Thursday, Sep 27, 2012

Don't rip walls out yet!
Installing new insulation may save homeowners from costly rewiring
By TIM GARDNER, The Winnipeg Sun

Just because you own an older house with older electrical wiring in it doesn't mean that wiring needs to be replaced.

Both Jim Crowe, president of Winnipeg's Wareham & Crowe Electric Ltd. and Peter Arabsky, owner/operator of Winnipeg's Apple Electric Ltd., say that often the quality of the original installation of a home's wiring is more important than the wiring's actual age.

"Wiring doesn't corrode itself like in plumbing situations," Crowe says. "There are instances where wire's insulation may -- over time, if it's been heated -- crack and what have you. But there's no way of actually finding that out unless you open up a home's walls."

And Arabsky says unless homeowners have been experiencing frequent or serious electrical problems in their homes -- such as fuses constantly blowing out or frequent grounding problems, especially concentrated around computers -- they should probably think twice about getting their homes completely rewired.

"Basically unless you're going to gut a house, which means completely take out all the walls in an old house, you can't really rewire a house," Arabsky says.

"You can do a new service change and upgrade circuits for the kitchen appliances ... And sometimes wiring is fishable through a plumbing stack. But normally, if anything is required in an outside wall, unless you want to do major renovations, it (complete rewiring) is normally not done. It's just not cost-effective to do it."

Of course, there are some exceptions to the rewiring rule.

For example, Manuel Correia, owner of Winnipeg's Action Electric, says he's come across some homes in the Jefferson Avenue area that were originally wired with rubber-insulated wire around the mid-1950s.

Don't rip walls out yet!
Crisp and crumbly
Renovation archive

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