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Buying an Older Home in Charlotte? Here’s What to Look Out For When It Comes to Electrical

Old houses have a charm all their own, and there’s a tendency for buyers to prefer those to brand new apartments. While we’d agree that old homes have a lot of personality, they also come with their fair share of electrical disasters as well. Since many of these ancient buildings were built before any official code, the electricals are sometimes jury-rigged to “just work.” Through our site inspections, we’ve seen some do-it-yourself (DIY) electrical systems in old homes that had us scratching our heads as to what the homeowner was thinking. Throughout our exploration and upgrade of older houses, we’ve encountered a few issues that often repeat themselves.

A GFCI power socket, with test and reset buttons, and green LED.

Issue #1 – Dead Outlets and Non-Working Switches

One of the first things you’re tempted to do in an old house is to try the switches to see the lights. In half the cases, though, the lights don’t work. Sometimes you might attempt to plug in an appliance into an outlet and get no electricity out of it. Both of these issues are due to improper wiring. In each case, electrical shocks, arcing, or even fires can result because of faulty wiring. For dead outlets, there’s also the chance that the homeowner installed a separate outlet somewhere on the premises. You may have to perform a scavenger hunt to locate it or call in an electrician to trace your wires.

Issue #2 – No GFCI Outlets

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) outlets are an NEC standard, but since these old buildings were built before anyone ever dreamed of the NEC, very few (if any) outlets are of this type. GFCIs are useful in any area that may have to deal with excess moisture. They are designed to shut off the flow of electricity to the outlet if it detects a short in the circuit. Replacing sockets in the bathroom or washing room with GFCI outlets should be a priority when dealing with an older house.

old-home-dilworth-charlotteIssue #3 – Not Enough Power

Older houses and their owners may not have kept up with the march of technology over time. As a result, they’d usually consume less power than today’s homeowners. You might find that after trying to plug in twenty different electrical devices, and your cell phone that you get brownouts and might even trip breakers. The supply of power to the house may be too little to support your needs, and it may need to be upgraded. Consult an electrician as soon as possible to sort out that issue before you cause irreparable damage to one of your electrical systems.

Be Aware When Buying that Old House

You might not be able to spot electrical problems immediately on your first visit to the house. Most buyers don’t even realize they have issues until they start checking out what works and what doesn’t. You should know that older homes usually display these kinds of problems and be prepared to repair them. The best way to categorize and prioritize electrical repairs is to check out a professional electrician. Call up LiveWire today, and we’ll schedule a visit to your old house and let you know what you need to deal with first. With such extensive experience in dealing with old house electrical upgrades, you couldn’t make a better choice. Contact us today!

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