Old & Unsafe Wiring in Older Homes

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Wiring is in every room of your home and is used every day, but have you ever thought about the safety of the cabling in your home?

The first town in Australia to have electric lighting connected was Tamworth NSW, way back in 1888. In the nearly century-and-a-half since that first electricity connection, there has been huge progress made in the safety and manufacturing standards of cables. Modern materials and technology, along with more thorough testing and regulation of electrical components, means that modern types of cable are much safer than any previous versions.

While most homeowners would probably have replaced any electrical appliances or fittings from that era long ago, the cabling throughout our homes can go unnoticed. The old types of cables used over the past century are now outdated and unsafe for your home and family. According to Energy Safe Victoria, the fire brigade responds to more than 300 residential electrical fires each year! Many of these fires are caused by old deteriorated wiring, contact with which can also be fatal.

Do you know what type of cabling is in your home? Ensuring the electrical safety of your home is a vital part of home maintenance, and the only way to be sure is to get your cabling inspected by a licensed electrician. Experienced electricians like Kenner Electrics will be able to identify the type of cabling and also provide recommendations for the best solution to keep your home and family safe.

If you come across any old cabling in your home, don’t touch any part of it as live parts of the cabling may be exposed, especially at power outlet or light switch connections. See our blog on Wiring Hazards: Is dangerous cabling putting your home at risk? for more information on the serious electrical hazards that incorrect wiring can cause.

Rubber Cable in old home
Dangerous rubber cabling our electricians found behind a power outlet

What Types of Cabling Might Be In My House?

As technology has developed, the types of cables that are installed in homes and businesses has also changed. Here’s a brief timeline of the types of cables installed throughout Melbourne:

1880s to 1910s - Lead Sheathed Cable

Typically found in old houses in the inner city suburbs of Melbourne, such as Armadale.

1910s to 1950s - Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) Cable

Typically found in older houses in the inner suburbs of Melbourne, such as Hawthorn, Kew, Balwyn, Camberwell and Surrey Hills.

1940s to 1960s - Tough Rubber Sheathed (TRS) Cable

Typically found in post-war houses in middle suburbs such as Ashburton, Box Hill, Mount Waverley, Burwood, Blackburn, Vermont, Glen Waverley, Mitcham, Nunawading and Vermont.

Late 1960s to today - Thermoplastic Sheathed (TPS) Cable

All modern houses built from the late 1960s onwards should be wired with TPS cabling. However electrical wiring installation safety standards have changed in recent decades as technology has advance with the latest iteration of the Australian Wiring Rules coming into effect as recent as 2018. So at the very least, if your home was built before the year 1980, you should have your cabling inspected.

2012 to 2013 - Safety Recall of Infinity + Olsent Branded TPS Cables

Any home owner that has had DIY electrical work done, or has engaged an electrician or a builder who bought cable from Masters hardware stores is at risk of having this cable in their homes.

For more information on the different types of electrical cables installed in Melbourne homes throughout the past century, and the dangers associated with each type, see our blog on Electrical Cabling Throughout History in Melbourne.

Recommendations

Get Your Wiring Inspected

The older the house, the more likely it is to have old unsafe cabling. If your house was built before 1980, Energy Safe Victoria recommends that it be inspected to make sure that the cabling is safe and in good condition.

If you suspect dodgy wiring, don’t be tempted to have a look yourself. It’s possible there are exposed live cables in your roof space or behind switches that could cause electrocution. If you’re not sure what type of cabling is in your home, it’s worth getting a licensed local electrician that you trust to come and inspect the wiring in your home. An experienced electrician like Kenner Electrics will be able to identify the condition of your cabling and provide you with recommendations and advice.

Unsafe cable
Experienced electricians will be able to safely distinguish between different types of cable

Rewire

If unsafe cabling is found in your home, it’s a matter of ‘when’ not ‘if’. Fires caused by deteriorated electrical wiring don’t give warning signs, so having your home rewired with modern cabling is the best course of action. When the rewiring is being done, a reliable electrician will also make sure that all your circuits are protected by safety switches.

Kenner Electrics is here to help. If you suspect your might have old cabling in your home, give us a call to arrange an inspection and our expert electricians will advise you about whether full or partial rewiring is the best option for your home. Our trusted electricians can also do a Home Electrical Safety Inspection to uncover any other electrical issues in your home.

Example of deteriorated rubber cabling behind a power outlet