Thursday, October 23, 2008
It is important to consult a reputable home inspector to check the home wiring before purchasing a house. Knob and tube type wiring and aluminum wiring are common in older homes, and both are considered substandard today. In fact, many insurance companies will refuse to insure homes with these types of wiring, and since banks require homeowner’s insurance before extending mortgage loans that are conditional on the ability to obtain insurance, this is significant. Knowing what type of electrical system you’re dealing with is crucial when trying to close a real estate transaction. Knowledge is power.
Commonly used in homes built in the early 1900s, knob and tube wiring derived its name from the ceramic knobs securing the wire and the ceramic tubes that pass through the wood framing. The primary main issue with this type of wiring is that the insulation surrounding the wiring can break down, creating a potential fire hazard. Aluminum wiring was common in the 1960s and 1970s and it now known to be a potential fire hazard due to arcing at the connectors, which causes overheating at switches and outlets or splices in the wire.
It can be very expensive to remove and replace both knob and tube wiring and aluminum wiring. If you think your potential future home may have substandard wiring, it’s especially important to have inspected by a professional. In any case, it’s always a good investment for buyers to keep their offer conditional on a home inspection.
Especially if you’re a first time homebuyer, you need to be aware of how different systems in your home impact energy costs, contribute to home values, and require upkeep in the years ahead. An experienced realtor can point out some things to consider as you balance these concerns, but the blog posts below might be helpful as well: