If you’ve just moved into an older home or the time is finally right to refurbish your existing home, you may be planning on renovating in 2019! Older homes have tons of character, and while you may be most excited about aesthetic updates, it’s important to think safety first.
Our electricians were recently called out to inspect the wiring of an older home undergoing a renovation. The below photos illustrate what you can find once you open up the walls – so be prepared for this and stay vigilant throughout the course of your reno, as you never know could be lurking behind that panelling, Gib or tiling!
Renovating your home can be an excellent opportunity have your wiring checked by a registered electrician – and get it up to current electrical safety standards – while you have access and interior cladding down.
What Lies Beneath
Unlike clearly visible property components such as cladding, electrical work is tucked away out of sight, and out of mind. While you may think your wiring is fine, what lies beneath your GIB – as the above photos highlight – may tell another story.
Not only was the wiring in older homes not designed for today’s multiple appliance and lighting loads, but homes built in the 1960s or earlier generally feature electrical components prone to perishing and decay – a significant electrical fire risk.
Common electrical issues with old houses:
- Wiring in older homes is unlikely to meet current NZ Electrical standards
- Black rubber-sheathed cabling (TRS) deteriorates over time
- Vulcan Indianised Rubber (VIR) has been found to perish and decay
- PVC or early versions of TPS wiring is also known to deteriorate over time, and wasn’t designed to be covered by insulation
- Original wiring in older homes is not designed to handle the load of lights, electronics, gadgets and appliances used today – including some that are permanently on standby
How Do You Know if Your Old Wiring Needs Replacing?
Unfortunately, there’s no way to know for surewhether your older home requires rewiring without a thorough inspection. If your home was built pre-1970, we recommend giving your local electrician a call to undertake a general safety check.
Signs to look out for can include…
- Electrical shocks from appliances, sockets, and switches
- Outlets that get warm when in use
- Flickering and dimming bulbs
- Fuses that blow regularly
- Frequent Bulb Burnouts
- Frequent power outages
The most important thing to remember is that there may be no sign at allthat your wiring is posing a risk to your family. Ignoring that risk may not only put you and your loved ones in danger, but may also cause issues with insurance should you need to make a claim in future.
A Worthwhile Investment
While you may only be looking at the relatively low cost of re-wiring a few circuits, electrical works in older homes have the potentialto blow out your anticipated reno budget by thousands. This may seem daunting – but the cost of NOT updating old wiring can be far greater.
The good news is, the cost of a home rewire, if required, may not be as expensive as you think. Once that investment is made and your electrical wiring meets all safety standards, it’s something you’re unlikely to have to think about again since modern wiring and cabling will generally last up to 70 years when installed correctly.
Remember, your reno is a fantastic opportunity to get your home’s electrical work up to standard! Don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team for advice or to request an inspection before you get started, or if you spot anything that looks dubious during the course of your home update.