Does Your Old House Need Electrical Work?

Your old house has charm. It has character. It has a whimsical spirit and a sense of history that you can feel every time you open the door.

For all the intangibles, though, the older your house is, the more likely it is to have electrical issues.

Ideally, you would have gotten an electrical inspection prior to buying your house. But those sort of things are easy to overlook in all the hassle and stress that comes with purchasing a house. If you’re not sure when the last inspection was, it’s a good idea to contact a certified electrician who can give things a look.

Chances are, you’ve noticed a few weird things about the way the light switches and outlets operate. If a switch doesn’t work, or if an electrical outlet is dead, an electrician can get to the bottom of the mystery. In more extreme cases, you may notice smoke or sparks coming out of an outlet, Be very careful when dealing with those things. Unplug any appliances immediately, and don’t use them again until you can get a qualified professional out to your house. If there’s a short circuit, a fire could break out.

An alarming amount of fires are caused by faulty wiring in houses. This doesn’t mean that you’re living in a powder keg and giving off sparks, especially since that’s a Bonnie Tyler song. Your life is not “Total Eclipse of the Heart.” But an electrical inspection can provide some much-needed peace of mind.

Complicated electrical work usually doesn’t come cheap, but there are ways to alleviate some of the costs. Some electricians offer discounts to new customers, especially if there’s a lot of work that needs to be done. You can also search coupon sites to see if any local electricians are offering deals. Be careful, though, and make sure that you’re getting services from a reputable electrician, not just some random guy with a few tools and an authoritative-looking set of overalls. An unlicensed electrician can do tremendous damage to your home and your pocketbook.

You want experience, so it’s also worth your time to see if any master electricians are working in your area. You are also perfectly within your rights to ask for credentials or proof of insurance if you’re having doubts. As with any service, it’s important to do some research by reading a variety of review sites. Just reading one or two review sites could mean you read a bunch of reviews by Internet trolls who don’t even know how to turn on the lights, much less hire a electrician. Cast a wide net and do your homework.

Even if an inspection reveals the wiring in your home is in generally good shape, it might be a good time to consider making a few upgrades. In some areas, plug-in power strips may not be enough protection if there’s a lightning strike. Whole house surge protection offers more security, so talk to a qualified professional and find out if it would be a good option for your house. You can also ask about installing dimmer switches if you’d like for your lighting to have more options than simply “on” and off.

There are plenty of advantages to owning an older house. They’re often cheaper and more interesting than some of the cookie-cutter houses that have been built in the last decade or two. It’s natural to be drawn to a house that tells a story, but you should do everything in your power (pardon the pun) to ensure it’s not a story that ends badly because of faulty electrical wiring.


Author: Maja Markovski


A 35-year-old female architect with a passion for innovative, sustainable design. I blend creativity and functionality to transform spaces into beautiful, practical environments.


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