Can you imagine a world without electricity? Our world quite literally runs on electrical power and nowhere is this more true than in our homes. The average UK home spends an average of £58 per month on it – more than either our gas or broadband bills (the latter of which became a necessity only recently).
That’s why it’s so vitally important that the electrical systems in our homes are working properly – our lives quite literally run on electrical energy.
Not only that, but it’s also equally important that those systems are safe because all it takes is one loose or frayed wire and a rogue spark and you could have a devastating electrical fire on your hands.
To upgrade or not to upgrade?
Let’s not pull any punches here – upgrading the electrics in your home is not a simple task and it’s probably going to prove incredibly disruptive for at least a week, possibly more if it’s a decidedly difficult job.
But look at your electrical system as you would the circulatory system in your body – if there is a problem with one component it can harm the whole system.
In this metaphor, the central electrical panel is the heart of the system and it’s where you should always start your investigation. This is where power is distributed to the rest of the home and will also include the circuit breaker box, which is where your fuses will trip if a fault is detected anywhere in the system or it becomes overloaded.
As technology has progressed, the typical home has demanded more and more power. An electrical panel installed in the 70s, for example, simply wouldn’t be able to cope with the sheer amount of power required today.
If there is a problem with your panel then you don’t necessarily need to have your home rewired and whilst a new panel might not be a particularly cheap fix, it’s certainly a worthwhile one. This is particularly true if it’s more than a decade old.
You’ll know it’s time to replace your electrical panel with a more modern model if you notice the circuit breaker tripping regularly or lights dimming when multiple appliances are being used. These are telltale signs that the current panel is not fit for purpose.
However, if your panel is at least 25 years old and doesn’t trip at all then this could also be a problem, as it might mean that the circuit breakers are not tripping even during an overload.
Finally, you should always consider a panel upgrade when adding any appliance to your home that will draw significant power (such as an air-conditioning unit).
If getting an electric panel replaced is like a heart bypass then getting your home required is more like pulling everything out and starting from scratch. Old and faulty wiring can be incredibly dangerous and might not meet modern standards.
For example, if your wires are using cabling insulated with lead and coated with outdated rubber then they are most likely not going to meet modern safety standards.
Generally speaking, if the wiring in your home is more than 30 years old then it probably needs to be updated. Either way, you should arrange an inspection of your wiring by a fully registered electrician at least every 10 years.
Also, you shouldn’t need to see a rewiring job as just an inconvenience. Why not take the opportunity to add more switches for added convenience? If you’re planning on selling your home, a fresh rewire can also add significant value.
Finally, remember that whilst electricity might be incredibly useful, it’s also very dangerous. This is not a job you should carry out yourself. There is a time and a place for DIY and this is most certainly not it!