How to Troubleshoot Old House Wiring

How to Troubleshoot Old House Wiring


As a homeowner with an older house, you may encounter issues with outdated or faulty wiring that can lead to safety hazards or electrical malfunctions. Troubleshooting and understanding your home's electrical system is crucial for detecting and resolving wiring problems. In this comprehensive guide, I'll walk you through the key steps for troubleshooting old house wiring to help you address problems, make repairs, and update your electrical system.

Evaluate the Age and Type of Wiring

The first step is determining the age and type of wiring installed in your home. Older homes often have outdated wiring that may not meet modern electrical codes and can pose safety risks.

I recommend having a qualified electrician inspect and date the wiring if you are unsure of the type. This will inform you if upgrades are needed.

Inspect the Electrical Panel

The condition of your home's electrical panel can provide important clues about your wiring system.

Calling an electrician to assess the panel is wise if you notice any of these issues.

Inspect Electrical Outlets and Fixtures

Outlets and light fixtures throughout your home provide more clues about wiring:

Documenting all lighting and outlet issues will help an electrician pinpoint wiring failures needing correction.

Check for Hacked Wiring Jobs

Sometimes previous homeowners take DIY electrical projects too far. Look for signs of amateur wiring jobs:

Hacked, bootleg wiring is hazardous and needs removal by a professional to avoid safety hazards like short circuits and fires.

Consider Rewiring with NM Cable

If your old home wiring checks several of the warning flag boxes, a full rewiring may be your best and safest option:

Seek quotes from several electricians if rewiring the entire home seems advisable.

Make Targeted Upgrades and Repairs

If a full rewiring isn't feasible, make strategic upgrades:

Making key targeted repairs reduces risks while spreading costs over time.

Maintain Safe Practices

Regardless of your home's wiring state, following safe electrical practices prevents hazards:

Staying vigilant is vital whether you fully rewire or make limited repairs.

When to Call an Electrician

Some wiring scenarios require calling a licensed electrician:

Let a pro handle complex, hazardous electrical issues. They have the knowledge to fix them safely.


Old house wiring requires diligence to ensure safety and functionality. Evaluate your wiring type, inspect fixtures thoroughly, avoid overloading circuits, and make strategic upgrades where possible. Seek professional assistance when needed. Staying informed about your wiring helps minimize fire and shock risks. With vigilance and proper improvements, your old home's wiring can stay current and safe.