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Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical Blog

Updating the Electrical System of a Vintage House


One of our specialties as an electrical contractor serving Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley is working on older homes. Southern California may not be New England—we don’t have nineteenth-century homes here. But “vintage” doesn’t have to stretch back to the gaslight era. Many houses built before 1970 have specific requirements when it comes to electrical services (as well as HVAC services, which we also handle).

There’s no wrong time to arrange for Van Nuys, CA, electrical upgrades to your vintage home. But the best time to have a major electrical system overhaul is during a home renovation. You can make the wiring, outlets, panels, and more a part of an extensive renovation project. The results may not make a significant cosmetic change, but the difference in electrical performance and safety is massive. Expert electrical upgrades pay off for many years to come.

Below are important electrical upgrades and changes to have done as part of an extensive renovation.

Grounded outlets, GFCI and AFCI outlets

If the outlets in your home are the older two-prong type, have electricians replace them with grounded (three-prong) outlets. This requires more than popping in new outlets; the house also must be grounded. We advise having the electricians install GFCI and AFCI outlets where appropriate as well. These outlets bolster safety by preventing high-voltage shocks and electrical fires. Our licensed electricians know which rooms need which type of outlet.

Expand outlet use

The number of outlets in homes has increased along with the rise in residential electricity use. Your older home may have too few outlets, and you’ve had to use power strips and extension cords to get the most use from the electrical system in some rooms. Cut down on the power strips and extra cords and instead hire an electrician to add new, conveniently placed outlets.

Upgrading to a new electrical panel

Unless you’ve already installed an electrical panel at some point in the last decade, you almost certainly have an outdated one in your older home. You may even still have a fuse box, which is a potential hazard if you keep putting larger and larger fuses into it to handle the higher electrical load. Even an older breaker panel may not have the capacity for how much electricity you use on a regular basis.


Not all older homes automatically need full rewiring. We discussed in a recent post the troubles that can come from aluminum wiring installed during a short window in the mid-‘60s to early ‘70s, but often the wires don’t need a replacement. Rather, adding connectors can make the system safer. But if you’re having renovations done that require opening walls, replacing older wires with higher capacity wires with new insulation is a wise idea. We especially recommend rewiring if you’ve experienced trouble with flickering lights and frequently tripping circuit breakers.

Please use our expert electricians and older home specialists as a resource. They have extensive experience in electrical upgrades and how to make homes safer.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical is an older home specialist. Call our certified service technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service.

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