Electrician
Are Old Wires and Fixtures Safe?
Oct 13, 2021

Are Old Wires and Fixtures Safe?

Electrical wiring is a vital component of your home as it feeds all electrical appliances with power. However, over time these parts tend to deteriorate, presenting severe problems like shock or fire hazards. Aging might contribute to unsafe wiring, but this does not necessarily mean it has to be replaced. Instead, the experts at HomeOps Electric conduct a thorough assessment to determine the condition of your old wiring and the ability to accommodate the electrical loads or fixtures in your home. Unfortunately, before contacting an qualified electrician, few indications can help you know where your wiring stands.

Identifying Old Wiring

Most homes with an old wiring system have a knob-and-tube system with insulating knobs and tubes that run the wiring along and through the house. In addition, wires are prevented from coming into contact with each other by a ceramic insulator that prevents the wires from coming into contact with combustible material such as wood.

If you have this type of electrical wiring system at your residential or commercial establishment, it is advisable to consult an expert electrician to mitigate any potential risks. In case there are naked wires, electricians usually solder the wires to make splices and then wrap them using friction tape, also called rubber electrical tape.

Since this system is outdated, it does not have splices at the junction box like modern electrical wiring systems. If you want to get the job done by yourself, it is essential to note that there are a lot of differences between this type of wiring and the one we have today. For example, it is not easy to differentiate between neutral and hot wires since they are black. In addition, the insulation on the neutral wires may also be black, unlike today, where they are white.

No Ground

Wiring is usually fitted with a ground system which is vital for safety. However, since knob-and-tube wiring has a two-wire system, it lacks a ground system. Although this does not necessarily mean it is unsafe, it still doesn’t guarantee the safety of the users since there’s no ground to protect sensitive electrical appliances and other appliances. Moreover, the lack of a ground system leaves these appliances vulnerable to damage in a power surge.

Homes that have this type of wiring system cannot add a ground system, and you will be required to replace the entire wiring. However, for those who do not want to replace their wiring, our experts can fit the knob and tube system with GFCI receptacles to increase their safety and ensure that the wires are connected with the correct polarity. Although GFCI receptacles do not provide actual grounding pathways, they can shut off power once they detect ground faults.

Common Problems to Look For

We have a dedicated staff that is well-informed and can help you identify typical problems usually found with old systems. Some of these issues include: damaged or missing wire insulation, exposed splices, wiring surrounded by building insulation, and fuse boxes with fuses larger than 20 amps.

As a family-owned and operated company, HomeOps Electric is dedicated to providing all our clients with excellent electrical services. Contact our live call center, and a licensed electrician will be sent on the same today.

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