Did you know that in the Twin Cities, the median home age ranges from 49-56 years? If your home falls into that category, there’s a solid chance it contains outdated electrical components that may be putting you and your loved ones at risk. And even if they aren’t compromising your safety, they’re absolutely diminishing electrical performance and household energy efficiency. Below, our electricians at Harrison Electric discuss three of the most common outdated home electrical components and how to remedy these issues if you have them.
Old Electrical Panel
What exactly is an old electrical panel? How would you know if your home has one? The two most common types of outdated electrical panels are:
● Split-Bus Panels. Unlike modern electrical panels, split-bus panels (installed in new construction up until 1981) do not contain a single, main breaker switch that shuts off your household power completely. Rather, they typically contain several “main” breakers that feed different portions of the panel, and each one must be flipped to cut all power to the house. As a result of their design, if individual breakers experience overload, they may not trip according to their design.
● Fuse Boxes. Installed in new construction up until the 1960s, fuse boxes contain multiple fuses rather than individual breakers. Unlike breakers, fuses must be replaced each time they blow, rather than undergoing a simple reset. While fuse boxes aren’t inherently dangerous, they aren’t designed to handle modern household electrical needs. Due to their design, outdated fuse boxes almost always compromise household energy efficiency.
If your home features one of the above outdated electrical panels, it’s never a bad idea to have a licensed electrician replace it with a modern, code-compliant panel. Not only will you enjoy improved energy efficiency, but you’ll also experience fewer service interruptions with a system that can properly handle your household energy consumption.
Does your home contain two-prong outlets? What about non-GFCI outlets near water sources or outdoors? If you answered yes to either of these outlet types, your home is in violation of modern electrical code, and your outlets are putting your safety at risk.
According to today’s electrical standards, homes must feature grounded outlets (which are the kind with three prongs, not two) and GFCI outlets to protect against electrical shock. To remedy this glaring safety hazard, contact a licensed electrician for an electrical inspection and outlet replacement. Though your current outlets may work just fine, they increase your risk for electrical arcing and high-voltage current transfer, which can cause personal injury or household fires.
Old Wiring Throughout the House
Aluminum wiring, along with knob and tube, are two of the most common wiring types in older homes. While knob and tube wiring isn’t super common (it was phased out after the 1930s), aluminum wiring was installed in new construction until around 1980, which means many Twin Cities homes still contain it.
If you suspect your home contains old, outdated wiring, and it was built 30-60 years ago, have an electrician inspect the electrical system for signs of deterioration or damage. Ultimately, you should have old wiring in your house replaced, not only for safety’s sake but also for improved household energy efficiency.
Schedule Your Electrical Inspection & Repair With Harrison Electric
At Harrison Electric, we’ve proudly served Minneapolis and St. Paul homeowners with comprehensive residential electrical service since 1985. It’s our mission to help you keep your home and family safe, so if you suspect your home contains outdated electrical work, it’s time to get in touch with our team. To request service or get a repair quote, give us a call at 763-544-3300 or send us a message on our contact page, and a member of our team will be in touch with you promptly.