4 Electrical Issues To Watch For When Buying A Home

May 14, 2023

From mysterious flickering lights to sparks flying from outlets, there are several obvious signs that something may be wrong with your home’s electrical system.

However, it’s best to know beforehand, to prevent any sort of electrical incident. A report by the Electrical Safety Foundation International (ESFI) found that home electrical fires account for an estimated 51,000 fires each year in the United States.

This article will outline 4 subtle electrical issues to look for when you’re buying a home, so you can troubleshoot problems before they can ever become a serious danger. Read on to learn more!

Homes Built In The 70s:

If you suspect you have aluminum wiring, have it inspected. Aluminum wiring is a fire hazard and should be replaced. Common symptoms of malfunctioning aluminum wiring include lights flickering for no apparent reason, switches and outlets becoming warm and discolored, and breakers constantly tripping.

Homes Built Before 1950:

Knob & Tube wiring lacks a ground wire and 3 pronged plugs for safety. Safety usually depends on the history of modifications and upgrades. Substandard modifications are common and can be a serious safety hazard. Insurance companies may even deny coverage due to the increased risk. Be prepared – if you are buying a home, you may need to upgrade part of or all of the system.

Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

GFCI outlets should be installed in areas where you might directly touch the ground or a part of the plumbing system such as bathrooms, kitchens and exterior outlets. GFCI outlets last between 15 and 25 years and should be replaced in this timeframe. You should test them regularly with the “Test” and “Reset” buttons.

Smoke And Carbon Monoxide Detectors

The new smoke detectors and smoke/CO detectors installed in your home are powered by the wiring of your home. During power outages, however, they will be powered by a back-up battery which requires periodic replacement. All smoke detectors have a limited lifespan—typically it’s 10 years, after which time they will need to be replaced.

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