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Electrical Safety for Old Home Electrical Wiring

I just moved into an OLD house, can I plug a 1200 watt appliance into an outlet without burning the house down? Electrical Safety for Old Home Electrical Wiring.

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Electrical Safety
Electrical Question: I just moved into an Old House, can I plug a 1200 watt appliance into an outlet without burning the house down?

My electrical wiring project involves Electrical Safety in the of a Very Old Home.

I just moved into an OLD (about 1899) 1,920 square feet house with 110 wiring. I honestly do not believe that it hasn’t been upgraded but maybe once, back in the 1950’s or 60’s. Until I can upgrade to this century (pun intended) can I plug a 1200 watt appliance into an outlet without burning the house down? As of now, all I have plugged in the entire house is five light bulbs, two to three TVs and one half working refrigerator.


This electrical wiring question came from P, a Homeowner in New York, New York.

Dave’s Reply:
Thanks for your electrical wiring question P.

Electrical Safety in an Older Home

Application: Electrical Safety for an Old Home.
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced – Best performed by a Licensed Electrical Contractor, or Certified Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Basic Electricians Pouch Hand Tools, Voltage Tester, and appropriate Safety Gear.
Estimated Time: Depends on the personal level experience, ability to work with tools, install electrical circuit wiring, and the available access to the project area.
Electrical Safety: Identify the electrical power source to the Outlet, turn it OFF and Tag with a Note before working with the electrical wiring.
Electrical Wiring Parts and Materials: Electrical parts and materials for the Outlet should be approved for the specific project and compliant with local and national electrical codes.
Electrical Codes and Inspections: Installing or changing home electrical wiring should be done according to local and national electrical codes as adopted in New York, New York. A permit and inspections may also be required.

Electrical Safety for Old Home Electrical Wiring

This electrical wiring project is about Electrical Safety in a Very Old Home.

Hi P., Great Questions!
I understand your concerns about old electrical wiring in your house, so here are a few things for you to consider:

Smoke Detectors
Make sure the home has smoke detectors installed in all of the areas as required by NEC Code.

GFCI Outlets
Make sure GFCI Outlets are installed in areas where required, such as the kitchen, bathrooms, and exterior areas. When installed properly GFCI Outlets will protect against Ground Fault even if there is not a ground wire with the circuit wiring of the existing outlets.

ARC Fault Circuit Breakers
If the electrical system has circuit breakers then consider installing ARC Fault circuit breakers for circuits in the areas of concern. ARC Fault circuit breakers will trip off if electrical arcing is detected on the circuit, and this can help prevent fires where there is old wiring or failing electrical connections.

Electrical Panel Upgrade
If the home has an old type fuse panel then plan to upgrade to a new electric service panel with circuit breakers. If a fuse blows make sure to replace it with the correct size fuse. Installing a fuse that has a higher amperage rating can cause the circuit wiring to overheat which can lead to a house fire.

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