It’s a sad fact that everything ages (unless you’re talking about wine, in which case aging is good…). Aging electrical components don’t just look a bit silly in skinny jeans, they can be dangerous. If your wiring is getting on a bit, then you’ll need to have it inspected regularly and eventually replaced. You can help yourself by watching out for signs that the need for rewiring is becoming more urgent.
The age of the wiring
Older houses and flats may have wiring that’s 20 or so years old and so may be starting to fail. If you’re seeing fluctuations in current – flickering lights, kettles stopping and starting – then it’s time for an inspection and probably an overhaul. This is especially so if you’ve lived in the property for 10-15 years and you haven’t had such an inspection.
You find two-pronged plug sockets
These plug sockets are insufficiently grounded and so you need to call an electrician as soon as possible, as they’re also a fire risk. You’ll need to replace them with grounded three-pronged sockets and ensure that the circuit is most definitely covered by a safety switch. Your electrician will know what’s best.
You find aluminium wiring
A lot of properties built in the 1960s and 1970s had aluminium wiring instead of copper, which is safer. Aluminium wiring tends to become loose over time, which increases the risk of a fire whenever the socket is in use. You should replace this older wiring at your earliest convenience.
Yes, arcing! If your wiring system is quite old, it may not be able to cope with the demands newer appliances make on it. Modern dishwashers and washing machines are particularly greedy and if you have a couple or more devices working from one circuit, the older wiring can overheat, melting its insulation. All the exposed wires can then discharge electricity in the form of arcs and this poses a serious fire risk. Arcing can present as a humming or hissing sound and you may even see flashes; if so, you need to act immediately by contacting a local licensed fully qualified electrician.
A rewiring often involves a switchboard upgrade
Older systems tended to have switchboxes with fuses and if you’re finding that your fuses are blowing with irritating regularity, then it may be time for that system overhaul.