Navigating the Labyrinth of Electrical Quirks in Older Homes

As the years march on, so do the electrical systems in our homes, often struggling to keep pace with modern demands. Older homes, while brimming with character and charm, can harbor a host of electrical issues, some of which may lurk unseen until they rear their sparking heads. Here's a guide to some of the most common electrical problems found in older houses and how to address them.

1. Outdated Wiring: Many older homes were built with knob-and-tube wiring or aluminum wiring, both of which can pose significant hazards. Knob-and-tube wiring lacks the protective insulation found in modern wiring systems, while aluminum wiring is prone to oxidizing overheating and fire hazards. The solution? Upgrading to modern copper wiring can enhance safety and accommodate the electrical demands of contemporary living.

2. Overloaded Circuits: With the proliferation of electronic devices and appliances, older electrical systems can easily become overwhelmed. Overloaded circuits can lead to tripped breakers, flickering lights, and even electrical fires. Redistributing loads across multiple circuits or installing additional dedicated outlets can alleviate strain on the system and enhance safety.

3. Faulty Outlets and Switches: Worn-out outlets and switches are not only inconvenient but also potentially dangerous. Loose connections and damaged wiring can increase the risk of electrical shocks and fires. Replacing outdated outlets and switches with modern, tamper-resistant models can mitigate these risks and improve functionality.

4. Inadequate Grounding: Proper grounding is essential for safeguarding against electrical faults and ensuring the effectiveness of surge protection devices. Older homes may lack sufficient grounding, leaving occupants vulnerable to electrical hazards. Installing ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and upgrading to grounded outlets can enhance safety and bring older electrical systems up to code.

5. Aging Appliances: Just as the infrastructure of older homes deteriorates over time, so too do the appliances they house. Aging appliances can draw more power than they should, leading to increased energy consumption and potential electrical issues. Regular maintenance and timely replacement of outdated appliances can prevent unnecessary strain on the electrical system and improve efficiency.

6. Inadequate Amperage: As the demand for electricity has grown over the years, older homes may struggle to keep up with modern power requirements. Inadequate amperage can result in overloaded circuits and frequent tripped breakers. Upgrading the electrical panel to accommodate higher amperage loads can alleviate these issues and ensure the smooth operation of household electronics.

7. Insufficient Insulation: Poor insulation around electrical wiring can increase the risk of electrical shorts and fires. Over time, insulation may degrade or become damaged, exposing wiring to potential hazards. Inspecting and replacing damaged insulation can mitigate these risks and enhance the safety of older electrical systems.

In conclusion, while older homes may exude charm and nostalgia, they often come with a set of electrical challenges that require attention and care. By identifying and addressing common issues such as outdated wiring, overloaded circuits, faulty outlets, inadequate grounding, aging appliances, insufficient amperage, and inadequate insulation, homeowners can ensure the safety, efficiency, and longevity of their electrical systems. Consulting with a qualified electrician and adhering to local building codes are essential steps in navigating the labyrinth of electrical quirks in older homes.


Choosing the Right Electrical Contractor: Essential Tips for Homeowners

Selecting the right electrical contractor for your home projects is crucial to ensure safety, quality workmanship, and peace of mind. Whether you're planning a major renovation, upgrading electrical systems, or need repairs, finding a reputable and qualified contractor is paramount. To help you navigate the selection process effectively, here are some essential tips to consider:

1. Verify Credentials and Licensing

Before hiring an electrical contractor, it's essential to verify their credentials and licensing. Ensure that the contractor holds the necessary licenses and certifications required by your state or local authorities to perform electrical work legally. Licensed contractors undergo rigorous training and adhere to industry standards, demonstrating their competence and professionalism.

2. Check Experience and Expertise

Assess the contractor's experience and expertise in handling projects similar to yours. Inquire about their track record and past projects, especially those involving installations, upgrades, or repairs comparable to your needs. An experienced contractor will have the knowledge and skills to tackle various electrical tasks efficiently and effectively, minimizing the risk of errors or safety hazards.

3. Request References and Reviews

Ask the electrical contractor for references from past clients or homeowners who have used their services. Contact these references to inquire about their experiences, satisfaction with the work performed, and overall professionalism of the contractor. Additionally, check online reviews and ratings on reputable platforms to gauge the contractor's reputation and customer feedback.

4. Ensure Proper Insurance Coverage

Verify that the electrical contractor carries adequate insurance coverage, including general liability insurance and workers' compensation insurance. Insurance protects both you and the contractor in the event of property damage, accidents, or injuries occurring during the project. Request proof of insurance and ensure that the coverage is current and sufficient for the scope of work.

5. Obtain Multiple Quotes and Estimates

Obtain quotes and estimates from multiple electrical contractors to compare pricing, scope of work, and project timelines. Avoid automatically choosing the lowest bidder, as excessively low prices may indicate subpar materials or workmanship. Instead, seek a balance between affordability and quality, considering factors such as reputation, experience, and warranty offerings.

6. Evaluate Communication and Professionalism

Pay attention to the contractor's communication style and professionalism during the initial consultation and throughout the project. A reputable contractor will communicate clearly, listen to your concerns, and provide transparent explanations of the proposed work and pricing. Prompt responses to inquiries and timely updates on project progress are indicative of professionalism and reliability.

7. Confirm Warranty and Guarantee Police’s

Inquire about the contractor's warranty and guarantee policies for the work performed and materials used. A reputable contractor should stand behind their workmanship and offer warranties to protect against defects or issues arising after project completion. Review the terms and conditions of the warranty carefully to understand your rights and responsibilities as a homeowner.

8. Trust Your Instincts

Ultimately, trust your instincts when selecting an electrical contractor for your home projects. Consider factors such as rapport with the contractor, confidence in their abilities, and overall gut feeling about their suitability for the job. Choose a contractor whom you feel comfortable working with and who instills trust and confidence in their expertise.

By following these essential tips, homeowners can navigate the process of choosing the right electrical contractor with confidence and ensure successful outcomes for their projects.



Whole Home Surge Protection

Cleanvolt surge protection is a patented Surge Arrester that protects electronic devices from power surges and other electrical disturbances, and diverts the everyday energy surges that are produced within a building's electrical system. 

A power surge can be caused by a lightning strike, power outage, or other sudden increases in electrical current that is caused by each household and business in typical daily activities. These surges can cause damage to electronic equipment, including computers, televisions, appliances and other devices. 

Cleanvolt surge protection is designed to divert excess electrical current away from these sensitive devices to ground, helping to protect the equipment and ensure it continues to function properly and to its intended lifespan

The fundamental purpose of a surge protection device is to attract energy surges and dissipate them so that no harm is done to the connected equipment that is associated with that surge protector. 

The issue with most surge protection technology is the limitations of the electronics that are used in their design, which does not reduce energy surges to an acceptable level that the equipment manufacturers require for optimal equipment lifespan and reliable operation.

When CLEAN-VOLT is installed in the same scenario, it becomes a more effective path for energy surges. CLEAN-VOLT has the ability to react within the timeframe required and attract the damaging energy surges within the electrical system.

Most surge protectors have a certain threshold and when they meet that threshold they degrade, making them less efficient over time to the point that they no longer have the capacity to protect your system properly.

CLEAN-VOLT patented technology has the ability to withstand years of surge abuse, and still operate as an effective  surge protection device while keeping daily surge events to within acceptable levels of equipment specifications.

Another key feature of Cleanvolt surge protection is its ability to filter out electrical noise. Electrical noise is a type of interference that can be caused by other electronic devices, as well as the electrical wiring in a building. By filtering out this noise, Cleanvolt surge protectors help ensure that electronic devices receive clean, stable power, which can help to extend their lifespan and improve their performance.

The benefits of installing Cleanvolt surge protection is its cost-effectiveness based on its performance. Suppressors (TVSS), like most surge devices on the market, are waiting to protect you from a big surge event (that may never happen) but fail to address the common daily energy surges caused by our electronics while on and equipment turning on and off.  This is why customers have a better result with the use of a Secondary Surge Arrester like CleanVolt as it is not just waiting for a large power surge but is also acting on these damaging day to day energy surges. This in turn will prevent downtime and lost productivity due to equipment failure, which can save businesses money in the long run.

In addition to protecting electronic devices, Cleanvolt surge protection can also provide peace of mind. Homeowners and businesses alike can rest assured that their valuable electronic equipment is protected from power surges and other electrical disturbances. Cleanvolt surge protectors have a 40 year lifetime warranty, providing further peace of mind for consumers.

Overall, Cleanvolt surge protection is an important investment for anyone who owns a home or business. With its ability to divert excess electrical current, filter out electrical noise, and protect electronic equipment from power surges and other electrical disturbances, Cleanvolt surge protection will extend the lifespan of electronic devices and provide peace of mind for homeowners and businesses alike.

At-home electrical safety tips
Use electricity safely at home


General tips

  • Always call a certified electrician to do any wiring in your home.
  • Call BC One Call at 1 800 474 6886 before digging in your yard.

Electrical panels, fuses, and outlets

  • If a fuse blows, turn off all appliances and lights that are on the circuit before changing the fuse.
  • Use a flashlight. Don't try to replace a fuse in the dark.
  • Replace a fuse with another that has an identical rating.
  • Loose fuses can overheat. If you have plug-type fuses, you should periodically check to make sure they're snug.
  • Never replace a fuse with a coin or other metal object.
  • Use ground fault circuit interrupters on all outlets located outdoors.

Cords, extension cords, and plugs

  • Pull the plug, not the cord, when disconnecting an electrical device.
  • Never remove a plug when your hands are wet, or if you’re touching a metal object.
  • The third prong of a plug exists for safety reasons. Do not break it off or bypass it.
  • Use only three-pronged extension cords outdoors.
  • Keep cords away from sources of heat and water.
  • Cords and plugs that show signs of wear or damage need to be replaced. Stop using them immediately.
  • Do not place a cord under a carpet, through a doorway, or anywhere that it could be stepped on.
  • Always use extension cords that are properly rated for the amount of electricity you'll be using.
  • Extension cords are intended for temporary use. If you need a permanent solution, call an electrician.
  • Coil up excess cord length and keep the coil intact with plastic ties or Velcro straps.
  • Use a certified power bar if you need to plug multiple items into an outlet.

Electrical devices, appliances, and power tools

  • Unplug the toaster before prying out that stuck toast.
  • Unplug your electrical gadgets when they're not in use.
  • Keep your electrical devices away from sources of water.
  • If you use an electric lawnmower, only cut the grass when it's dry and never when it’s raining.
  • Insist on appliances and tools that have been certified by the Canadian Standards Association (CSA) seal or another accredited Standards Council of Canada association.

Electricity safety near gas supply

  • If you smell gas don’t touch any electrical switches as it could cause a spark. Go outside and call FortisBC's 24-hour Emergency Line at 1-800-663-9911.
  • Always use qualified electricity and gas contractors to install your services and ask them to ensure the services are installed the right distance apart.
  • Make sure your services are inspected and maintained regularly. Don’t try any maintenance yourself, always use a qualified contractor.