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Should You Be Worried about Cloth Wiring?

We’re an “Older Home Specialist,” something we discussed before on our blog. An important part of working as an older home specialist is identifying electrical problems in aging houses. The electrical systems in older buildings are often not anywhere near as safe as that on contemporary homes, and it can rarely handle the electrical load that modern equipment places on it.

One issue in particular often worries homeowners with aging electrical system: cloth wiring. These wires are found in many older buildings. Are they a safety hazard? Should you arrange for extensive rewiring? (Spoilers: yes to both.)

Basics of Cloth Wiring

Cloth-covered wiring in residential buildings usually dates from the first half of the 20th century. It was standard insulation at the time, and managed to keep homes electrical currents running for many years. (Even the old knob-and-tube wiring that predates cloth wiring was perfectly adequate at the time.) However, cloth wiring is definitely out of date and poses some significant risks today. Cloth wiring can become abraded and chewed on by rats and insects, leading the exposure of the wire underneath. If that happens, the chance for an electrical arc (electricity making a short cut from one wire to another) can occur—and that’s a major fire hazard.

Making the Upgrade

When you upgrade your wiring—and we recommend a whole-house rewiring to replace all of the outdated cloth wiring and other aging material — you’re getting much more than improved safety. (Although we think that improved safety is reason enough to have it done!) You’re getting an improved system with added grounding, three-prong outlets, GFCI outlet protection to avoid electrical shocks, and a better circuit breaker panel. (A home with cloth wiring probably also has a fuse box—another old-fashioned electrical device that needs to be replaced.)

To find out what you need for a safe electrical system in your vintage home, contact our older home specialists today.

Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical offers electrical service to Studio City, CA and throughout the Los Angeles and San Fernando Valley areas. Call our friendly technicians 24/7 for exceptional customer service!

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