Safety first. Do certain power sockets or switches show signs of discolouration (from brown to black)? In that case, you need to do something about it. In addition, it is advisable to remove the lid from the master electrical panel and check the types of wiring used. Older homes often still have wiring with rubber insulation. Over time, that type of insulation will degrade, harden and crack, with all the attendant consequences.
Older installations often use thinner wires than those that are standard today. When using modern home appliances, chances are that the thinner wiring will overheat, which in time may lead to certain flaws and even fires.
There are other questions you should be asking as well. ‘Is there a general and sensitive ground fault interrupter?’ ‘Is security built with now-obsolete safety fuses, or with modern automatic ones?’ ‘Is there a good earthing, and is it distributed to every power socket and all of the light fixtures?’
Because of the large number of electrical appliances we use today, average electricity consumption is now many times higher than 30 years ago. We need to determine whether the electrical connection is sufficient to safely use all of our appliances. If that is not the case, a heavier connection has to be requested when carrying out necessary renovation works.
We also need to consider whether we have sufficient power sockets and light fixtures in the house. It is never wise to resort to extension cords and blocks of power sockets. If we have plans to install a new kitchen, it will have to be rewired to make sure all the power sockets are in the right location.
A renovation is the ideal opportunity to include wiring to the windows (electrical shutters), to the terrace (sunscreens), for the entry communications system (audio or video), outside lighting and motion sensors, etc. Finally, pay careful attention to the wiring and outlets that will be used for TV, radio, computers, telephony and so on.
Given that the entire electrical installation is one of the most important constituents of a house, a professional inspection and evaluation is always wise. You may discover that it is useful—and perhaps even necessary. It may require a larger (though affordable) budget, but the end, you will have a complete upgrade that includes an Integrated Home System (IHS). The latter will offer you more comfort and security as well as also reduce your energy bills. In addition, it will increase the property value in the event of a future sale.
So, when purchasing a house, check the condition of the electrical installation and calculate the costs to carry out what needs to be done. This can also be a key item during negotiations in order to lower the purchase price.