The older a building, the more likely it is to have serious defects, particularly in critical building systems such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC and roofing. But, an outdated electrical system poses the greatest immediate risk.
Many fires start in poorly maintained or outdated electrical systems.
It’s not just 50-100 year-old buildings that you need to worry about. Electrical systems can become obsolete in as little as 30 years, especially if not properly maintained.
If you’re buying a building that is 30+ years old, you should expect your insurance company to request documentation that the wiring has been upgraded, updated or replaced. They’re trying to determine your liability… and theirs. In some cases, the electrical system may not need to be replaced if it has been inspected and validated by a licensed electrical contractor.
Many of the fires that begin in electrical systems are not due to deficiency in the design or quality of electrical components, but because the systems, which generally function quietly and efficiently without apparent need for maintenance, are rarely inspected or poorly maintained.
A professional electrician is trained to identify electrical risk conditions like poor housekeeping, inadequate maintenance, transient voltages, non-compliance with electrical codes and outdated or faulty equipment, or simple problems like a missing knock-out or chafed wires, two conditions that can increase fire risk.