Most of us take electricity for granted, we don’t see it, it’s always there and it just works, but the reality isn’t as simple as that. As time marches forward things decay, technology improves, and standards improve. Many older Australian properties have very old electrical systems and as demand increases a greater burden is placed on them meaning there is a greater risk of an electrical fault happening. Electrical faults can vary wildly with some being potentially fatal to others being mild, but they can cause fires, surges, shorts as well as shock.
Potential Issues Occurring
If you have any of the following occurring, it may be time to get a professional electrician to give your home a safety test and examine the condition of your home’s electrical system.
- Not Enough Power – Over the last 10 to 20 years our home’s power requirements have increased but the electrical system has remained the same or worsened. If you are getting shorts this is a sign that you are underpowered or overloaded.
- Poor Connections – Bad DIY repairs or unlicensed electrical work in the home can result in loose connections making supply intermittent. This can blow fuses, damage appliances and trip your consumer unit.
- Damaged Wiring – Older wiring can lead to all sorts of issues but shorts and shocks are some. Older wiring is made completely differently than today’s wiring and anything older than 40 years can potentially cause problems.
- Lack of Grounding – Some older homes lack ground-fault circuit interrupters. These devices are meant to trip before a shock or other problem can occur, but some homes lack this completely which is dangerous.
So much has changed and improved since older homes were built and wired that the following will drastically improve our electrical system and make it safe:
- Surge Protectors are devices that are installed into the mains switchboard to prevent high voltage and current surges that come down the power lines during storms. This helps protect the electrical devices in your home.
- Safety Switches are required on all electrical circuits in the home when upgrading switchboards or getting circuits add to your home. Their purpose is to trip before a deadly shock can occur. They constantly monitor the electrical circuit and detect changes too small for a fuse or old circuit breaker to detect.
- Tamper Resistant Outlets are similar to standard outlets but feature an internal mechanism that prevents children from pushing objects into the outlet as they only work when equal pressure is applied to all openings.
Older homes are without doubt potentially more dangerous than newer ones as they will not only lack the above features but also possibly have old-style fuse boxes instead of modern consumer units as well as old problematic wiring. Having an electrician perform a simple safety test is the first step to removing electrical dangers.