3 Fire hazards From Old Wiring Hiding in Your Building

If you are starting a business, you will likely buy, lease or rent a building that already exists. This is usually a good thing because it saves money, and you will be placing your business in an already established location. Not to mention, older buildings have a sense of style that modern structures lack. But old buildings have their flaws, not the least of which is old wiring. Now I am sure you will agree that if you are getting a building built before 1950 then you need to have the electrical looked at, and the old wiring replaced, but did you know that electrical codes change so much that even buildings from the 1970’s and 80’s have what would be considered by todays standards as “old wiring”?

Old Insulation on Wiring

Insulation on old wiring has gone through many advancements over the years.  Many old building used asbestos insulation on wiring, and we all know the dangers of asbestos. Later, fiberglass insulation replaced the asbestos. Although fiberglass is a much better choice then asbestos, as fiberglass begins to deteriorate, it starts to produce fiberglass dust that can get into the air in your building. And fiberglass dust is not a good thing to be breathing. These days, rubber or plastic insulation is the most common thing you will find protecting the wiring in your walls. And even though the health hazards from deteriorating plastic is far less then asbestos and fiberglass, plastic and rubber do still deteriorate. When rubber and plastic insulation on old wires deteriorates, it becomes brittle, and can overheat the wiring, or break away leaving bare wires that can contact the things in the wall creating not only a fire hazard, but can also create an electrocution hazard.

Faulty Breakers

old-fusebox-old-wiringAlthough not as dangerous as old wiring, old breakers can become faulty. The first thing you will see with breakers that are getting old is they will tend to trip before they are rated to do so. With the sensitivity of modern electrical equipment, sudden losses of power can have a huge financial impact. Old breakers can also stick, and not trip when they are supposed to. This is, of course, a huge fire risk, as well as a danger to you and your employees. You see breakers trip when a circuit is pulling to much power. This isn’t just to protect your appliances and wiring, but also to turn off power to a circuit if someone is being electrocuted.

Before breaker boxes, many old buildings had fuse boxes. If your building has one of these, it is time to update the old wiring in your building.

Low Amp Wiring

Modern business equipment and electronics have different power needs then the stuff we used in the past. A new commercial electrical system will have wiring that is rated for over 20 amps. However, older systems may have only been rated for 15 amps or lower. At worst, this is a fire hazard, but at the very least, this can create a situation where your building does not have enough power to accommodate all of the equipment you need to use for your business.

Even if the building you are setting up your business in is relatively new, the electrical system may be significantly deteriorated. You wouldn’t think a building built in 2000 is an old building, but that building has 17 year old wiring in it. And depending on how the people who were there before you used that wiring, it can be in pretty bad shape.

If you are setting up a business in a location that is new to you, we recommend calling BRAVO! group services to have your electrical system inspected. It may be fine, but it may be putting your business, employees and clients at risk. For that reason alone, it is a good idea to have us come check to see if your old wiring needs updating or replacing.