We own an old home, early 1900's from what we've heard. The wiring was
apparently updated at least once as we have 3 prong outlets
throughout, ceiling fixtures in all the rooms, etc.
However, we have some breakers that blow fairly often and lights
dimming from other appliances running, that type of thing.
We have considered having the house rewired but don't know if that's
necessary. We've lived here 17 years and have always been leary of the
wiring. We do on occasion have problems with mice (we're in a rural
area) and I'm always worried that they've been chewing the wiring. I
think we're just afraid of what we can't see, what the wiring's like
behind the sheetrock.
How does an electrician even tell if the wiring is safe aside from the
electrical box and I guess it's called the load that it's expected to
Can anyone give me some guidance before I start having people give me
We replaced all of the light fixtures and outlets ourselves so I know
Re-wiring is a rather all inclusive term. Thee should be no reason to
re-wire if the existing wire is deemed to be in good condition. You may,
however, need some updating.
You want to check what size service you have coming into the house. Most
homes today have 100 amp service, but years ago, 30 amp was considered
adequate. Then 60 was the norm. Look at the meter and the main panel.
Does the big main breaker say how many amps? If less than 100, you want to
update. There is also an inspection sticker that has the date it was
approved. That will tell you just how old it is.
Dimming is caused by a heavy load on one circuit. It can happen if an air
conditioner kicks on or an iron heats up. It should not be bothered if
another light is turned on. You may need more service or you may want to
break down some of the circuits that exist.
I don't know about mice. I've heard stories, but have not seen any results
I had a mouse chew through some romex in a cabinet. The result was
sufficient to vaporize half the mouse. Since there were paper napkins in
the cabinet, it could have been much worse. (though cleaning up a vaporized
mouse is bad enough)
If it can happen in a cabinet, it can happen in a wall.
A visual inspection beginning at the service entrance and continuing
throughout the house would be a start. Next would be crawling around in the
attic looking for damage from rodents and inspecting the wiring visible in
the basement. Another thing to do would be to open up some switches and
outlets and see the condition of the feeders. An electrician could also put
an ammeter on the circuits that have been tripping out to see what the
actual load is. It is also possible to have someone in to test the wiring
and get a written report, but that could be expensive and the money would be
better spent on rewiring. It is also possible to have someone come in with
a fiber optic inspection camera who would drill some small holes and peer
into your walls. That is also expensive and probably won't turn up much
more than a visual inspection.
A quick visual inspection and determination would be free. Everything else
would be an hourly rate. I can usually get an idea of the overall age of
the wiring and its condition from looking in the basement and the service
entrance and main panel. Also a visual inspection of the water meter and
the main grounding conductor connection is important. Another visual
indicator is the overall condition of the house. Houses that have recurring
water or moisture problems are likely to have rusted armored cables and
junction boxes. Homes without many outlets may have a lot of extension
cords in use. Houses that have been wired by homeowners tend to have
obvious indicators regarding that (Small junction boxes, boxes not mounted
properly and without covers, ground wires not connected or improperly
connected, sloppy wiring runs, switches and outlets that do odd functions,
wires hanging out, lack of code compliance, etc).
If the circuits that have been tripping circuit breakers contain any heavy
duty appliances, then those appliances may need a separate circuit.
If rodents chewing on wires is a problem, then you could request that the
electrician install armored cable instead of plastic jacketed NM.
email@example.com (lorraine) wrote in
One thing to look for. Are the wires plastic jacketed, or paper
jacketed? If they are like a black woven covering....I would definately
suggest upgrading. The paper on the wires will crack over time, exposing
the bare wire. Rodent damage is very possible. I re-wired an old house
once, that still had the exposed, two-wire insulator mounted wiring.
I've run upon many homes with the old paper clad wiring in them, it
usually doesn't take long to find a deteriorated section, especially if
it's in a vibration-prone area.
You can't 'idiot proof' anything....every time you try, they just make
Your kidding,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, right.
how can we see what is happening from here. You are less than specific on
Any advice from an remote source could be dangerous.....
Consult a local professional;
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