When renovating an older home, most people tend to look at what is visible to make their decision about where to start their renovations. However, it is often what is hidden that needs fixing first. Any electrician will tell you that fires in older homes are often caused by faulty wiring. Electrical wiring is just like anything else; it wears out over time and should be replaced.
In addition, older homes are often not sealed very well and this allows mice into the ceiling cavity where they can chew on the wiring. Once the plastic cover is gone the live wires are exposed, with sparks from the resulting short-out setting the framework on fire. Before you know it, the whole house has gone up in smoke.
Even without rodents chewing the wiring it can simply degrade, especially in locations that experience a very hot climate. Eventually the protective covering wears away, leaving live wires exposed to do their damaging work. Some really old homes have been found with large rings of blackened ash around burnt out wiring. These are the lucky ones that didn’t catch on fire for some unaccountable reason.
So if you are considering renovating an older home, or even one that is not so old, the first thing to do is call an electrician to examine the wiring. Once you get the okay, you’ll certainly have peace of mind about going ahead with other renovations. If it needs replacing, it is far better to spend your renovating dollar on that than to renovate something else and risk losing your home. It will certainly cost you more to replace the whole thing than to replace the wiring.
The trouble with losing your home to fire is that you will most likely lose all the contents of the home as well. You may even lose your car if you can’t get it out of the garage in time. And of course, you or your loved ones could lose their lives, or be badly burned. It’s much better not to take that risk.
Even homes that are not very old can have damaged wiring due to rodents or possums in the roof cavity, especially if the home has not been lived in for a while. It is also possible that some home renovator before you, climbed up there and tinkered with the wiring, leaving it in a dangerous state if he was not trained to do the work.
Only a fully trained and qualified electrician should be allowed to do anything with electrical wiring. It can be the hidden danger in every home, but if it is taken care of properly and checked every so often, there is no danger at all.