Are Old Wires and Fixtures in Your Home Safe?

Posted on: March 11, 2014

Electrical wiring and materials have improved significantly over the years, but if you live in a house in which the wiring was laid a long time ago, there may be some risks involved. It is worth checking to see whether everything is as it should be.

Electricity is normally out of sight and out of mind because the cables are hidden in the walls and in switches and sockets. As a result, we rarely check the condition of our electrical installations. Faulty and aging wiring can cause electrical fires, but you can avoid this by having your electrician check them for you.

There are clear indications that can make it easier to identify aging cables. Any cables that are coated in black rubber will be quite old as they were phased out in the 1960s; the same applies to fuse boxes with wooden backs and cast-iron switches. These were also phased out in the 1960s.

During your inspection, you may see wires that look old but are intact. These will likely be safe to use. You will need to check any connections wrapped in friction tape to ensure that the tape is not unraveling or frayed. If the tape is damaged, turn off the circuit and replace it with new tape.

The biggest disadvantage with most old wires is that they do not normally implement ground wires. This may result in a person becoming the path to the ground and being electrocuted if there happens to be a short in an appliance.

If you think that some of your wiring is too old, you may want to ask an electrician to check your wiring for you. For safety reasons, it is recommended that any old wiring be replaced by a grounded style of wiring as well as updating any dated or damaged outlets.