February 27, 2012

Beware of hidden old house damage

By Richard Taylor for Zillow

(Continued from page 1)

Any home over 40 years old is a likely candidate for having an outdated electrical system. Check the electrical panel for the amperage rating – modern homes require at least 100 amps and many require much more. Older homes may have “fuse boxes” rated for 60 amps or less.

Check any visible wiring to see if it’s made of aluminum, which is also considered a fire hazard and was discontinued decades ago.

Look around the house – are there lots of extension cords and plug adapters? Are there “burn marks” around some switches and outlets? Are there rooms without any outlets at all? Replacing an electrical system to remove safety risks or to bring the system up to current codes can be a very expensive project.

Home Sweet (Old) Home

If you own an old house, keep up with the maintenance to prevent costly repairs. If you’re thinking about buying one, check carefully for the signs of hidden damage and unsafe conditions first – a little detective work might keep you from saying “Yikes!” one day.

Richard Taylor is a residential architect based in Dublin, Ohio and is a contributor to Zillow Blog. Connect with him at http://www.rtastudio.com/index.htm.

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

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