The old houses in Washington DC are filled with historical charm, which has a strong appeal for homeowners.
Unfortunately, many of these beautiful old homes also have hidden dangers within their walls and above the ceilings – outdated electrical wiring.
The Risk of Electrical Fires
The biggest danger from old electrical systems is the potential of a fire caused by outdated wiring. Electrical fires are one of the most dangerous types of home fires. According to FEMA statistics, an electrical fire is almost twice as likely to result in death to residents than any other type of home fire. An electrical fire often starts out of sight, inside a wall, in the attic, or the crawlspace, giving it time to grow quickly.
Statistics show that the cost of property damage from electrical fires is also twice as high as the losses from other types of home fires. So, how can you tell if your home needs a heavy up (upgrade of the electrical system)?
Signs Your Home Electrical System Needs a Heavy Up
If your home is more than 40 years old and has not had an electrical system upgrade, your system is likely unsafe. The home wiring that was sufficient 40 years ago no longer has the capacity to handle the needs of today's electronics and appliances. Here are a few signs you should have your electrical system reviewed by a trained and licensed electrician:
1. Too few outlets. Do you have extension cords and multi-outlet adapters plugged into your electrical outlets? Overloading individual outlets can cause overheating or electrical shorts to happen. Extension cords are not meant for long-term use.
2. Outdated fuse box. Does your electrical box have safety breakers that would shut-off? If you still have old fuses, you have a higher chance of an electrical fire or an electrical surge ruining an appliance.
3. Tripped safety breakers. Even if your fuse box does have breakers, you may find that they are tripping frequently or shutting off when you use certain appliances. That can indicate that your electrical system is not sufficient for the demands you are putting on it.
4. Flickering lights. Lights flickering when other appliances are turned on is one of the most common signs that your electrical system needs a heavy up.
5. Adding AC or additional square footage. Adding central air conditioning to an older home often requires an upgrade in the electrical system to handle the heavy draw. An addition or a major remodel of an older home is an excellent time to re-evaluate your electrical system.
Bringing Your Old Home Into the 21st Century
A Heavy Up can make your old home safer and more energy-efficient. It can improve the resale value, and enable you to operate the wide-range of electronics that have become a part of our everyday lives.
A Heavy Up is not a DIY job. It requires proper permits, licensed electricians, and formal inspections. Wilcox Electric has been doing Heavy Ups in historic Washington DC homes for over 20 years. We have the experience and high customer ratings that you expect from quality service companies you trust.