If you live in an older home, then upgrading your infrastructure should be an integral part of any serious remodeling efforts. There's no need to replace the wiring if you are just going to repaint and pick out a new throw rug, but if you are opening up the walls anyway, it would be a mistake to squander this opportunity. Here are some areas of your home's electrical system you may need to work on during your next remodel.
Make Sure All Outlets and Switches Are Properly Grounded
Depending on the age and quality of the wiring in your home, not all of your outlets may have been properly grounded. Grounding gives the electricity somewhere to go if there is a surge or short, so it isn't something you want to go without. Obviously, if your outlets don't have a ground plug then you need to upgrade them. You can use a voltage tester to determine if outlets with a ground were wired properly. You should be able to get a voltage reading with one probe in the ground slot and the other in one of the electrical plugs. If not, you need to fix the wiring behind the outlet.
If you are remodeling a room that uses water, such as your kitchen or a bathroom, you should consider updating your electrical outlets to GCFI, or Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter, outlets. These are easy to spot because they have two buttons on them — "test" and "reset." They go a step further in safety and are able to shut themselves off to prevent you from getting shocked in these wet environments.
Consider Upgrading Your Electrical Panel (Or At Least Get One Installed)
No matter what room you are working on, you should take a look at your circuit breaker. If you are still trying to limp by on an old fuse box, it is far past time to replace it with a breaker panel. If you do have a breaker, but is over 25 years old, you should consider having it replaced. Some panels that are that old are simply unsafe, and many may not be able to handle the load of modern electrical appliances. Discuss the situation with your electrician to see what kind of breaker you should have for your home. You may need one with more breakers to cover an addition, one that handles more power to run appliances and electronics, or simply an upgraded panel.
Take the Opportunity to Replace the Wiring
Your circuit breaker may not be the only thing that is due for an upgrade. Since you are inside the walls, it is best to inspect the quality of the wiring, and you may just want to go ahead and replace it if your home is old enough. The insulation on wires degrades over time, so even a good wiring job will need to get replaced eventually, but the big danger is that the home was simply not wired properly all those decades ago.
Even if you haven't had any serious issues with the electricity in your home, you may have noticed the breaker going off more than it should, the lights dimming occasionally, or a small shock when you go to turn on the lights. These are all signs that the wiring in your walls needs to be replaced, and you won't have a better opportunity than when you are doing your renovations.
Upgrading your electrical system isn't usually the first thing that comes to mind when considering your home's infrastructure — the plumbing or insulation is generally what people think of. However, it is an integral part of your daily life, and if things go wrong they could destroy your electronics or start a fire. This alone makes an investment well worthwhile. Contact a company like McDonald Electric for more information.