Bethesda MD, Meyer Electrical Services Inc.
Written by Walt Meyer

10 Typical Electrical Wiring Problems of Older Homes – Part 1

Older homes have a way of hiding electrical wiring problems unless you’ve hired a licensed electrician to perform annual inspections. As time passes, ordinary daily use and exposure to the elements can deteriorate an electrical system.

Faulty electrical wiring issues are potential fire hazards that can result in property damage as well as injury or death. The following will discuss 10 typical electrical wiring problems that an electrician will look for in older homes.

Aluminum Wiring

Aluminum wiring was a money-saving substitute for copper in the 1960s and ’70s. Unfortunately, aluminum corrodes after contacting with copper, resulting in loose connections that cause arcing and fires. For light fixtures, an electrician can retrofit a dielectric wire nut onto each copper-aluminum connection. It uses special conductive grease that prevents corrosion.

Dimming & Flickering Lights

If your lights flicker inside when it’s windy outside, it’s because frayed wires supplying electricity outside are swaying in the wind, causing shorting and arcing. In this case, the utility company should be contacted immediately to repair this dangerous condition.

Backstabbed Wires

Wires pushed into the backs of switches and outlets as opposed to being connected to screw terminals are considered “backstabbed” and have a greater chance of becoming loose and igniting a fire. The safest way to repair this is hiring an experienced electrician to take out the outlet or switch and connect the wires to their proper terminals.

GFCIs Not Installed

Older homes may not use GFCI (ground fault circuit interrupter) outlets that provide protection from shock and electrocution. They’re usually installed in bathrooms, kitchens, outdoor areas, and swimming pools – areas where there’s water and a greater risk of fatal electrical shock. To promote safety, have GFCIs installed in these areas.

Junction Boxes Exposed

Uncovered junction boxes raise the chances of damaged wiring and electrical shock. Purchasing a replacement cover is not expensive and should be done as soon as possible for safety.

Part 2 will discuss five more typical electrical wiring problems.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. 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.