electrical system repairs in older homes

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Reasons to Hire an Electrician to Inspect a House before Purchase

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Are you currently considering purchasing a house? Unless you specifically ask for an electrician to conduct their own inspection, chances are your home inspector will pay little attention to the electrical work. A home inspector may not be versed in all the various codes and laws, so they may not be qualified to comment on the state of wiring. Unless there are egregious issues, such as bare wires hanging from a wall, he or she may simply assume that everything is fine. Here are some other reasons to contact an electrician for your own home inspection:

  • Two prong outlets: If the home is old, most or all of its outlets may be two-pronged. If they are especially old outlets, they may not even have one side larger than the other, as with modern outlets. Trying to use modern electrical devices with these antique receptacles could prove to be hazardous. An electrician can let you know what, if anything, you can safely plug into each current electrical outlet. He or she can also help you to formulate a plan on how to go about updating your old wiring.
  • Amateur wiring "improvements": If the previous homeowner was a DIY enthusiast, he or she may have attempted to make changes to the wiring without consulting a professional electrician. While he or she may have tried his or her best, they may not have had sufficient knowledge to do everything that they wanted. They may have done potentially dangerous things like putting in an electrical outlet without support or added a 3-prong receptacle without proper grounding. While it may be difficult for you to spot any potential issues like this, a professional electrician will be able to see exactly what needs to be fixed, updated or removed.
  • Cloth-covered wiring: It's impossible to tell if a home still uses old fashioned cloth-covered wiring, simply by looking at how new the fixtures are. A previous owner may have seen nothing wrong with replacing outlets or overhead lamps, while keeping the original wiring intact. However, this type of wiring can be extremely dangerous and can easily cause electrical fires. If your potential home contains cloth-covered wire, it's important to have it all replaced as soon as possible. Fortunately, a professional electrician will know exactly what to look for. He or she may even climb into the attic to look at the wiring that's been pulled through there.