When was the last time you checked your electrical system?
The answer is probably a long time ago or not at all. The thing is that many people don’t think about their electrical systems until something goes wrong.
And it’s easy to see why, considering that just by pressing a button, it’s there. As a result, most don’t think something could be wrong with the installation if it’s working.
But it’s important to keep in mind that the electrical system of your home or business ages over time, and it can develop serious problems which are not immediately apparent.
So, how do you know if your home is due for an electrical service upgrade? In this post, we’ll look at this question in more detail. We’ll also give you some helpful tips to see whether you need an upgrade and whether you should consider hiring an electrician to check your system for you.
When Do You Need an Electrical Upgrade?
One of the first questions you should ask yourself is how old your home is.
Typically, if your home is more than 40 years old, your electrical system can pose a considerable risk. This is simply because older homes were not designed to deal with the modern-day demands we place on our homes.
For example, the standard for household power used to be 60 amps. Modern homes now require as much as 200 amps to power everything from computers to entertainment systems, high-definition televisions, and climate control systems. In simple terms, you need an upgrade when your electrical system can’t keep up with your current daily needs.
Some other signs that could indicate that you need to upgrade your electrical system include:
- Breakers are frequently tripping.
- Fuses are repeatedly blowing.
- Lights that are constantly flickering or dimming.
- You’re experiencing a tingling sensation whenever you touch any electric appliance.
- Electric outlets that are warm, discoloured, or sparking.
- A persistent burning smell from a room, appliance, or outlet.
- Two prong ungrounded outlets throughout your home.
- No Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter outlets in various rooms or areas that are exposed to moisture, for example, kitchen and bathrooms.
Risks of Not Upgrading Your Electrical
It’s no secret that electricity can be dangerous, so it’s always better to upgrade your electrical system if any of the above things happen or if your installation is old.
There are a variety of things that can happen as a result of malfunctioning, old, or faulty wiring. Some of these include:
- An old electrical system poses a severe fire hazard which not only puts you at risk but also your family and other loved ones. In fact, one of the most common causes of home fires is bad or malfunctioning wiring. When the wires become exposed, heated, or sparks are created due to malfunction, the materials around these wires can ignite, eventually leading to a devastating fire.
- Apart from being a fire hazard, an old electrical system also poses a risk of electrocution. If the wiring is old and there are signs of wear and tear, the electrical current can’t properly flow through these wires. It’s also a possibility that the insulation may have holes and cracks in it. In both cases, this poses a severe risk of electrocution.
- Because an old electrical system will not manage the power as safely and efficiently as it once did, it will reduce the lifespan of electrical appliances. Also, because old wiring wasn’t designed to deal with modern appliances, it will lead to your appliances like your washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, and others wearing out faster.
Apart from these risks, an old electrical system will simply not be as efficient as a modern one. You can almost think like a car. If the car doesn’t get sufficient fuel to the engine, it won’t run as efficiently, and it will struggle.
This is the case with all the wiring. In the end, because it’s not that efficient, you end up paying more for your electricity.
What Goes Into the Upgrade?
So, now the question is, if you need an upgrade, what goes into the upgrade? The first step in upgrading your electrical system should be to upgrade the electrical panel. This allows you to bring more power from the utility provider into your home.
It’s also necessary to upgrade the existing power meter and circuit breakers to be compatible with the new specifications of your upgraded panel. If you don’t want to upgrade the entire panel, at the very least, you should replace any old circuit breakers inside the existing panel, which could be unsafe.
The second step in the upgrade process is to include additional circuits that can distribute the power to your rooms and appliances. Here, you could also consider adding dedicated circuits to large appliances like refrigerators and air conditioning units.
The final part of the upgrade may also include adding new electrical outlets to your home and replacing the old wiring and receptacles with new wiring. These steps will ensure that your home has an updated electrical system that ensures your safety.
Can You Do It Yourself?
Repairing or upgrading your electrical system is unfortunately not a project you can do yourself. This is simply because the electrical wiring for a home is complex and also very dangerous.
As a result, if it’s not done correctly, it won’t eliminate the risks of not upgrading. In fact, it can increase the risks if the upgrade is not done by a professional electrician.
How Much Will it Cost?
This question, unfortunately, is complicated to answer. Ultimately, it depends on your home and the current state of its wiring and electrical system. So, if the entire system needs to be replaced, it will cost a lot more than just replacing part of it or repairing it.
However, you should also consider that you can’t put a price on your family’s safety, so if it needs to be done to ensure your safety, it makes it worth it.
The Bottom Line
A properly functioning electrical system is crucial to keep you and your family safe. When working properly, it eliminates a variety of risks that you face if it isn’t.
Hopefully, this post helped illustrate why having a properly working electrical system is crucial and when you should consider replacing yours. If it is time to upgrade and you need a Coquitlam electrician to assist, content us for more details and we’ll be happy to help.