Old homes present common problems and concerns, as evidenced by shows like “This Old House”. Those resources offer valuable information to old-home owners, because governmental codes have almost certainly changed – and possibly several times – since their homes were built. That is invariably true with respect to updating electrical systems and especially true for historical homes.
Should You Ever Do It Yourself?
When considering whether or not to tackle the job yourself, it is important to remember why codes exist and why compliance with them is important. Over the years, better electrical components have been developed that offer better protections for homeowners. Municipal codes have changed, and they are constantly changing, to reflect better electrical systems that improve the safety of homes.
The compliance with code of a historical home’s electrical system is not simply a formality but an essential part of its safety. GFCI outlets, for example, are required by some municipalities because of heightened awareness of homeowner safety; that is essentially what their codes enforce. Different types of wires and outlets now exist that reduce the chances of electrical shock or fire.
Thus, GFCI outlets may be required because homeowners are using electricity near water, which is a great conductor for its movement. Regulations regarding recessed lights may relate to their proximity to ever-changing insulating materials in ceilings – also enforced by codes. As a result, unless you are a professional, licensed, insured electrician, updating the electrical by yourself just is not a good idea.
Leave It to Local Electricians
It is quite simply ill advised for even the handiest of amateurs who care about home safety to learn this as they go. As tempting as it may be to try this on your own, historical homes are precisely the ones most likely to hold dangers. Clearly, the safest and best choice in every way is to leave this one to professionals.