The Dangers Of Outdated Wiring

It’s impossible to think of modern life without the benefit of electricity. As many of us are aware however, it can also be lethal if our home wiring is not up to the task or is degraded beyond repair.

The issue is, the majority of homeowners will only consider questioning the condition of their cabling once they encounter a problem. If they are lucky, this problem will simply lead to a blown fuse that can be reset. Unfortunately, there are many more issues that can arise from outdated and poor-quality wiring that have more tragic consequences.

If you ask a homeowner if they know when their house was last re-wired, there’s a strong chance that they wouldn’t be able to tell you. And in a country with older houses than most, this can be problematic.

The older wiring that exists in many homes today may have been gnawed on by pests, lost its insulation or worse, and more often than not these wires are an accident waiting to happen. For example, in the picture below is an instance where a behind the face plate of a power point are wires that have been insulated with braided cotton with a waxed finish, which has obviously degraded over the years.

What Are The Main Causes Of Bad Wiring?

Depending on when the property was built, there may be a number of reasons why a home’s wiring is no longer fit for purpose.

  • Home owners frequently make DIY modifications to the circuitry. Whether those alterations are correct or not, these alterations have not been recorded. Decades ago, you did not have to record any modification you made to your own home. Today it is necessary to register alterations with your local building control authority.
  • The circuitry may not longer be capable of supplying the amount of electricity demanded by all the appliances in the household, overloading the circuits repeatedly.
  • Wires may have become loose over the years both in walls and sockets.
  • Exposed wiring may lead to arcing, which can lead to the outbreak of fire depending on the materials it comes into contact with.
  • There may be wires that have been left live, but never connected safely.
  • The skill of the electrician who originally installed the circuitry was not up to scratch.

What Are The Dangers Of Bad Wiring?

If the above issues are present in a home and are not discovered in time, bad wiring can easily lead to electrical fires, potentially lethal electric shocks and broken appliances caused by surges. Below is a sample of a socket where a green goo has formed as a result of degrading and melted insulation due to overloaded cables, an accident waiting to happen.

What Signs Should I Look For That My Wiring Is Not Safe?

There are a number of signs that you should pay attention to if you suspect that your house needs to be rewired.

  • There may be burn marks in or around your power points caused by either a short circuit, or an overload.
  • Small electric shocks around the house from electrical items could be a sign that your circuitry is not properly earthed, and therefore dangerous.
  • Your fuse box is repeatedly tripping its breakers for no discernible reason.
  • You keep smelling a burning smell when certain appliances are consuming power.
  • Peculiar fishy smells
  • Your lights continually dim or flicker due to surges and degrading cable.
  • If your electric cupboard contains asbestos or an outdated fuse box, it is unlikely that the wiring will not have been touched since its original installation (see example below)

In short, it’s never worth taking a chance with your wiring if you suspect something is wrong. Most electricians will be happy to do a quick check on your circuitry to ensure that you and your family are safe, and if you do need to rewire your house, make sure that you use modern, higher capacity cables to future proof your circuitry.

Are you in need of a house rewire? AGW Electrical Services North West are a team of trusted, approved and friendly electricians who have been helping homeowners for years to keep their homes safe by upgrading their wiring. Why not find out the true cost to rewire a house?

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