3 Signs It's Time To Modernize Your Residential Wiring

If you're thinking of updating the wiring in your home, you may be wondering how to know for sure if it's the right move. While you will have to dig inside your wallet, the benefits far exceed the monetary investment, including protecting your home from fires as well as lowering your electric bills. Here are three signs that it's time to modernize your residential wiring.

Your Home Is Over Forty

According to the U.S. Fire Administration, the number three cause of residential fires in 2014 was electrical malfunction (a study in 2009 showed it to be the leading cause). And the truth is, the older your home, the greater your risk of having faulty wiring.

If your home is over 40 years old, it may not be able to support the power of today's appliances. For example, 60 amps used to be sufficient to power most older appliances, but those commonly used today, like modern televisions and computers, require at least 200 amps.

Also, homes built in the 60's and 70's commonly have aluminum wiring, which often was not installed properly. As a result, it can come loose over time and overheat, leading to fires at the receptacles.

If your home is even older, say built before the 1940's, you likely have what's known as knob-and-tube wiring. These copper wires have nothing more than a single layer of rubber or cotton insulation. You can imagine the insulating elements breaking down over time, becoming disintegrated or brittle due to aging and changes in temperature. This leaves the copper wires exposed, and suddenly, they're a fire hazard.

Modern wiring can not only increase the value of your home, but it can also decrease your risk of fire, and your appliances will thank you for giving them the power they need to run efficiently.

You've Noticed A Sudden Spike In Your Electric Bill

Leaking electricity can run up your bills unnecessarily. If you've noticed a spike in your power bill, and there hasn't been a change in your routine, it's time to take a close look at the cause.

First, it's possible that your meter is broken. The way to test this is by shutting off your breakers and observing the meter. If it's still spinning, a qualified electrician can handle the repair. But there could be another snafu at work.

If your meter passes the previous test, meaning the meter stopped spinning with the breakers off, the next step is to shut everything off, including your HVAC system and your water heater. Once that's done, unplug everything in the home. If you have wall switches that light up, unscrew their corresponding light bulbs.

Now, flip the breakers on one at a time, and check the meter with each flip. The meter should still be perfectly still. If not, there's a good chance you have faulty wiring that's causing electricity to leak from the wires.

When this happens, it's definitely time to call in the electrician for some updates.

You Want To Automate Your Residential Wiring

Imagine being able to automatically control the lights in your home, all while keeping your utility costs down. By using some or all of the following modern features, your home can have just the right amount of light, and it can make use of solar heat—or eliminate it—when it's most needed.

  1. During the winter, automatic shades on the southern part of your home can be programmed to open, letting in radiant heat from the sun. And in the summer, those shades can be programmed to lower in order to block the heat.
  2. You certainly don't need as much light in your home during the day as you do once the sun has set. Dimmers work by decreasing the amount of light that spills through a bulb, thereby eliminating unnecessary usage. This can reduce your electric bill and increase the life of the bulb—a true win-win.
  3. Occupancy sensors keep those lights turned off when no one is around, a great way to save energy.
  4. Daylight sensors will keep the lighting in your home just right by controlling the shades as well as the overhead lights.

An electrician that is skilled in automated wiring can get your home modernized the right way.