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Dangers Of Old Electrical Wiring Types In Your Home

Old electrical wiring that has not been inspected by a qualified Level 2 Electrician and approved to be safe is extremely risky and dangerous. This is because older systems, such as VIR cables and black rubber cables, are more prone to be damaged and wear down as time passes. The NSW Fire and Rescue department says that over 40% of home fires are caused by older and faulty electrical systems. The Local Electrician encourages that electrical safety inspections are completed annually to ensure that, for older systems, it is safe to live in older homes and that all of our clients can trust their property’s electrical systems all year-round.

The main dangers with old electrical wiring systems include:

  • Overloaded electrical circuits due to more extension cords needed
  • Poor and old insulation for electricity
  • The abscess of grounding systems
  • Loose and damaged electrical wires
  • Wiring that is poorly modified and connected
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Signs of Old Wiring Systems

Homes built more than thirty to forty years ago are more than likely to have issues with the wiring system. The older the home and no inspections, the higher chance of the wiring system is really unsafe and ruined. These signs can indicate that the home may need to have inspection as soon as possible:

  • No grounding system included in the home
  • Burning smells coming from electrical devices
  • Switch plates and outlets are discoloured and are warm when touched
  • The insulation is cracked, damaged or missing wires and shows exposed wires
  • Any splices that are wrapped in modern electrical tape, meaning they were not soldered
  • Lights dimmer and flicker quite often, specially when it is windy
  • Any wiring which is surrounded by some building insulation
  • The circuit or fuse breakers becomes tripped on a frequent basis

Knob and Tube Wiring Systems

Older homes built in the 1940s and earlier are more than likely to have knob and tube wiring systems. This type of wiring in your home is extremely outdated and if it has not been checked it can be really unsafe. As a result of being a wiring system with insulation tubes and knobs but no grounding systems is why it is hazardous.

The wiring itself is not unsafe but the fact that the ground faults are not present is what breaks safety standards. It is advised to inspect the home and more than likely have some grounding system installed if replacing the system completely is not possible. These are crucial for preventing accidents and deaths so having them inspected to see if they are present is a must. 

Minimal Electrical Outlets Present

Older homes will usually have a smaller number of outlets around the home. As a result, to meet the need for the amount of electrical appliances wanting to be plugged in, extension cords are often used. However, the older homes were built to support the lower amperage usage of the time.

But now since technology has advanced and more appliances are needed, the old systems cannot keep up. With the circuit increase in the home, the old system may overload and therefore can lead to a fire. Making sure that new and proper outlets are updated to the modern rules and regulations is important. An inspection will determine how many are needed and if the current ones need to be removed or upgraded.

Poor Insulation and Old Insulation

Insulation will deteriorate after some time no matter which system of wiring is present. With modern wiring it will last a significantly longer, however, older insulation will deteriorate quicker. Additionally, animals and other sources of damage can also have the insulation become less strong and viable.

Due to the old age or poor quality of the insulation, it is extremely unsafe and is a fire hazard. This is because the wire is opened, meaning it can cause a fire from shocks and sparks. If an animal or person happens to contact the open wire, shock and death may occur, as well as triggering an electrical fire.

Grounding Systems

Grounding systems are what protect the electrical appliances and people in a home from electrical surges. They detect the surges almost immediately and will shut off electricity to stop further and severe damage from occurring.

However, older homes will often not have these important systems installed throughout. As a result, the place is more prone to being extremely devastated from electrical surges. Moreover, people are more likely to receive painful shocks or die from the surges and appliances can be completely destroyed.

Exposed, Tapped and Damaged Wires

Within older homes, the reason why there can be many instances of wiring faults and electrical shorts is because of faulty wiring. Specifically loose, altered and damaged wires that are also exposed will cause these issues to happen. The chance for burns, fires and fatal accidents can happen if the wires are exposed and untouched for too long.

Poorly Connected and Modified Wiring Systems

After many years of electrical work in the home, especially if it occurred in earlier years, there is a chance that faulty jobs happened. If this is the case, there may be a lot of unsecured connections to wiring around the home. Proper inspections are important because if there are connections or modifications with wiring that is poorly done, it can lead to fires and other accidents.

Old VIR Cables

VIR (Vulcanised Indian Rubber) cables are one of the most common wiring systems installed in Australian homes. They are made up of a tinned conducted rubber and have started to become outdated as they were installed in thousands of Aussie homes between 1910 to 1950. This is of a significant concern to housing occupants, because as old VIR cables age, they can easily become a significant electrical hazard. Some risks that are associated with old electrical VIR wiring include electrocution and the potential for starting a fire within your home. It is always recommended, that if you are aware that you house currently has VIR cables, you should contact a local electrician to assess their age and condition. The Local Electrician offers electrical safety inspections and also specialises in VIR cable rewire for all our Sydney clients!

Old Black Rubber Cabling

Black rubber cabling and sheathed rubber cabling are a relatively modern cable. However, as black rubber cables age, the rubber insulation that surrounds the wiring eventually becomes brittle and can completely fall off. This poses another fire and electrocution risk to your property and needs to be immediately replaced and rewired if there are exposed wires within your house. It is advised that if your home has black rubber cabling, that you immediately book an annual wiring inspection for electrical repairs to maintain further deterioration of your electrical systems.

Licensed L2 Electricians for Rewiring & Electrical Inspections

The Local Electrician highly recommends using our level two electrical contractors for proper electrical safety inspections and old electrical rewiring. Our Level 2 asp team are trained to work in all buildings and suburbs of Sydney for inspection services and can handle any wiring system from VIR cables to black rubber cables. This is particularly important for older homes as we can see if there are any problems with the electrical wiring. A l2 electrician is exactly who to hire when you need a proper inspection as they are qualified and trained to do so.


The Local Electrician inspects all ages of homes in all Sydney suburbs. If you want a reliable and affordable electrician, then call us now on 0439 823 1… or email us at info@thelocalelectrician.com.au for our electrical services. Additionally, if needing immediate inspections on the home, our Emergency Electrician resources can be called 24/7 for inspection at all times. Using our electrical services for old electrical wiring is extremely important in maintaining you and your family’s health and safety.

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