How do you know when your electrical wiring needs replacing?

Your electrical wiring is the lifeblood of your property, delivering power to your sockets and appliances so you can seamlessly connect, play, cook, and relax. So what happens when something goes wrong? And how do you know when electrical wiring needs repair or replacement?

Whether you’re renovating an old property, or you’re upgrading the home you currently live in, how do you know if the wiring is safe or needs to be replaced?

There are many factors that impact the degradation of your electrical wiring, including the installation, and whether there’s been any damage to the sheathing or modifications made to the house over time.

There aren’t any set guidelines about when to replace wiring in Australian properties, but as residential electricians, we know there are some serious warning signs to watch out for, especially in older properties.

Switchboard wiring

How long does electrical wiring last in a home?

Electrical wiring can last a long time, but this is heavily dependent on the initial installation, materials, and usage.

Wiring can last from 50-70 years, but over time the insulation may erode.

So if you’re buying a property that’s over 25 years old, it’s important to check that the wiring is working properly with a formal inspection. If you already own a property and it’s more than 25 years old, it’s likely that you’ll need to redo parts of the wiring.

Old wiring isn’t easy to identify on your own – in very old properties, improvements may have been made over time, but the overall integrity of the wiring may still pose problems or safety risks.

How often do I need to have the electrics checked?

Most building contractors and accreditation bodies suggest regular checks to a property’s electrical switches, sockets, and other accessories at least every 10 years in owner-occupied properties, and every 2 years in renter-occupied properties (new rental laws came into effect in Victoria in March 2021; see more here).

The thorough and regular checks ensure the building remains safe and you’re mitigating any risk of electrical fires.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a new property or you’re able to start major renovations, make sure you have a professional electrician thoroughly check your property’s wiring. They can ensure it will cope with the demands from modern living, including larger and more appliances.

When should you replace the wiring in your home?

Is your power frequently tripping? Are you seeing or smelling smoke or burning from your power sockets? Has your home suffered damage from rodents or pests? These are some of the most serious warning signs that the wiring in your property needs to be inspected (more on these below).

Prokop Electrical’s highly experienced team of electricians can come and check your property’s wiring and conduct a thorough inspection.

Whatever the issue, they’ll talk you through the best way to fix it and the costs involved. It can be tough as a homeowner to have to decide whether you need to rewire a property, but we’re here to help you and guide you through the process.

Residential electricians

What are the signs your property may need to be rewired?

Is your electricity frequently tripping?

If the power trips regularly in your property, this may be a sign that there’s a problem with the wiring.

When the power cuts out, your safety switch is doing what it was designed to do – it turns the power off because the system is overloaded or there is fault.

If the safety switch is frequently being tripped it could be a sign that there is a deeper, potentially dangerous, problem within your property or switchboard wiring.

It may be overwhelmed with too many high-energy demanding devices or appliances, which can be dangerous if the wiring is old and definitely something to watch out for.

Do you hear buzzing?

The humming of electricity isn’t something you should hear with safe wiring. If you can hear buzzing sounds from sockets, light switches, or when you plug in an appliance, don’t ignore this serious warning sign.

The best thing to do is book an appointment with an electrician as soon as possible.

If you can, listen out for buzzing or the low level hum of electricity and inform your electrician: where is it coming from? Is it happening only with a certain appliance, or in one part of the home in particular?

Are the lights flickering?

Flickering lights could be a sign that the wiring needs to be replaced, especially if the lights flicker when you use other appliances.

Do any of your lights dim or flicker regularly?

If a light bulb or LED light is flickering it might be that the bulb needs to be replaced, but if the problem persists, we’d always suggest an electrician checks for loose connections as soon as possible because flickering lights – particularly old, overheating incandescent globes – have the potential to cause electrical fires.

Has a rodent chewed on the wires?

Chewed wires are a potent fire hazard. Mice, rats, possums or other rodents chew on any wires that get in their way.

The exposed cables can cause short circuits, and in some cases the sparks catch on other building materials and cause fires.

If you suspect your property has chewed wires, contact Prokop’s electricians – we can help you understand how extensive the problem is and talk you through the solutions to once again restore safety and functionality to your home.

Is there smoke or burning from the outlets?

If you can smell burning, or there’s smoke from an electrical outlet or a switch – this is an urgent issue.

Smoke means fire damage may have already begun so it is important you have an electrician inspect and fix the problem urgently.

Are the power outlets warm or vibrating?

Do you feel a buzzing, light vibration or any warmth from power sockets, outlets or switches? Like the warning signs of a fire, buzzing means there’s likely an exposed cable or damaged wire that needs to be fixed.

How do I check for electrical problems in my house?

If you have any of the warning signs listed, including smoke, buzzing, flickering lights, and regular tripping of your power, we urge you to get in touch with your local electricians.

From routine inspections to repairs and replacement, or electrical maintenance services restore safety and functionality to your home.

In most cases, we can isolate and fix the specific issue, as long as the damage isn’t too extensive. Checking electrical problems or poking around with your wiring isn’t something you can DIY.

For safety reasons, we always advise an electrician to visit your property and check the issue for you.

If you need help with your electrical wiring in Melbourne, Prokop is here to help! Give us a call today on 0437 766 770 or reach out to us online and we will get back to you shortly.