The electrical needs of properties that are built today are different from those built a couple decades ago. So if you have an old property or if you are considering purchasing an older property, it is important to conduct an electrical inspection. Older homes have electrical systems that simply cannot handle the electrical loads that exist today. The minimum Ampere requirement for electrical systems have changed. Insurance companies also consider the electrical systems of a building before ensuring that property. There are many more reasons why an old property needs to be inspected by a licensed electrician and updated.
Basic Reasons :
Some of the basic reasons why an electrical inspection is needed for an older property are as follows:
Old switches, wiring, and outlets can turn into safety hazards. It is important that electrical systems are updated to the latest industry standards to prevent disasters like fires and accidental electrocutions.
Energy Efficient Operation:
Old electric systems can also increase your electric bill. The wires and systems can deteriorate over time and cause significant wastage of electricity. An inspection can identify components that may be causing electrical leakage.
Increase Property’s Value:
Another benefit of electrical inspection is that it can help in increasing the old property’s value. When potential buyers see that the wiring and systems are up-to-date, they will be ready to pay the desired price.
Areas of Electrical Inspection :
There are many areas that can be covered in an electrical inspection to ensure that they meet the latest standards. This includes the following:
1. Breaker Panels :
If the building has old breaker panels, they may have deteriorated with age. Breaker panels and components cannot last forever and should be replaced within at least 30 years. A qualified electrical technician can determine if the breaker has had any issue and is still suitable for the building.
2. Evaluate Wiring Type :
The wiring which was in use decades ago may no longer be compatible with the new standards and appliances. Modern circuits need to be grounded and old wiring may not provide such options. Exposed wire conductors can be hazardous as they deteriorate over time. Many insurance companies are not going to insure buildings that use old wiring. For example, the old knob and tube wiring can be a concern from a perspective of safety.
3. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter Protection :
Old properties may not have ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) protection in and around wet and humid areas. These systems have become a must-have around receptacles in areas like:
An electrical inspection can determine where and whether these systems are required. Since GFCI receptacles don’t need to be grounded to function effectively, they can provide protection even with old wire systems where there has been no grounding. The code didn’t make it mandatory to have GFCI protection before the 1970s. So it is highly likely that an older property will not have the protection in wet areas.
Many old buildings continue to use fuse over-current protection. This system is highly likely to cause a fire if there is a current overload. The latest circuit breakers are much more reliable and convenient compared to these old systems.
Thus, there are many reasons for conducting an electrical inspection of older homes and commercial buildings. Whether you are an owner who is currently using the building or someone looking to purchase it, it is important that you have the property inspected. An inspection by a licensed electrician can ensure optimal safety and can help you meet the latest code and standards.
Cory Magee is a Master Red Seal commercial electrician with over a decade of experience in Calgary and the surrounding regions. He has experience in both residential and commercial projects and believes that electrical systems can be as important to a renovation as the main reason for the overhaul.