Decades ago, the largest apartment buildings only had basic electrical requirements, including lighting, washing machines, and dryers. The typical resident only had a television, radio, a few lamps, and a handful of kitchen appliances. Even 20 years ago, an apartment building built around a century ago was capable of providing sufficient electricity for the needs of residents.
Nowadays, apartment residents usually have air conditioners, computers, entertainment centers, washer-dryers, and numerous devices, and they all receive power via the building’s electrical system. Although tenants may enjoy living in a historic building, it may be the case that its electrical system cannot meet their modern electrical demands.
The owners of older apartment buildings have choices for performing upgrades on their electrical systems. Typically, stakeholders first ask how much work must be carried out. There are cases when each apartment unit can be upgraded individually. However, some buildings must be completely overhauled electrically to be up to date.
In general, historic and older buildings have not had their wiring upgraded due to the cost and difficulty. These buildings will usually require a comprehensive approach to improve their electrical systems. This is due to the fact many pre-World War II buildings are not capable of supplying adequate electricity.
Unfortunately, the materials and methods that were used can make it harder to perform upgrades. For example, it is not advisable to drill into poured-plaster walls. As a result, surface-mount wiring must be implemented. Moreover, a large number of older apartment buildings have a layer of plaster that is 1 ½” thick. Usually below this is a layer of sheetrock sitting above a layer of wood lathe or wire lathe. This means having to cut into a wall if wires are going to be installed into the wall.
There are various moldings designed to hide electrical wires and they are intended to look like a typical baseboard. They certainly cost much less than renovating the electrically system, where the building’s original construction prevents in-wall installations of electrical wires.
Part 2 will discuss Symptoms of System Failure and Performing an Electrical Upgrade…
Electrical Services You Can Trust
Founded in 1991 and serving Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services you can trust, including:
· Standby Generator Installation
· Panel Upgrades (Heavy-Ups)
· Electrical Vehicle Charging Stations
· Structured Cabling
· Circuit Breaker Replacement
Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.