Older Home Electrical Wiring Problems
Working with Older Home Electrical Wiring: What To Do When an Inspection Reveals Older Home Electrical Wiring Problems.
Older Home Electrical Wiring Problems
Electrical Question: I bought a 5 year old house here in Southeast MO, in a county with no building codes or inspectors.
- Looking at the wiring, all 120volt breakers in the panel are 20A and all cable leaving the panel is 12 AWG as expected.
- All of the receptacles that I have inspected are also wired with 12 AWG; however several lights are wired with 14 AWG.
- I have never seen this done elsewhere. Since no individual light circuit draws much current, this works fine, but it just does not seem correct.
- Do you see this as a problem?
This electrical wiring question came from: Joe, a Homeowner from Poplar Bluff, MO.
Thanks for your electrical wiring question Joe.
Working with Older Home Electrical Wiring
Application: Upgrading Older Home Electrical Wiring
Skill Level: Intermediate to Advanced. This electrical project is best performed by a Licensed Electrician.
Electrical Tools Required: Electricians Pouch of Hand Tools for Rough-In Wiring, Electric Drill and Auger Bits, Extension Cords, and Ladders.
Construction Safety: All personal safety measures must be taken when performing remodel projects where you may come into contact with hazardous materials and environmental contaminants such as fiberglass insulation, vermiculite and asbestos, molds or mildew, as well as dust.
Estimated Time: Depends on the extent of the project, the type of wall coverings and structural construction and available access to the project area.
Precaution: Any existing wiring in the immediate area that may interfere with the installation should be identified and turned OFF and Tagged.
Notice: Installing additional electrical wiring or upgrading existing electrical circuits and wiring should always be done according to local and national electrical codes with a permit and be inspected.
What To Do When an Inspection Reveals Older Home Electrical Wiring Problems
- This definitely is not correctly wired because all of the circuit wire should be the same gauge.
- Is older home electrical wiring a potential problem? Well that depends on how large the light fixture loads will actually be.
- In an instance such as this the circuit breaker should be replaced by a 15 amp circuit breaker or one which is sized to the smallest wire size that is found on within the circuit.
- Replacing and upgrading old electrical wiring and bringing it up to current code compliance is definitely recommended.
More about Upgrading Older Home Electrical Wiring
- House Wiring Circuits and Circuit Breakers
- This article looks at common 120 volt and 240 volt house wiring circuits and the circuit breakers that are installed identifying the types and amperage sizes used in most homes.
- Electric Circuit Listing
- The size of the home electrical service panel is designed by calculating the square footage of the home and factoring in the code requirements for the electrical circuits that are required.
- Electrical Wiring Protection using Circuit Breakers
- A guide to home electrical circuit breakers and how they work to protect your electrical wiring. When properly installed, your home electrical wiring is protected by a circuit protection device.
Electrical Wire for the Home
Complete listing of electrical wire types and parts used for home projects with electrical code information serves as selection guidelines.
- Electrical Code Articles
- Electrical Code Directory covering AFCI circuit, electrical-boxes, electrical-circuit, electrical-code-outlets, electrical GFCI, electrical-grounding, electrical-project, electrical-services, electrical-underground, electrical-wiring, electrical-wiring-code, lighting-code, smoke-detector,
For more information about Home Wiring
- Home Wiring
- Basic Home Wiring Diagrams with Pictures
The following may also be helpful for you:
Be Careful and Be Safe - Never Work on Energized Circuits!
Consult your Local Building Department about Permits and Inspections for all Electric Wiring Projects.
The Safest Way to Test Electrical Devices and Identify Electric Wires!The Non-Contact Electrical Tester
This is a testing tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and is the first test tool I grab to help identify electrical wiring. It is a Non-contact tester that I use to easily Detect Voltage in Cables, Cords, Circuit Breakers, Lighting Fixtures, Switches, Outlets and Wires. Simply insert the end of the tester into an outlet, lamp socket, or hold the end of the tester against the wire you wish to test. Very handy and easy to use.
The Quickest Way to Check for Faulty Electrical Wiring!The Plug-In Outlet Tester
This is the first tool I grab to troubleshoot a problem with outlet circuit wiring. This popular tester is also used by most inspectors to test for power and check the polarity of circuit wiring.
It detects probable improper wiring conditions in standard 110-125 VAC outlets Provides 6 probable wiring conditions that are quick and easy to read for ultimate efficiency Lights indicate if wiring is correct and indicator light chart is included Tests standard 3-wire outlets UL Listed Light indicates if wiring is incorrect Very handy and easy to use.
Strip Off Wire Insulation without Nicking and Damaging the Electric Wire!The Wire Stripper and Wire Cutter
My absolute favorite wire stripping tool that I have had in my personal electrical tool pouch for years, and this is the tool I use to safely strip electrical wires.
This handy tool has multiple uses:
The wire gauges are shown on the side of the tool so you know which slot to use for stripping insulation.
The end of the tool can be used to grip and bend wire which is handy for attaching wire onto the screw terminals of switches and outlets..
The wire stripper will work on both solid and stranded wire. This tool is Very Handy and Easy to Use.
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My parents have a very old house where the two wires that run to the outlets and switches are both wires. How do I wire an outlet or switch.
A non-conductive voltage tester is great for identifying the black wire of the power source in a case such as this. Another method is to use a standard voltage tester where one of the tester leads is connected to a grounded source, or an extension cord ground prong when the extension cord is plugged into a grounded outlet.
I hope this helps,
When it rains in my area the power to an outdoor outlet goes out for a couple of days. Could the wiring be getting wet?
If electrical wiring or electrical components get wet from rain or any moisture then the electricity can use the moisture as a path to the earth or a ground source. Electricity will travel or flow using the least path of resistance, including water. This is a dangerous condition that could be a potential shock hazard that should be corrected. The solution would be to inspect the wiring and devices in the affected area and correct any sub-standard wiring that is not compliant to current electrical codes, and make sure that moisture proof circuit components are used. Above all, proper GFCI protection should be installed.
Be Careful and Be Safe!