Posted by & filed under Residential Electrical Systems.

Do you remember Smokey Bear and how he was against forest fires? You do? Great!! Well, I’m neither a bear nor is my name Smokey, but we do share one similarity; we are both against fires.  In my case, I work to prevent electrical fires.

If you will, let me take a stab at your present situation: you bought or are thinking about buying an older home and you’re curious to learn about the electrical dangers associated, because, I don’t know, you don’t want your home to burn down. Listen, I don’t blame you, electrical fires are especially scary because you don’t always see smoke when one breaks out and, if you do, then flames may already consuming your home from the inside.

In a focused effort to ease your mind, below you can find information on the electrical dangers that are found in older homes.

Old Wiring

When your house was built, chances are it was built with top of the line materials. Fast forward fifty years and you might just find that the wiring is a little out dated.  The problem with old wiring is you can’t see it; so owners are often susceptible to the out of sight out of mind effect.

Here’s how you can protect yourself. Replace your circuit breakers with arc-fault circuit interrupters.  This simple adjustment will notify you if there is any abnormal sparks or loose connections, both important tip offs that can help protect you from fires.

Damaged Electrical Appliances

Take a minute to think about that antique oven that your wife loves or the retro refrigerator that you can’t get enough of.  Well, I’m here to tell you to think twice about your love for these items. Old electrical appliances, by the simple nature of being old and well-used, have deteriorated in quality every year they.

In fact, it isn’t uncommon for the cord of an older appliance to be frayed, thus giving the appliance an opportunity to set your home ablaze! Here’s a simple fix: check the back of your old and clearly cherished appliances to see if the cord is damaged. If it is damaged, do not hesitate to pick up the phone and call a repairman.

Loose Electrical Outlets

I used to think that having a loose electrical outlet (when you plug something in and it keeps falling out) was just a subtle annoyance sent from the Gods to make sure that I have a minor annoyance everyday. Boy was I wrong.  Those loose outlets can cause the blade of your cord to generate heat, which in turn can lead to a fire. Here’s a simple fix: when you notice loose outlets, get them replaced.

Old Circuit Boards

I think you’re getting the theme of this article by now; old circuit boards weren’t designed to handle the electricity-hungry demands of the current society that we live in. Old electrical boards can overload and cause a spark when it is being maxed out.  This, in turn, can cause a fire. Here’s a simple solution: have an electrician inspect your circuit board to determine if it can handle the demands of modern life.