Old homes in the Phoenix, Arizona, area have a historic charm that's unparalleled by newer constructions. You'll enjoy time-tested features like durable hardwoods and careful construction, but you may also find some elements that haven't stood up as well to the test of time. Electrical issues are common in old homes. These potentially dangerous problems require prompt attention to keep your house safe.
While modern homes rely on circuit breaker panels, older buildings may still have fuse boxes. There's nothing wrong with relying on a fuse box as long as it hasn't been modified by an amateur. If someone installed a new fuse that has a greater amperage than what the fuse box can support, the home is at risk for a fire.
Overheating wires can damage the surrounding insulation. Replacing the wires addresses only part of the problem, as the danger from the compromised insulation remains. Schedule a professional inspection to ensure proper diagnosis and repair of an improperly upgraded fuse box. A licensed electrician can help you identify problem areas and come up with an appropriate repair plan.
Before the age of smartphones, tablets, and computers, families didn't need nearly as many electrical outlets as they do today. If you're purchasing an older home that hasn't had any electrical upgrades, you'll almost certainly notice fewer power outlets than what you'd find in a modern construction. You can deal with this issue safely with heavy-duty extension cords and power strips.
If you're interested in a simpler and more attractive solution, you should have a professional add more outlets to the home. Identify all the areas where you could use new outlets, so you can fix this problem in as few visits as possible. There's typically a minimum charge for this work, so it's best to add all the outlets you need at once.
An experienced electrician will spot an uncovered junction box right away, but as a homeowner, you may not notice there's a problem until you schedule an inspection. A replacement cover for the junction box is a low-cost solution that you can install with just a few screws. Do make sure you address the issue promptly, as it is a code violation.
The weatherhead is the exterior fitting where the cables from power lines enter your home. If your home is old, this fixture may be showing signs of age and damage. This issue creates an eerie ambience on stormy afternoons. Flickering lights in windy weather are the most recognizable indicator of frayed wiring in the weatherhead.
Though this isn't a code violation, it's a problem that you need to address right away. The frayed wires create an increased fire risk. Your first contact in this instance should be the electric company. Since the weatherhead is technically the utility provider's territory, technicians may come and install a replacement free of charge.
All electrical wires are insulated, but the material used for insulation varies with the age of the wires. Wires dating back to the first half of the 20th century may only have cloth covers. Armor-clad wires use their covering as the ground, rather than requiring separate ground wire. Though these features are grandfathered into current codes, they're no longer used in new constructions.
Over the years, insulation can fall prey to the ravages of time and the elements. Without proper insulation, wires can overheat and spark a fire. An inspection is the best defense against damaged insulation. You should also contact a professional for prompt repair if you notice hot spots or the smell of smoke anywhere in the home.
If you're interested in purchasing an older home, a professional inspection is a must. Contact Mr. Sunshine's Electrical Services at 602-910-6267 to schedule an electrical safety inspection. We can help you evaluate the wiring, outlets, and other installations in the home and determine where you'll need upgrades to keep the building safe and in compliance with building codes.