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Common electrical risks in older homes and buildings

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As homes and buildings age, their electrical systems can become outdated – particularly for those built before 1980.

They may not have electrical systems that can support modern technology’s electrical needs that can cause risks.

In this blog post, our emergency electrician will cover the common electrical hazards found in older properties.

After reading this blog, you’ll understand how to recognise the signs of electrical problems and what to do in an emergency. Let’s get into it!

Recognise the signs: common electrical problems in older homes

It’s important to recognise early warning signs of electrical issues, particularly in older properties.

Address these signs quickly and treat them with urgency, as they may suggest a potentially dangerous situation!

Frequent circuit breaker trips

Frequent tripping often occurs when too many appliances draw power from a single source, overloading the circuits.

This usually means there’s a problem with the wiring or the circuit breaker not working correctly.

Flickering or dimming lights

Flickering lights typically suggest unstable electrical flow within your system.

This can be due to loose wiring connections, which may cause frequent power interruptions.

Your electrical panel may have issues due to old or rusty parts. These problems can impact the flow of electricity in your home.

Burning smells or discoloured outlets

A burning smell can indicate overheating wires or electrical components. This is a serious issue that can lead to fire hazards.

Discolouration around outlets or switches often results from excessive heat, suggesting a serious electrical malfunction.

These warning signs are critical. Turn off the circuit and call an electrician right away to investigate the cause.

Buzzing or crackling noises

Buzzing or humming from outlets, switches, or electrical panels could mean arcing or sparking in the wiring.

This occurs when electrical connections are loose or deteriorated. This is a serious fire risk and needs immediate attention to prevent further damage.

Evaluating the safety of older electrical systems is a must

To ensure the safety of older electrical systems, regular inspections by a licensed electrician are important.

These inspections go beyond surface-level checks. We provide a thorough evaluation of your home’s electrical infrastructure and advise on immediate or recommended fixes.

Electricians will make sure your system can handle modern energy demands, recommending upgrades where necessary.

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Upgrading your electrical systems

Improving the electrical system in older buildings is important for safety and increasing property value.

The key upgrades to consider when modernising an older property’s electrical system:


Older properties may have unsafe wiring like aluminium, which can corrode and overheat. Rewiring involves replacing these outdated materials with modern, code-compliant copper wiring.

This upgrade makes the electrical system safer, reduces fire risk, and meets current codes and standards for safety.

Upgrade electrical panels

Upgrading the electrical panel involves installing a new panel with improved safety features.

These features include Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs). Both provide enhanced protection against electrical shocks and fire risks.

A new electrical panel can provide additional space for more breakers or circuits in the future. This will make it easier for you to expand your electrical system.

Install additional circuits

Older homes often have fewer circuits, leading to breaker overloads when multiple high-power appliances run simultaneously.

Adding more circuits helps spread power evenly in the home. Best of all, this can help reduce the risk of frequent breaker trips and associated hazards.

This upgrade is particularly useful when adding new appliances, home entertainment systems, or major electrical equipment like HVAC units.

When should you call an emergency electrician?

If you’re living in an older property and you’ve noticed any warning signs of electrical problems, act quickly!

Call Briggs’ trusted emergency electrician in Melbourne to ensure your safety and prevent further damage to your home.

Our team of licensed electricians has years of experience, allowing us to manage all your electrical needs, from routine inspections to emergency repairs.

Don’t take risks with your electrical system – particularly if you live in a home that is more than four decades old! Contact Briggs at 1300 300 222 or lodge a job online for prompt, professional service that you can rely on.