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You've Purchased An Older Home: You May Need To Do Some Electrical Upgrades

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You just bought an older home and you're noticing some electrical problems. If the electrical system is outdated, it's a good idea to have it upgraded. Not only will upgrading your electrical system improve energy efficiency, it will also help prevent potential hazards, such as electrical fires. Here are just a few of the items that should have an electrical upgrade.


Take a look at your outlets. Do they show signs of visible damage, such as scorch marks or areas that have melted? If they do, you'll need to have them replaced. The scorch marks and melting are evidence that the outlets are overheating during use.

If you don't see any visible signs of damage, test each outlet to see how well they work. Plug a small lamp into each outlet. Does the light flicker? Does the power cord wiggle in the outlet? Do you have to adjust the cord to make the light work? If you answered yes to any of those questions, you'll need to upgrade the outlets.

GFCI Switches

Do your bathrooms and kitchen contain GFCi switches? GFCI switches have been required in residential bathrooms since 1975 and residential kitchens since 1987. If you're not sure what those are, they're the outlets that have two small buttons on them that are usually labeled "reset" and "test."

The GFCI switches are designed to protect you from shocks and electrocutions. If your home is not equipped with GFCI switches in the bathrooms, kitchen and other "wet" areas, you'll need to have it upgraded to include them.

Light Fixtures

Do the bulbs flicker in your current light fixtures? If they do, you may have a problem with the wiring that's attached to those fixtures. If the fixtures are the original equipment from when your home was built, it's a good idea to have them replaced. Outdated fixtures can overheat when used with current light bulbs. If your lights continue to flicker after you upgrade your fixtures, you may need to have your home rewired.


According to statistics, 20% of all residential fires in Canada are caused by faulty electrical wiring. Outdated wiring can heat up and start electrical fires in the walls of your home. Unfortunately, electrical fires can burn for quite some time before you even realize you have a problem.  If your home is more than 20 years old, you should have an electrician inspect the wiring. This is particularly true if you have already found problems with the light fixtures and outlets. Chances are that your wiring is outdated too.

If you've purchased an older home, you owe it to yourself and your family to have the electrical system inspected by a professional electrician . Outdated wiring can create hazards and should be upgraded as soon as possible.