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Buying a Home with Old Cloth Wiring?



TAGS: Electrical Safety | Surge Protection

Greenville Home Electrical Rewiring Cloth Wire Replacement

Old cloth wiring in homes built in the '60s or earlier isn't automatically a cause for alarm but may warrant some due diligence. This wiring should not be confused with Knob & Tube wiring. If you know the home you are thinking about purchasing has Knob & Tube wiring, a complete Home Rewire may be required for that home.

Unlike contemporary Romex wiring that uses PVC as insulators, the older NM cable used a combination of paper and cloth-like fibers to insulate the conductors carrying electricity through your home. The cloth cable was impregnated with oils and tar-like substances that helped keep the outer jacket flexible, while the copper wires were insulated in rubber. As time went by, the rubber began to dry up, which made it crack if disturbed.   

Other issues found with this wiring method are how the electricians at that time made electrical splices by soldering and taping the wires together instead of using wire nut connectors like Electricians in Greenville do today. 

Now you should be more mindful of high wattage incandescent bulbs in light fixtures today if performing an electrical inspection on an older home. The heat produced by the inefficient bulbs leaves the old wiring in the lighting outlet overheated and brittle. This problem can occur in any home regardless of the wiring type. It is always a good idea to upgrade to LED bulbs as soon as possible. 

Most homes from older eras do not have wiring issues that warrant a rewire of the electrical system. Instead, replacing all the electrical switches and receptacles and adding Arc Fault Breakers, a new breaker technology might be a better choice. 

It is important to understand older homes that have older fabric-insulated non-metallic sheathed (NMC) wire do not have an equipment grounding conductor included in the cable assembly. This fact is essential to remember when replacing 2-prong ungrounded receptacles with the new 3-prong type. While the national electrical code does allow the 3-prong upgrade, it must be GFCI protected. 

Although a ground wire has its place in today's wiring methods, the use of GFCI protection and Whole House Surge Protection can offer homeowners an affordable way to add personal safety and safeguard against electronic equipment being damaged by transient surges without rewiring the entire home. 

Adding Arcfault protection to your home is another excellent option. Although AFCI does not eliminate the need for GFCI protection, they should be used together to protect you from electrocution and your home from electrical fires caused by arcing. 

If you are thinking about buying an older home that may have cloth cables, it would be an excellent investment to hire a Licensed Electrician in Greenville to do a home electrical safety inspection. This inspection will be much more in-depth than a regular home inspection. Upstate Electrical Solutions will check the condition of the entire electrical system, including signs of overheating and rodent damage. You may find the home only needs some minor electrical upgrades to keep your family safe.

Ian Ramirez | Upstate Electrical Solutions Ian Ramirez is a Licensed Master Electrician with more than 20 years of experience with Residential and Commercial electrical projects. Contact Ian directly at 864.834.9955 or Click Here to Schedule Electrical Service for Greenville & Upstate SC customers. Upstate Electrical Solutions is a member of the Better Business Bureau. Check out our 5-Star reviews on Google, Facebook and Yelp. Our reliable service comes with upfront pricing and a 100% Money Back Guarantee.