Buying an older home offers a lot of benefits. Many of them are much sturdier and don’t use the cheaper materials that some of today’s homes use. However, over time, parts will need to be replaced and updated to keep up with current codes. Before taking the plunge and making an offer, take a look at the electrical in the home and take note of any warning signs.
While most newer homes have an adequate power supply to the rooms and enough electrical outlets, older homes may not. Take a look around and see if there are any extension cords moving from room to room. This may be a sign that the home may not have enough outlets to meet your needs. Adding extension cords and overusing the outlets can put a strain on the electrical system and could lead to a fire.
Ensure that there are no exposed wires in the home, as those are also a serious fire hazard. Ask to see above the garage and near ceilings to see if there may have been any spliced wires. This is when the previous owner may have tried to connect wires themselves using either electrical tape or wire connectors. While this isn’t a deal-breaker necessarily, it will be important to bring in a contractor to fix these issues.
The age of the home may also give a good clue whether or not there may be issues. Knob and tube wiring was most commonly used in homes built between 1900 and 1950. This is an older type of wiring that doesn’t handle the electrical needs of homes today. Be aware that many home insurance companies will require that this be updated to a modern electrical panel in order to insure the home. Again, just be aware that there may be some additional cost to update the home.
Somebody qualified to inspect the home should also take a look at the outlets and make sure that none of them have any cracks, and check if they are all grounded correctly. Also, test them to see if they have the correct amount of tension to hold whatever is plugged into them, and that the type of outlet is appropriate for the room. For example, the kitchen requires specialized outlets that can handle the number of appliances being run.
Additionally, a good inspector will check to see if there may be aluminum wiring in an older home. This is not up to current code and would need to be redone to make the home safe and able to handle modern electrical needs. Checking the panel to make sure that it is also up to modern code is important as well.
None of these would make any home a bad purchase, but it would be important to factor in the cost to repair these problems into the price of the home. You may consider making an offer to the current owner at a lower price and explain that it is because you will need to fix the faulty electrical work.