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Philadelphia, PA

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You May Need an Electrician

The electrical box is where electricity from the grid connects to your home. Your breaker box divides up the electrical source from here to different rooms and areas of your home. This is merely the basics of your home electrical system. While most people know how to turn a breaker switch back on when it has flipped, not very many homeowners understand the importance how old the wiring in their home is, current regulations regarding the wiring, and the potential of losing their home to fire because of an old fuse box.

The first question you should ask yourself is “How old is my home?” Older homes are in more danger of fire hazards than newer homes, simply because of the electrical system. Insurance companies usually will not insure homes that they know have the old porcelain knob circuitry and old faulty wiring in general. This is like having kindling and a spark behind your walls and it won't take very much load to cause a fire.

The problem that insurance companies have is that the home inspector is not allowed to tear up your walls for any reason, not for termites, leaks, or checking the wiring. As such, a home inspector cannot say for certain that a particular home has a particular grade of wiring. However, if you have 2-pronged outlets rather than 3-pronged it is a definitive sign that the wiring is very old.

Fifteen years ago, new regulations were imposed across America requiring that a home electrical box must be attached outside the home. This was done partly by fire departments. It was proven that it was better to have the electrical panel on the exterior of the home so that when fire fighters arrive at a home that is on fire, they can quickly shut off the electricity to the house. As a result, homes that are 12 to 15 years old or less have exterior breakers.

What this means for many, since the average age of homes across the country is 44 years old, is that the majority of homes in the country need an electrical upgrade to carry the average load in these technologically dependant times.
Regardless of whether your electrical box is inside or outside, you need to realize that the wiring and electrical panel in older homes were designed for very low loads. If your home is 20 years old, it originally probably had a fridge, a TV, washer/dryer, water heater, HVAC unit, a microwave, and dishwasher. If it is 35 years old, there were no microwaves when it was built. The amount of load that the typical home's fuse box could carry back then was enough to manage, even with the addition of more televisions and a microwave.

If your home was built 50 years ago, it might be struggling just to handle the addition of a TV and a microwave, in addition, your home is also struggling to handle multiple TVs, CD players, DVD/VHS players, computers, and printers, not to mention coffee makers, coffee grinders, game systems, blenders, food processors, paper shredders, and the list goes on.

Upgrading Your Electrical System

It cannot be stressed enough the importance of getting older homes electrical
boxes upgraded. If you have a fuse box, this is an absolute must. This is won’t be the type of home improvement that you will show off to anyone, but increasing the load to your electrical panel will allow you to show off your home for a long time to come. If you don’t update your breaker box however, all it takes is a little bad luck to start a big fire that could destroy your entire home.
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