Many older homes in the US have electrical wiring that is not up to date according to the different local and state building codes. For the most part, this wiring is obsolete and may be a fire risk and a safety hazard for those living in the home. The National Electrical Code or NEC was originally established in 1896 to standardize the way in which homes were wired but it was not a binding law in all the states. Suffice it to say, it was oftentimes overlooked or ignored for many years.
As a result, all electricians today must follow the wiring guidelines and practices established in the NEC code. The bottom line is that upgrading the wiring in your home is purely a safety matter and helps to eliminate the potential for electrocution or starting a fire. Interestingly enough, there are other reasons to upgrade or retrofit the wiring in your home, one of which is to support newer technologies that have become extremely popular in recent years.
You can also look at the capabilities for handling these newer technologies if you are considering the purchase of a newly constructed home as well. So whether it is an older home or one that recently been built, upgraded wiring provides the homeowner with many technological benefits. If you are shopping for a newer home, you might want to see if there is audio wiring as well as Cat5 cable (Category 5 Ethernet cables) and Coax (coaxial cable) installed and ready to use.
On the other hand, if you are living in an older home and the electrical wiring is suspect, then a retrofit or upgrade of your current wiring is a wise idea. The potential for danger and fire risk can result from a number of factors. But the primary ones are ungrounded fuse boxes, 2 strand wiring with frayed sheathing, or exposed wiring connections. So you can readily see the inherent potential for a dangerous situation or the hazardous risks that can result from bad wiring in ones home. From old homes to new ones, all of the homes and offices require proper wiring and one of the leading reasons for fires is short circuits due to old and outdated wiring.
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Finally, the primary consideration before upgrading your wiring is whether you want to take it on as a DIY project yourself or if you would be better off hiring the services of a professional electrician to do the job. Always remember that electrical wiring is not childs play and requires a lot of knowledge to perform the job correctly, especially if you do not want to damage any of the walls in your home. If you are looking for professional help, it is best to search a local company that is insured, bonded and legit to perform all electrical work. You should browse online and get a free quote from a few services before signing up for upgrading the wiring in your home.
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The retrofitting of electrical wiring typically applies to upgrading older homes wiring during the renovation process in order to bring it up to current code and ensure the safety of those people living within the home.
In this case, we are talking about the addition of newer equipment or technologies to an older home without damaging any of the walls that the wiring is enclosed in. Retrofitting in this case could refer to upgrading the wiring, adding new energy efficient lighting, putting in speakers or a surround sound system, etc.
Why retrofit the wiring in older homes
Ironically, when the NEC (National Electrical Code) was passed in 1896 in order to standardize the safety of home and structural wiring practices, it was pretty much ignored until several years later. Technically, it is not a binding law in the states so the code was not followed at first and safer wiring practices were not adhered to. Today, electricians in every state in the country are required to conform to the guidelines and practices of the NEC.
In many cases, we have found that the wiring used in older homes and structures is now obsolete. This includes the components of the electrical system as well such as:
- Exposed wire connections
- Fuse boxes that are not properly grounded
- 2-strand home wiring with frayed sheathing
Any of the above or a combination of them put you and your family at risk of electrocution and are fire hazards as well. So if your older home is suspect where the electrical wiring is concerned, it is a matter of ensuring your personal safety by retrofitting the wiring system. It has been seen that most fires in homes and commercial buildings are due to faulty or old wiring and regular checks on electrical wiring are a must. Not only do you put your own self and family at risk but the adjoining buildings and homes are at risk too.
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Considerations where retrofitting electrical wiring is concerned
The primary reasoning for retrofitting electrical wiring once you consider the personal safety issue, is upgrading the wiring so that it will support newer technologies. Typically, retrofitting to accommodate these new technologies involves low voltage wiring. For instance, if you are retrofitting the wiring to accommodate audio and video systems, you should consider Cat5 cable (Category 5 Ethernet cables) and Coax (coaxial cables) for this.
But just remember that you are dealing with electrical wiring so if you are not confident in your own capabilities, you would be wise to hire the services of a professional electrician to retrofit the wiring in your home. They are aware of all the local codes and know the correct gauge of wiring that needs to be used.
With numerous professional electrician services that offer their services for retrofit the wiring, just ask your friends and family for recommendations, look in the local services directories or just browse online and select the best service that fits your budget and requirements.