Older homes pose an even greater danger for fires and electrocution, hence electrical safety becomes important.
Today, our dependence on electricity is increasing, and we are expecting more out of our home’s electrical system. Unfortunately, our increased demands for energy can overburden an older home’s electrical system causing fires or electrocutions. Put into perspective: a majority of existing homes in Australia were built before the recent explosion in the use of computers, mobile phones, and other electronic devices. Many home electrical fires and electrocutions can be prevented by upgrading your home to more up-to-date electrical technologies and by recognising warning signs showing up in your older home.
There are a number of issues that plague older homes. These include
- Insubstantial power – The power requirements for a home have increased considerably over the years. If you have an older home, it may not be able to handle your needs and may lead to all sorts of electrical problems.
- Loose or improper connections – The most common DIY screw-ups in a home occur in the electrical wiring and plumbing fixes. In addition, even repairs done by licensed electricians may not have been done to standard and could be a hazard in your home.
- Old or damaged wiring – Cracked wire insulation and exposed wires stemming from age, heat, corrosion, bending stress, or even rats increases the chance of a spark that may cause an electrical fire.
- Lack of proper grounding – Some older homes may lack ground-fault circuit interrupters. These devices are designed to trip before a deadly electrical shock can occur. Moreover, they help prevent your fuses from popping because of a sudden power surge or influx.
Building & electrical technologies have evolved and we now have a number of standard implementations available to modern homes that help minimise electrocution and electrical fire risks. These include:
- AFCIs – Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) are devices that replace the standard circuit breakers in the electrical service panel of your home. These devices detect arc faults and shut down power to a circuit within milliseconds. An AFCI provides a better level of protection than a standard circuit breaker because it detects and removes the electrical arcing condition before it even becomes a fire hazard.
- GFCIs – Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) are a special type of outlet designed to trip before a deadly electrical shock can occur. They are found mostly in areas where electricity might come in contact with water. They constantly monitor electricity flowing in a circuit. If it detects a variation between the electricity flowing and returning into the circuit, the GFCI will automatically shut off the current flowing through the circuit. It can also detect small variations in leakage current, the type of leakage too small to trip a fuse or a circuit breaker.
- TROs – Tamper-resistant Outlets (TROs) are similar to standard wall outlets but feature an internal shutter mechanism that stops children from sticking small objects into the receptacle. The spring-loaded shutters only allow electricity to flow when equal pressure is applied simultaneously to both shutter such as when an electrical plug is inserted. When unused, both shutter are closed and the openings are covered, prevented children from pushing in small objects.
Older homes needs a bit more TLC . There is no other way around it. You may initially be hesitant to have it inspected and repaired by a licensed electrician, but never let money cloud your judgement. If you are looking for experienced electrical contractors to inspect your old home and provide a detailed assessment, our licensed electricians at Austec Electrical can give you practical and valuable advice on your situation. Our team is here to provide you with the best solutions at the most cost-effective price. Plus, we can fix all electrical issues and give you the peace of mind you need.