Flickering Lights: Does Your Home Have Faulty Electrics?

Flickering Lights: Does Your Home Have Faulty Electrics?

Flickering lights? Power outlets randomly not working as they should?

Sounds a bit like a horror movie, doesn't it? Unfortunately, this horror movie stars the ghost of your bad electrics coming back to haunt you!

So, how do you know if you have faulty electrics at your place?

Chances are, if your home is more than a few decades old and the electrics have not been updated, you might have some work to do.

And even newer homes are not without fault.

Rather than taking an “out of sight, out of mind approach”, let’s go over the common pitfalls of faulty electrics and the dangers associated with them so that you can be proactive at your place.

Flickering Lights: Does Your Home Have Faulty Electrics?

The Dangers

As far as residential wiring is concerned, jobs done decades ago might as well have been completed in the stone age when comparing past practices to modern electrics and regulations!

But, before we get into the nitty gritty of the electrics of old, it is important to understand how dangerous poor wiring actually is. Simply put: A lot of older homes have circuits within their bones that are not equipped for the dozens of modern appliances we plug into them.

In the seventies, they certainly didn’t have a gaming computer with three screens, a 65” TV, a washing machine, dryer, heat pump and a SKY TV box all powered on at the same time. This leads to the first major risk, overloading the circuit - a potential fire hazard.

Secondly, a lot of clients have discovered that the grounding of these circuits is not suitable for current code. We commonly see live wires buried inside of insulation, left and forgotten. Combine this with the overloaded circuit, on top of a few DIY quick-fixes or creative electric work, and it’s quite the recipe for disaster!

So, what are the main culprits for all this danger?

Historic Culprits

Unfortunately, a popular electrical choice in New Zealand and Australian homes up until the 1950s was wiring that actually degraded with use. This wiring is known as Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR), and typically came with a wooden casing or conduit.

Unfortunately for those who elected to use this wiring type, the rubber inside VIR tends to break away at the ends, typically when surrounded by heat. You’ll have to have a fairly old house to see this, but if you do, know that you should phone an electrician as soon as possible.

Similar to the VIR system is the Tough Rubber Sheath (TRS). This wire was most commonly installed in houses between the early 1940s and late 1950s. It shares degradation properties with the VIR cable, but is oftentimes referred to as the highest fire risk cable in old homes.

Around the 1960s, Total Plastic Sheath (TPS) cables started to become commonplace and rectified the issue of perishing cables. But, they too have undergone a revolution. Early versions of the cables were only two-core and had no earth. This is immediately non-compliant as any metallic light fittings need an earth within the cable.

If you have an older home, you could potentially have some of these wiring systems present. SO, if you have any concerns about how your electrics are operating, it’s best to speak with a professional. Don’t take the risks onboard - call a certified electrician like Retrolec to take a look for you

Modern Culprits

Compared to historic wiring systems, there is less electrical risk in modern homes. But, that doesn't mean they are completely risk free! There are plenty of things that can go wrong with your electrics, and often these occur within the walls of your home where you can’t see what’s going on!

If you notice any of these things happening, it’s time to call an electrician:

  • Flickering Lights = power surges. Power surges are an indication that your wiring might not be keeping up with all of your appliances. Frequent power surges can damage your electrical fixtures and appliances. The remedy is upgrading your home’s wiring.
  • Burning Smell - if you smell burning coming from your electrical system then it means it is producing too much heat and you are at risk of an electrical fire.
  • Fuses Tripping Repeatedly - The circuit breakers in your switchboard are there to protect your home and if one trips it is a sign they are overloaded. If they are repeatedly tripping, then it is time to get an electrician to check for issues in your system.
  • Buzzing Sounds - Your electrics should operate silently. If you hear buzzing or popping sounds, then you could have loose or faulty wiring. Again, this creates an electrical fire risk.
  • Sparking - If you see sparks when you plug in an appliance or flip a switch on, then you may have exposed wiring somewhere. This can be really dangerous.

If you are concerned about any of the electrical aspects in your home, then take the safety and financial risks out of the equation! Let one of our experienced electricians check the situation for you. Get in touch with us by calling 021 935 582 today.