Electrical Items To Look Out For In Older Homes

If you're looking at purchasing a home or maybe you already own a home. Stick around, we're going to be diving into electrical components to look out for in older homes. Let's dive right in!

1.) Stab-Lok Electrical Panels by Federal Pacific
They were manufactured in the 1950's through the 1980's, it was discovered in the 1990's that these breaker panels did not property trip when the breaker was overloaded, which caused overheating and house fires. Because they were manufactured over so many years, they are not uncommon to find in homes, even in our area.  

If you see a Federal Pacific panel in the home you're buying, what should you do? We recommend you having a licensed electrician coming in and scheduling a replacement based on their professional recommendation. Whether that is during the transaction or once you own the home, it's important to address the concern early on.

2.) Old Fuse Boxes
For some of our older clients, they remember having to go downstairs and replace a fuse when it went out. Functionally, they work just fine, if properly maintained, they are relatively safe systems. However, unlike a breaker panel, which can be switched off and back on, a fuse would need to be replaced if it's overloaded - hence the term "it blew a fuse". In addition to that fuses are not as common and can be costly / more difficult to come by these days, as the technology is older.

3.) Old 60 AMP Service
Most homes today have either 100 AMP service or if it is a newly built home 200 AMP service. It wasn't uncommon when homes were built 70+ years ago to see 60 AMP service as they didn't have as many electric devices, most older farmhouses did not have air conditioning, perhaps only 1 bathroom, few ceiling light fixtures etc. which didn't draw as much power. As we've grown and our energy demand has increased, typically 100 AMP service is what we need to power the average American home.

Again, if you have a home with a 60 AMP panel, it's recommended to have an electrician provide a quote / recommendation to upgrade the panel to an appropriate amperage for your useage.

4.) Knob & Tube Wiring

This was the first type of electrical wiring used for residential dwellings, which started back in the 1800's and continued through the 1940's. The issue with knob & tube wiring is the coating around the wiring does not hold up well with time, it can become frail and can be a fire hazard. 

In addition to that, if you have knob and tube wiring in exposed areas - your attic, basement, etc. it can be a shock hazardif the coating is damaged.

If you have older knob & tube wiring, it's recommended to see what options you have with a licensed electrician. In some cases, it's in great shape and can stay in-tact, in other cases, it's recommended to be replaced. Either way, understand your options, potential risks and the cost of repair before making your decision.

That is going to wrap up a few of the common items you're going to see in older homes today. If you have questions or want to learn more, feel free to reach out to our team. We can connect you with a local electrician who can help you out if you have electrical concerns. 

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