Buying an older home is often more affordable than buying a new one. You may even prefer living in a vintage home. However, one thing you may not like is an outdated electrical system. Homes built decades ago didn't have nearly the same amount of modern conveniences that have become standard for modern living.
Homes now are filled with televisions, computers and high-tech appliances. To bring your older home into the modern era, an electrician may need to install a new panel or rewire the house. One thing that almost certainly will be needed is the addition of new outlets. Here's why.
Not Enough Outlets for All Your Equipment
One big problem with older homes is they are often short on outlets. This leads to dangerously overloading outlets with power strips and extension cords. Modern electrical codes require outlets to be placed at set intervals in a house, so electricity is readily available without having to rely on extension cords.
Older homes were built under different codes at times when much less electricity was commonly used. They aren't required to be updated since they are grandfathered in, so if you want the convenience and safety of an abundance of outlets in your older home, you'll need to bring in an electrician to install them.
Having ample access to outlets is not only more convenient for you, it is also much safer for you and your equipment. Extension cords can be fire and tripping hazards. Overloading a single circuit can be dangerous too, as that could also be a fire hazard. In times past, one or two kitchen outlets may have been plenty. Today, kitchens are in need of multiple outlets.
Some appliances pull a lot of power when they turn on or are in use. A microwave, for instance, needs a lot of power when it first turns on and that can cause your lights to flicker if your circuit is overloaded.
The Outlets Have Two Holes
If your home has mostly outlets that only accept plugs with two prongs, you are at a definite disadvantage. Most equipment and many kitchen appliances have three prongs on them so they can be grounded. To insert a three-pronged plug into a two-prong outlet, you have to use an adapter, which isn't the safest choice.
This leaves the equipment ungrounded. That means you could be shocked, and the equipment could be destroyed when there is a stray current. There are a few options for dealing with this problem, but the situation should be evaluated by an electrician first.
Grounding in some way is necessary before putting in the new three-prong outlets because you want your family and expensive equipment to be safe.
There Are No GFCI Outlets
GFCI outlets provide protection from electrical shock in wet areas of your home such as the kitchen and bathroom. These outlets are required in new construction homes, but they weren't even around when older homes were built. These outlets cut off the power supply when a stray current is detected.
This keeps you from getting a shock. To restore power, you need to push the reset button since power doesn't come back on automatically. If your home doesn't have these safety outlets, especially on outlets near the sinks or in the bathroom where you may stand on a damp floor, then having them put in your home should probably be high on your list of priorities.
By making these upgrades to your outlets, you may be able to avoid some of the frustrations you face with your older electrical system. On the other hand, you may need new wiring or additional circuits to handle the load of all your equipment. Start with an electrical inspection, so you can find out if your outlets are grounded and then get a recommendation for how many outlets to install to make your home safe and convenient.
Set up an appointment with an experienced electrician from Cal-Service Electric Repairs-4-Less for quick and dependable service that brings your home's electrical system into the modern age.