House Hunting? Pay Attention to Outdated Wiring
By John Voket
Spring is here and home buying is in full bloom. I want to gently remind you that while "curb appeal" may attract you, it's the "guts" that should play a key role in determining whether or not a home is a good buy.
According to Ed Ingalls of Newington Electric Company, most people have no idea how dangerous wiring problems may be in a potential new home, even if they hire a home inspector.
Ingalls notes that about 80 percent of homes he sees have some level of outdated wiring. Whether buying a new home or assessing an existing home, there are red flags that wiring should be updated such as:
- An electric meter located in the basement
- Old, outdated fuse system
- Frayed or deteriorated main electrical cable outside of the house
- Rusted electrical meter box on the outside of your house
- Lights that flicker on and off or go dim
- Rusted and corroded grounding wire attached to the water meter
- Two prong outlets vs. three pronged grounding type electrical outlets
- Blowing fuses or tripping circuit breakers
Other warning signs that a home's electrical system needs attention include:
- Flickering lights, tripping circuit breakers or blowing fuses
- You hear the sound of electricity, such as buzzing, sizzling or zapping
- The circuit breaker panel or fuse panel in the basement is rusty
- Water dripping from your electrical panel when it rains
- Two prong outlets in the wall instead of three prong grounding type
- If you don't have GFI outlets (ground fault interrupters) in the kitchen or bathroom
- If you use extension cords to run your appliances or lights
Ingalls says all homes need to have at least a 100 amp service and may even need 200 or even 400 amp upgrades to accommodate wiring for today's appliances.
For instance, a modern household with normal everyday appliances would require a 100-amp service minimum, but a household that had a few additional items such as a hot tub and/or air conditioning would most likely need a minimum of 200 amps.
Ingalls further notes that most banks, lending institutions and insurance companies will require a homeowner to upgrade the electrical system before buying or selling a house. In doing so, it may also reduce one's homeowner's insurance.
Reprinted with permission from RISMedia. ©2013. All rights reserved.