Common Electrical Problems in Older Houses

  • Blue Collar Electricians
  • August 12, 2020

Professional Electricians Can Modernize Your Home

From beautiful historic homes in Shaker Heights to century farm houses in Geauga County, the Northeast Ohio region is filled with residential treasures. Older homes can be an excellent choice for homeowners who value the architecture and charm of the past. However, there is one aspect of older houses that is not so charming—electrical problems.

If you are planning a home purchase, or are interested in owning an older home, be aware of these common electrical problems:

The electrical system was not designed for today’s power usage.

Consider the amount of power used in today’s households. There are multiple large appliances like a refrigerator and dishwasher, likely several computers and mobile devices, large televisions, pieces of workout equipment, air conditioners, and much more. Homes built 100 (or even just 50) years ago were not designed to manage that kind of electricity load. In many cases, an older home’s existing electrical system just will not be able to sustain the increased electricity usage and should be proactively replaced. 

The electrical system uses outdated knob-and-tube wiring.

If you have toured any homes for sale in older neighborhoods in Mentor or Willoughby, you may have heard a realtor use the phrase “knob and tube,” likely with a negative connotation. This was a common electrical system in the late 19th century and early 20th century that used insulated copper conductors running through porcelain tubing. There are several reasons why knob-and-tube wiring is problematic:
• It can easily be damaged during a renovation or by rodents that chew the wires.
It was not designed to handle increased power usage.
• It carries a risk of heat damage or fire due to improperly replaced fuses.
Some insurance providers will refuse to write insurance policies for homes with knob-and-tube wiring.

The home still uses some ungrounded outlets.

It can be frustrating for a new homeowner to go to plug in a TV or lamp and then realize the item’s 3-prong plug will not work in the available 2-prong outlet. While you can buy adapters for 2-prong outlets, they are not recommended for long-term use. This is because 2-prong outlets are not grounded, meaning they will not protect any item plugged in from an unexpected power surge or stray current. In some cases, sensitive electronics can be completely destroyed.

Your neighborhood electricians at Blue Collar Electricians are more than able to help you address any of the electrical problems in your older or century home. Give us a call and let us know the problem, and we will help you determine the best solution.