The oldest homes in Southern California are much younger than the oldest homes on the East Coast. That doesn’t mean we’re free of problems that come from older construction styles, outdated plumbing, and wiring that isn’t up to the standards of modern electrical loads and which may not be safe. At least we don’t have the troubles of knob-and-tube wiring, a frighteningly unsafe style of household wiring that electricians still find in homes in places like New England.
If you live in a house that’s more than 40 years old—and you’ll still find plenty of those in Southern California—you may have outdated wiring. Call a Sherman Oaks, CA electrician to check on the electrical system to see if it needs updating. In fact, we recommend you call us, because we’re older home specialists: we understand how best to bring a vintage home into the 2020s.
Types of Outdated Wiring You Might Have
We’ve already ruled out knob-and-tube wiring—you have to go back to the early twentieth century to find that in a house—but there are other types of wiring that need upgrades for electrical loads as well as for safety and to allow your home to be insured.
The most common type of outdated wiring we discover is aluminum wiring. This wiring material was common during the 1960s and ‘70s, when a copper shortage drove up the price of using copper wires. Aluminum wiring is fine at conducting electricity, but it is in greater danger of corroding and coming loose at connection points, and this creates a significant fire hazard. Although aluminum wiring is not a code violation (it was “grandfathered in” to the code), we recommend having an upgrade. Electricians won’t necessarily have to do a massive rewiring job, but instead add special nuts to the connection points between aluminum and copper, which stops corrosion. Electricians will replace wires that have corrosion.
Another concern is that the wiring in the home is ungrounded. You can quickly tell this if all the outlets in your house are two-prong rather than three. Using an adapter doesn’t make these outlets grounded! A grounded home conducts excess electricity into the ground to protect the electrical system. You’ll need licensed electricians to ground your house and then install new three-prong outlets.
Asbestos insulation and cloth covering on wires is common for homes built in the 1960s. Asbestos in a house is a health danger, so you want those removed. Cloth wiring was used through the ‘60s because it was a cheap alternative for insulating wires, but we know that cheap can often mean “dangerous” when it comes to anything electrical. Although cloth wiring is effective as insulation, it becomes brittle over time and may fall off. Rodents can also chew through it. Because of the potential danger (and the possibility the cloth has asbestos in it) we advise a complete removal and replacement of cloth-covered wires.
To find out what you need to upgrade your vintage home’s electrical system, schedule an electrical inspection with older home specialists today.
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