If you’re a Vancouver homeowner then there are distinct signs you need to recognize that will tell you that you need to update your electrical system.
You care more about all other conveniences at home than your electrical system. You freak out when there’s no hot water in the morning or your internet goes down or your dishwasher is broken.
But for those who’ve experienced an extended power interruption or blackout at least once, they know how difficult it is to live in a house with no electricity, even just for several hours.
Most homeowners don’t worry about an old electrical system as long as it’s still doing its job. Calamities and natural disasters aren’t the only causes of power interruptions and extended blackouts, plus you have no control over them.
But when you ignore the need to update your home’s electrical system, it’ll lead to power interruptions and even cause a fire.
Your consumption increases each year without you realizing it, and when it does, your panel can’t keep up. Problems common in outdated systems include overloaded outlets, short circuit, and tripped circuit breakers.
How Electricity Flows in a Typical Residential Setting
Electricity enters the house at a single location. It finds its way to the circuit breaker panel, which in turn works as a distribution center. Multiple circuit breakers are housed in the panel, with each one providing power to different areas, i.e., living room, bedrooms, and kitchen.
If you’re still using an old panel even after adding a couple of rooms and outlets, then it no longer has enough circuits to handle your growing electricity needs. The circuit breakers don’t have enough capacity to handle the increasing demand for each.
So, what happens if the panel can’t handle the increased demand for electricity? The problem begins when excess heat builds up. The old wiring (even with insulation) melts and causes sparks. When the spark occurs near combustible material, i.e., wood and paper, it’ll start a fire.
Signs Yelling “Upgrade” in Your Vancouver Home
1 – Circuit breakers always trip.
Arguably the most obvious sign of an obsolete electrical system is when one of the circuit breakers trips. One morning you wake raring for a hot shower; you turn the heater on, along with your coffee maker and toaster. All of a sudden, your daughter turns the microwave oven on, and everything shuts down.
Although the hot water system has nothing to do with it, the culprit is the simultaneous use of the kitchen appliances, apparently overloading the individual circuit assigned to supply power to the kitchen.
You can remedy the situation by replacing the circuit breaker with one carrying a higher capacity. The problem with this “quick fix” is that the old wiring in the kitchen may not be suited for the added load. So, you’re better off calling a licensed electrical contractor to take a closer look.
2 – The switches, outlets, and electrical panel are warm to the touch.
You don’t expect the outlet or light switch to be warm when you touch them, or else there’s a serious issue to be resolved. All components that form part of an electrical system must not be hot to the touch.
So, when you notice this problem, call a local electrician right away. The problem is most likely with an old wiring system needing replacement.
3 – You rely heavily on extension cords and power trips.
You know that an update of your electrical system is in order when you’ve run out of outlets. As a result, your living space is filled with extension cords and power strips.
Aside from being a chaotic remedy, these extra outlets put your circuit at risk of overloading. You experience either frequently tripped breakers or overloaded wiring. A qualified electrical contractor will recommend upgrading the circuit breaker and the wiring in the areas frequented by the extension cords and outlets.
4 – Dimming and flickering of lights are becoming a common occurrence.
When lights dim and flicker more often than usual, it’s a sign of several possible issues associated with an outdated electrical system.
For example, the light dim when increasing the load on an individual circuit, i.e., the kitchen light dims once you turn on the microwave. It’s a sign that the wiring in the kitchen doesn’t have enough capacity to handle the electricity demand.
When several lights flicker randomly inside your home, it’s indicative of a more serious underlying issue. Call a local electrician to get the wiring checked. If only one light flickers, the problem is usually faulty wiring.
Updating Your System Is No DIY
We get it: you’re a proud DIYer. You go around fixing stuff on your own. While you can change a light bulb, fix the dishwasher, and replace an outlet – an outdated electrical system that desperately needs an upgrade is way out of your league. Unless you’re a licensed and qualified electrician, you’re better off hiring a contractor with sufficient experience and training.