Your electrical box is the spot where
electricity from the grid connects to your home. From here your breaker box
divides up the electrical source to different rooms and different areas of your
home. This is just the basics of your home electricity. While many people know
how to turn a breaker back on when one has flipped, not very many homeowners understand the importance of the age of the wiring in their homes, current regulations, and the risk potential of losing your home because of an old fuse box.
If Your Home Is More Than 15
Older homes are in more danger of fire hazards than new
ones, simply because of the electrical. Insurance companies will not insure
homes that have solid evidence as having the old porcelain knob circuitry and
old fault wiring in general. This is basically gasoline and matches behind your
walls, and it won't take too much load to cause a fire.
The problem for insurance companies
is that your home inspector is not allowed to dig into your walls for any
reason, not for termites, leaks, or checking the viability of a certain
material. As such, a home inspector cannot say for certain that a particular
home has a particular grade of wiring. The existence of 2-pronged outlets
rather than 3-pronged is a definitive sign that the wiring is very old.
However, new regulations have made
it so that a home electrical box has to be attached outside the home. This
regulation was imposed in part by the fire department, which has proven that it
is advantageous to have the electrical panel on the exterior of the home so
that when fire fighters arrive at a home that is aflame, they can quickly shut
off all the electricity to the house. This was imposed all over the country 15
years ago, and as a result of how long it takes new regulations to take effect,
homes that are 12-15 years old and younger have exterior breakers.
What This Means for
The average age of home across the country is 44 years old.
This means that the majority of homes need an electrical upgrade to carry the
average load in this technologically dependant time.
No matter if your electrical box is
inside or outside, what you need to realize is that the wiring and electrical
panel in older homes was designed for very low loads. If you go 20 years back,
the typical home had a fridge, a TV, washer/dryer, water heater, HVAC unit, a
microwave, and dishwasher. If you go 35 years back, there were no microwaves.
The amount of load that the typical home's fuse box could carry was enough to
manage, even with the addition of more televisions and a microwave.
Jump forward to today. If your home
was built 50 years ago, it not only might be struggling to handle the addition
of a TV and a microwave, but your home is also struggling to handle multiple
TVs, CD players, DVD/VHS players, computers, and printers, not to mention
coffee makers, coffee grinders, game systems, blenders, food processors, paper
shredders, and the list goes on.
It cannot be stressed enough how important it is for
older homes to upgrade their electrical boxes. If you have a fuse box, then
this is a must. This is not the kind of home improvement that you will get to
show off to your friends. But increasing the load to your electrical panel will
allow you to show off your home for a long time, because if you don't update
your breaker box, all it takes is a little bad luck to start a big fire.