Old homes have their own charms, but more often than not, they also have their own problems as well. For example, there could be asbestos in the construction or lead in the plumbing system if the house was built before the government in the UK finally took steps that a large number of developed nations had taken decades earlier.
Then, of course, there is always a chance that either the electrical wiring is falling apart, or there were severe design flaws to begin with. If you’ve purchased an older property, or are letting one out to tenants, it’s important to be aware of the danger signs of faulty wiring, so you can take steps to avoid any chances of a fire hazard or electrocution risk.
Frequent Activations of the Circuit Breaker
Circuit breakers are both crucial and absolutely essential little devices that save us from electrical and/or potential fire hazards every time they are tripped. However, if your circuit breakers are getting tripped far too often, it’s a sign of overheating, which in itself is a sign of frequent overloading. Note that circuit breakers are activated when the solder melts and the connected spring immediately cuts off the circuit of current, switching off power. If the solder is melting frequently, it is a sign that you need to consult an electrician and get the wiring checked as soon as possible.
LED lights do not buzz as much as incandescent bulbs used to, but even CFLs and LEDs do flicker when the supply of electricity is not stable or sufficient. That may happen sometimes anyway, but it’s the frequency of such instances that matter here.
Dimming and Brightening Lights
This particular sign of faulty or damaged wiring also used to be the most evident with incandescent lights, but you still should be able to notice CFL and LED lights getting dimmer and brighter from time to time. If that’s a regular occurrence, do not accept it as part of the package because that is not a part or package you want to go unchecked as a landlord.
Contact a company such as Trade Facilities Services for a comprehensive electrical inspection which will cover everything from the property’s wiring, right down the emergency lights. After making the repairs and changing out faulty wiring on an as-needed basis, the landlord will be given an Electrical Safety Certificate. The company provides a large range of industrial and residential electrical safety certificates, so look through their website to see which ones will suit your particular situation the best.
Blackened, Charred, and Buzzing Outlets
A buzzing electrical outlet poses immediate danger to anyone who is trying to use it or is even near it. The most common cases involve damage to the connected electrical appliance, but sometimes, it’s the precursor to a short-circuit and consequent electrical fire. The worst part about the buzzing socket is that people often fail to hear the sound due to appliances and background noise.
Blackened, charred outlets are likely to be a result of overheating and calling an electrician is highly advised to get it checked. Also, do not use the socket until the check is completed and the issue is both identified and corrected. In some cases, plugging a high-powered device into a low-powered socket can also overheat and overload it, producing the charred, blackened effect. Take note of the British Standard (BS) chart for matching electrical devices with sockets to avoid such mistakes on your part.
Here’s an at-a-glance guide to the average power consumption rates to help you unwittingly overload power sockets:
- Smartphone chargers – 12 W to even 65W
- Fridges – 150W
- Microwave ovens – 1500+W
- Electric heaters, dishwashers, washing machines, toasters, hairdryers and vacuum cleaners – 2,000W – 2,200W
- Electrical irons and kettles – 3,000W
When you notice the outlet buzzing, heating or going dead immediately upon plugging in your device, although it has the right BS rating, there might be something wrong with the appliance/electrical device itself, or the wires behind the socket.
Frayed, Damaged Cables/Wiring
Finally, this would be the most obvious sign of faulty or damaged wiring since you should be able to clearly see that. If the covering or in worst-case scenarios, the wires themselves look frayed and damaged, it’s a ticking time-bomb. Live wires should not be exposed under any circumstances, so damaged and exposed live wires are most certainly signs of an emergency situation, which requires immediate, professional attention.
Even if you do not notice any of the signs mentioned here right away, getting a routine check from a licensed professional service is still advised. If you’re letting your house, an electrical safety certificate can provide you with peace of mind and professional assurance regarding the electrical safety.0