5 Signs Your House Needs Rewiring

Time and wear and tear take a toll on homes and result in the need for maintenance or repairs, and your electrical wiring system is no exception.

Electrics in older houses can become compromised over time, putting both your property and your family in danger through the heightened risk of fire.

Electrical issues – often caused by defective wiring – are one of the main causes of house fires in Canada. Electrical fires in British Columbia are estimated to kill or injure 10 people a year.

To prevent serious problems developing with your home’s electrics, it’s advisable to stay one step ahead. The problem is, though, that much of your home’s electrical wiring is hidden behind walls or in spaces between floors, so it can be difficult to spot potential issues.

However, there may well be certain noticeable signs your house needs rewiring, and here we’ll look at the five most common.


  1. Flickering Lights

Flickering Lights

Lighting circuits tend to have a lower rating than outlet circuits, so they’re typically the first to show signs your house needs rewiring.

Lights can flicker or dim when the bulb isn’t properly connected or just needs changing. In some cases, though, the problem may be more serious, resulting from faulty wiring – particularly if lights are playing up throughout your home.

Wiring can deteriorate with time and cause problems with your lighting, especially outdated electrical systems such as aluminum wiring and knob-and-tube wiring, both of which are regarded by insurance companies as a fire hazard.


  1. You Have Aluminium Wiring or Knob & Tube Wiring

old wiring vancouver

If your home has aluminum wiring rather than copper wiring, it may be more susceptible to problems, including overheating where it has copper connections.

Aluminum wiring was popular from the mid-1960s to late 70s as the price of copper soared before technology made it more affordable to mine. According to safety experts, aluminum wiring in houses built before 1972 more than doubles the danger of fire at connection points.

You may be able to identify an aluminum wiring system by the letters AL, ALUM, or Aluminum, on the outer jacket of the cables at your electrical panel.

Signs of aluminum wiring issues include scorching and/or strange smells at outlets.

Knob & Tube wiring sometimes also call Open Wiring, can be found in houses built in the 50s or earlier. One main disadvantage is the absence of ground wire, so no electrical equipment or appliances with three-pronged plugs can be used, increasing the risk of fire and electrical shocks. However, just because the electrical wiring is old, doesn’t necessarily mean it is unsafe. Wear and tear can vary depending on excess usage and previous alterations.

It is highly recommended to have periodic inspections carried out by a certified electrician at least every 10 years for an owner-occupied home and five years for a rental unit or at the change of occupancy.

A qualified & honest electrician can properly assess if your home needs rewiring. When a property is older than 30 years old and has the original wiring, it will probably need some  updating to meet current standards


  1. Outlet Problems


Discolouration of outlets – and switches – can be an indication of a loose connection or a sign your house may need rewiring.

An outlet or switch can start to blacken or turn brown because of a loose connection causing electrical arcing that can spark a small fire resulting in surface singeing. The discolouration may also be accompanied by a burning smell. In cases like this, you should turn off the power and call an electrician immediately.

A further problem with outlets is that over time they can work loose from the wall, exposing wiring. This is extremely dangerous, and you’ll need a licensed electrician to repair or replace the outlet as a matter of urgency.

You may also need prompt, professional help if you notice a sizzling or buzzing sound when you plug in an appliance.


  1. You’re Getting Electric Shocks


Electric shocks – even a slight tingle – when plugging in an appliance are a major warning sign of a problem with your house’s wiring that needs immediate professional attention. You may also see electric sparks near your outlets.

There’s no such thing as “a safe shock”. Electrical shocks can cause burns and long-term issues such as numbness and even memory loss, and a severe shock can be deadly, resulting in extensive muscle contractions and respiratory and heart failure.


  1. Persistent Circuit Breaker Tripping

Circuit breakers are designed to trip as a safety measure to prevent overheating by shutting down the power supply if the system overloads – when a circuit exceeds the amperage it can cope with.

Circuits that often trip could be pointing to an issue with certain appliances. However, a breaker that trips persistently can be an indication of a serious problem and a sign your house needs rewiring or it’s time to replace your electrical panel.

In Vancouver, a new electrical panel has to be fitted by a licensed electrician to meet the standards of BC Hydro and Electrical Safety Codes.

5 Signs Your House Needs Rewiring

Keeping Your Family Out of Harm’s Way

Detecting indications of problems with your home’s wiring enables you to take action to safeguard your family from the potentially lethal hazards of fire and electric shock.

If you spot any signs your house may need rewiring, our qualified electricians at WireChief Electric can carry out an electrical safety inspection and risk assessment of your home to help you make an informed decision on whether your property requires professional attention to its electrics.

An experienced electrician can rewire your home to meet the highest safety standards and give you peace of mind that you, your family and your property are well protected against electrical dangers. Rewiring can be an opportunity to not only increase safety but also meet modern convenience – adding extra switches and outlets for kitchen appliances and new electronics.


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Flickering Lights: Should I Worry?

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