Buying a new home is certainly exciting. You probably have grand plans for how you are going to take that house and make it your own. The downside is that purchasing a home, particularly one that is a decade or more old can come with issues that will quickly eat into your renovation budget. Be on the look out for these electrical issues that you will have to address quickly to ensure that your new home is safe and comfortable.
Breaker Box Is Too Old or Too Small
If the house you are considering still has a fuse box, you will definitely need to have that replaced immediately. They simply aren't as safe as breakers, and replacing fuses will get old quickly. Fortunately, even most older homes have been upgraded to breaker boxes by this point, but this does not let you off the hook. An older breaker may not function properly due to age, or it may have never worked properly in the first place. Modern breakers go through more rigorous testing, so replacing the older breaker should alleviate any safety concerns.
Even if the breaker box is functioning properly, it may be too small for the home. There are two ways this can happen. The first is that it may not be able to handle the amount of current needed in order to keep all your appliances happy. This is less of an issue in recent years, as technology has focused on making appliances more efficient, but it still may be a concern. The second way is in the number of independent circuits available. If you've ever been in a home where you can't run the dishwasher and the dryer at the same time, you know how this problem plays out in real life. Hopefully you will only encounter this if you are planning on doing some large extensions on the building.
Outlets Aren't Properly Grounded
One of the best investments you can make as a homeowner is a basic voltage meter. Household troubleshooting becomes much easier if you can confirm that the device in question is actually getting plenty of power. In this case, you are going to use it for something else--making sure outlets are properly wired.
This is as simple as connecting each half of the outlet in turn with the grounding plug. If no power flows when you do this, the outlet isn't grounded properly, and you shouldn't use it until you've had it repaired. Fortunately, this repair is usually quick and simple, especially if the issue is limited to that outlet. This is often complicated by the fact that a whole room may have been wired incorrectly, but it can certainly be something as simple as a lose wire that needs to be tightened.
The Wires Themselves Are Breaking Down Or Made Of Incorrect Materials
If your potential new home was built in the 60s or 70s, it may have wiring made of aluminum instead of copper. While it will pass code, this is no longer safe and you should replace it as soon as possible. This isn't a common problem anymore, but it is still something to be on the lookout for. Even if the wiring in an older home was made from copper, it still might need replacement. The insulation on the wires doesn't last anywhere near as long as the wires themselves. It will be tough to determine without a professional inspection just what shape things are in behind the wall, but the safety of your family is worth the cost.
Issues like bad wiring are exactly why you need to invest in thorough inspections before you decide whether or not to purchase a home. While bad wiring doesn't mean that you shouldn't make the buy, it does mean that you will need to include the cost of repairs in your agreed payment. To have your wiring or breaker replaced, contact a professional service, such as those found at http://www.advantageelectricians.com.