As many as 30% of electrical fires in the United States are caused by poorly insulated electrical wires, a 2008 U.S. Fire Administration study found. Most often, such fires occur in homes that are 50 or more years old. If you live in an older home, rewiring or other updates may be necessary, but not always. Many wiring problems emerge over time, making it hard to know when electrical repairs are needed.

electrical diagnostic tool with diagram

When Should I Consider Rewiring My House?

Wear and tear can take a toll the older your house is. There are several ways to know that rewiring is the best option:

  • Aluminum wiring was installed: Aluminum wires are prone to overheating when their connections fail. Millions of homes built between 1965 and 1973 are thought to have them. Copper wiring is the safer option. To determine which type you have, look for the letters “AL” on the wire jacket; this means it’s made of aluminum.
  • The circuit breaker often trips: A circuit breaker can trip if an appliance overheats or there is faulty wiring. The circuit may be overloaded by electrical current it’s not designed for. If you can’t explain why a breaker is tripping or fuses are blowing, checking for bad wiring is a good idea.
  • Problems with outlets: If an electrical outlet is loose or falling out of the wall, it can expose wiring—a very dangerous situation. Sizzling or buzzing sounds that start when you plug something in are a sign of a serious problem. Contact a Los Angeles electrician to assess the issue right away.
  • An outlet/switch is charred or discolored: Nearby wiring may be faulty or there might be a loose connection, which can cause an arc or spark. If you see charring or discoloration, a small fire has already occurred. Assume something worse is imminent and call a professional for help.
  • Electrical shocks: Even if you feel a slight tingle when you plug in an electrical appliance, there’s a serious issue. A stronger, even deadly, shock may come next. Move away from the outlet and call the best electrician you can find right away.
  • An unidentified burning smell: If you smell something burning and can’t identify the source, chances are there’s an electrical short. This may be affecting a wire inside the walls. You won’t necessarily see any changes on the surface, such as a discolored outlet. Turn off the circuit and call for help.
  • The lights are flickering: A telltale sign of a wiring problem, flickering or dimming lights throughout your home should be taken very seriously. An electrician should troubleshoot the problem if the issue isn’t a loose or faulty bulb. 

If your home hasn’t had an electrical inspection, or if there’s no record of electrical service from a previous owner, get the wiring checked. Consult a professional to see if rewiring is necessary, especially if you experience any of the warning signs explained above. And, no matter what, don’t try a rewiring job yourself. It’s simply too dangerous without the right experience, training, and equipment.

Call Express Electrical Services Today

A Los Angeles Electrician trusted since 1982, Express Electrical Services is committed to keeping customers’ homes and families throughout Southern California safe. We are available in Los Angeles, Orange, and Riverside Counties. Our technicians provide all types of electrical repairs and are available 24/7 for emergencies; they can be at your home in 60-90 minutes. If your house needs to be rewired, contact us and request service right away.