I have spent the past 20 years working with electricity. I like to think that I know a thing or two about the subject. One thing that has always surprised me is walking into a very old building and seeing wiring that looks like it was installed when electricity was still a new thing. You need to inspect the wiring in old buildings and update it accordingly. It will save you time, money and maybe even the building itself.
Old Wires Raise Your Electric Bill
Unless you are using gold wires, your wiring will oxidize. (And if you are using gold wiring, you can probably pull that out and sell it for more then building is worth.) Most buildings use copper wires and copper does oxidize. When a cable oxidizes, that corrosion creates resistance. Resistance causes a drop in voltage. Ohm’s law states that watts divided by volts is equal to amps (w/v=a), this means that if you have a 200 watt microwave oven running on 120v power, it is pulling 1.6 amps of power. The more resistance you have, the higher the power draw. If you check your electric bill, you will see that you pay a set amount per kilowatt hour, therefore resistance raises your electric bill.
Old Wires are a Fire Hazard
Another problem that you will find due to the resistance caused by corrosion is heat. You see, electricity is energy, and energy can not be destroyed. It just changes form. So when you are using more power to do the same thing, then where does that extra power go? In most cases caused by increased resistance, the extra power is lost in heat. When wires heat up, all sorts of problems begin to happen. If you wiring is very old, then you may have asbestos insulation on the wires. Cooking asbestos insulation is very bad, and can lead to all sorts of liability issues. However, you likely have some sort of rubber insulation on your wiring. Although not as bad as asbestos, cooking rubber wiring will lead to the insulation melting leaving bare wire. This can cause a dead short (which, if you are lucky, will trip your breakers), or this could cause a fire. In some rare circumstances, these exposed wires could come into contact with conduit and electrify parts of your building (which again leads to bad liability issues)
Breaker Boxes Wear Out
Have you ever had a breaker trip when there wasn’t enough of a load on it to actually trip the breaker? We call these soft breakers. This happens when a breaker is old and worn out. Soft breakers can cause constant maintenance calls, and frequent power outages. These things cost you time and money. In reality, replacing breakers is usually cheaper then dealing with the problem
Remember fuse boxes, and those round screw in fuses? If you have one of those, replace it… now. It really is not that difficult of a job to do. You just need a new breaker box with a proper size bus bar, and enough breakers (of the same amperage as the fuses) to replace the fuses.
BRAVO! Group Services has electric services that can come into your building and do an inspection. They will find any problems or potential problems and make the appropriate recommendations. The BRAVO! team can also add fire alarm systems, security systems, CCTV systems and even networking and fiber optic systems.
Just because your business is in an old, or historic building, doesn’t mean that it can’t run as efficiently as a modern building. BRAVO! can help your building keep its classy past and still be prepared for the future.