often receive questions about this topic and this type of what we usually hear.

“We are fixing up a little house in Beech Grove and need an expert to come in and check out the electrical.  The house was built in the 1950s and some of the electrical is new and some are old. We need someone to come in and really let us know what needs to be updated and how much this will cost us.” 

This homeowner is wise to take this approach, contacting an electrical expert.  Although many of these houses have a lot of charm, there are potential problems that need to be considered.   Here are some of the problems you might face if you are upgrading an older home.

Certain electrical wiring problems are common in older homes. One of those is that electrical wiring systems of that era weren’t built to handle the higher power demands of modern living.   Many of those older homes do not have enough electrical outlets to operate a large number of appliances safely at the same time.   You can upgrade the incoming service, such as increasing it from 100 to 200 amps. You can also replace wiring and add outlets to increase electrical capacity.   However, because of safety concerns and fire prevention, you will probably need an electrical permit for significant upgrades.   This type of work is best done by a professional electrician.  You want to be sure it is completely safe for your family and will pass the approval inspection.

Another common issue in older homes is that electrical grounding may not be sufficient.  They didn’t use the same quality of grounding electrodes as that we use today.  The building might also have non-grounded outlets or some with reversed polarity. Non-grounded outlets do not provide any protection from electrical shock.  They all should be replaced with grounded outlets.

Other types of problems you might find are low hanging wires or electric meter issues.  Some homes have inappropriate or spliced insulation in the service entry conductor.

Safety Precautions

You can look for general problems yourself by buying and using a plug-in circuit tester.  These are available at any home store.  And, look at each outlet and switch.  Do they work, are they warm, and are they lose?  It is smart to also get a professional examination of the electrical system.   There may be safety problems that you will not be able to see.

Contact us for an electrical assessment if you are upgrading an older home.  We’ve been your trusted and qualified Indianapolis electrical contractors for more than 50 years.   We look forward to providing you with expert service for any and all of your electrical needs.

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