If you have an older home, especially one that hasn’t been updated for a while, you may find that your existing electrical wiring simply isn’t up to the demands of your modern life. The original owners of your house simply didn’t have multiple TVs, a slew of small appliances, laptops, smart phones, smart lights, routers, robot vacuums, washers and dryers, chest freezers, a kitchen refrigerator, a garage refrigerator – so it may be time to update your wiring. Here’s what you need to know to rewire your home with a minimum of fuss.
Recognize the Warning Signs of Faulty Wiring
Rewiring a house can be a nightmare, but it can also protect your home and family from electrical fires and make life easier, too. The U.S. Fire Administration reports that about 25,900 fires a year result from faulty wiring. Electrical fires kill about 280 Americans each year, injure about 1,125, and damage about $1.1 billion in property. That’s why we at AHS.com want to make home electrical safety a priority.
Is your home’s wiring unsafe? Recognize the signs of faulty wiring, including:
- Frequently tripped breakers or blown fuses
- Flickering lights
- An overloaded electrical panel
- Discolored or hot cords, plugs, switch plates, or outlets
- Loose outlets
- Sparks or arcing when you plug something in
- Cut, broken, or cracked insulation around wiring
- Getting a shock when you plug something in or touch a cord
- Burning smells coming from outlets or light switches
- Sizzling or buzzing sounds coming from outlets, light switches, or fixtures
- Light bulbs that burn out often and sooner than normal
If you’re experiencing one or more of these phenomena in your home, it’s time to rewire.
Pull Your Permits
Local building codes will determine such matters as how many outlets you install in a room, what kind of wire to use, and so forth. Get building permits before you start work, so that you don’t have to undo your finished work.
Evaluate Your Needs
Before you start calling electricians, you’ll need to evaluate what you need from your home’s electrical system. Make a list of all your appliances and devices, and which rooms you use them in. This will help your electrician decide how to meet your family’s needs. Don’t forget that these days, wiring can carry data, cable TV, and fire or security alarms, so you may want to include one or more of these in your rewiring plans.
Know Your Home
Your electrician will need to understand the infrastructure of your home in order to avoid damaging things like plumbing or gas lines. Know where your home’s existing infrastructure is, if possible, so that when your electrician starts punching holes in the walls, he or she doesn’t also cut open a water line. If you can, find an electrician who specializes in older homes.
Make a Plan
Once you have a better grasp of what your needs are and what to look out for in your home, you can sit down with an electrician of your choice and make a plan for rewiring your home. Get everything in writing, to avoid confusion and unnecessary disputes later on. Of course, keep in mind that things might change once your electrician gets a good look at what’s behind your walls, so leave some room for flexibility.
In most home rewiring jobs, electricians have to open up walls in order to run new wiring. Make sure that repairing and cleaning up this demolition work, and restoring your walls to their original surface, is part of the plan.
Create a Balanced System
When planning for a home rewire, you want to create a balanced electrical system that minimizes the potential for future problems. Your electrician should keep track of which breakers feed which areas, especially when those areas have more than one outlet. Encourage your electrician to isolate large appliances on their own breaker, to avoid overloading the circuit. Try to leave room to expand your system with more circuits as your needs evolve over the years.
Updating your home’s electrical system is one of the most important things you can do to make your home more modern and safer. With a new electrical system, you can your family can enjoy your appliances and devices, without worrying about the danger of electrical fires.
SmartReno can help you find the right contractor for your Interior renovation project