5 Convenient Electrical Upgrades For Your Older Home

Home & Garden Articles

Older homes offer charm and a sense of history, but sometimes their electrical systems create frustrating obstacles to modern living. When you purchase an older home, make these 5 convenient electrical upgrades to avoid potential headaches.

1. Replace Two-Prong Outlets with Three-Prong Outlets

Many of today's electronics come with three-prong electrical cords. If all your home's outlets have two-prong receptacles, however, you might be out of luck for simple tasks like vacuuming the floor or operating your computer.

Fortunately, you can convert two-prong outlets to three-prong receptacles. Do this for at least one outlet in every room of your older home so you have options when you need to plug in an appliance or device.

Alternatively, invest in high-quality power strips or converters. This might be a safer option if you aren't comfortable touching your home's electrical system.

2. Create More Electrical Outlets

If your older home doesn't have enough receptacles for your many devices, create more electrical outlets to reduce frustration. Common places to experience a lack of outlets might include:

  • Living Room: When older homes were built, residents didn't require as many outlets for entertainment center devices.
  • Bathrooms: If you don't have a place to plug in your hair dryer, a new outlet might be necessary.
  • Kitchens: If you have to unplug the coffee maker to use the ricer, new receptacles will make meal times less stressful.

Many older homes feature cloth- or fabric-insulated wires. If you encounter these, call an experienced electrical contractor like Central Electric Inc to handle the replacements, as this type of wiring can cause shorts and other problems as the fabric breaks down.

3. Install Ceiling Fans

Older homes do not always include ceiling fixtures, so your house might not have ceiling fans to keep you cool during the summer months. Running wires to the center of your ceiling and installing a fan might lower your hot-weather utility bills.

You might be able to replace a ceiling light fixture with a fan yourself, but if the wiring isn't already there, hire a professional. You don't want to make a mess of your ceiling while you try to find the right connections—or worse, cause an electrical fire.

4. Add Dimmers to Light Fixtures

Another convenient electrical upgrade for your older home is the addition of dimmer switches. These allow you to set the perfect mood lighting in every room of your home for ceiling and wall fixtures.

If you want to dim the light on your ceiling fan, you'll need special switches so you don't burn up the fan's motor. If you are worried about your older home's electrical wiring, hire a contractor to install the switches for you.

5. Create Outdoor Lighting

If your older home looks more like a haunted house from the street, you might need some landscape lighting to brighten up your home. Outdoor lighting significantly increases home security as well as curb appeal.

You can use existing outdoor outlets to create landscape lighting, but a better solution is to replace them with GCFI (ground fault circuit interrupters) receptacles. They shut down power when they detect interruptions in electrical flow, which can save your home from a devastating fire.

When installing outdoor lighting, use different fixtures to achieve distinct results, such as:

  • Accent lighting to illuminate a beautiful piece of outdoor sculpture or a favorite tree
  • Path lighting to illuminate walkways to your driveway, front door, and other entrances
  • Flood lighting to brighten a large area of your yard
  • Motion-activated lights for home security

Owning an older home can cause frustration, especially when the electrical system isn't appropriate for your modern lifestyle. Consult with an experienced electrical contractor about ushering your house into the 21st century.


28 October 2014