Real Estate Blog

Understanding How Dangerous Old Electrical Wiring Really Is

Electricity is carried through your home in wires. In a modern system, there will be three wires per circuit, that’s a live wire, neutral, and earth. In general the live is red, the neutral black, and the earth green and yellow.

Of course, there can be additional cables on some circuits and older circuits may use different colours. But, the basic premise remains the same, a standard circuit has a live wire, neutral, and earth.

The fact that modern electrics are a different colour makes it easier to identify old electrical installations. If you have one then you should contact a reputable Sydney electrician to talk about getting them replaced.

The simple fact is that most wires are hidden, making it harder to tell how old your wiring is. But, you need to check as old wiring is dangerous for several reasons.

Fire Risk

One of the biggest issues facing homeowners with old electrical wiring is fire. Electrical wires are generally made of copper and wrapped in a PVC jacket. This gives good conductivity and the jacket protects the wires from touching each other.

Spacing of the cables is also important to avoid issues with heat build-up.

However, the protective jacket will perish over time, this means the bare copper wires are exposed. They get hot when in use and can cause flammable substances near them to burst into flames. 

Equally, the exposed wires can touch each other, creating a short circuit. This creates a spark and excess heat, again increasing the possibility of a fire.

You should note that modern wiring can also be damaged by pests, such as rodents, and cause the same issue. That is why it is so important to have your wiring checked regularly.

Electric Shocks

Because the outer sheath can be damaged and remove the protection the wires can cross each other creating a spark that, as mentioned, can cause a fire.

But, this spark can also travel along the wiring and may give you an electric shock. In severe cases, an electric shock can kill you, but it is never a pleasant experience.

Power Outages

Short circuits can cause the circuit breaker to trip, effectively cutting the power. Turning the breaker back on may resolve the issue but it may simply keep happening.

Alongside this, it is important to note that many homes now have a much higher draw for power. This is because an increasing number of appliances are more powerful, even if they are more efficient.

The result is excess current in old wiring which simply can’t handle it.

At best the overload will shut down the circuit. The worst-case scenario is the overload causes excess heat and starts a fire.

While nobody wants the expense of rewiring, this is substantially cheaper and less stressful than rebuilding your home. The best approach is to have regular electrical inspections. This will help you prepare financially and mentally for any issue with your electrics and take prompt action to resolve it.

Electricity is considered essential, but it is also very dangerous.

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