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5 Electrical Code Problems Common in Older Homes

While the older homes in Bentonville, AR are charming, they can require a great deal of work to get them compliant with current building codes. The building codes established under the National Electrical Code (NEC) are an integral part of electrical safety, ensuring that your home and your family are protected from electrical fires and electrocutions. These five code violations are commonly found in older homes and should be remedied by a professional electrician to make the home safe.

1. Incorrect Circuit Breaker Installation

The installation of the wrong type of circuit breaker is a fire risk as the protection provided to home wiring and equipment will be limited. Ground fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs) and arc fault circuit interrupters (AFCIs) have largely replaced standard circuit breakers in newer homes.

GFCIs are typically installed in areas where small appliances are used or where water is commonly in use, and they must be accessible because of frequent resets.

AFCIs are designed to prevent fires by detecting hazards before they become acute and are required in all living areas, in new construction, and when branch-circuit wiring is altered.

2. Lack of Neutral Wire on Switches

A neutral wire on a switch provides the switch with a constant supply of electricity to keep it operating properly. Not having this wire installed can create an inoperable switch that is a fire hazard.

3. Lack of Tamper-Resistant Safety Features

Current building codes require the use of tamper-resistant safety features on plugs to prevent the insertion of dangerous objects. Having these features installed prevents electrocution by electricity jumping through an inserted electrical object.

4. Overloaded Electrical Panels

The electrical panels found in many older homes were not designed for today’s heavy electricity use. Twenty years ago, the average household had less than half of the electrical devices that are commonly in use today. To handle the bigger power requirements, many electrical panels in older homes must be replaced with updated ones.

5. Unlicensed Work

Anyone that does electrical work on a home other than their own is required to be licensed to prove that they understand how to complete electrical work safely. Any work done by anyone other than the homeowner without a license is considered a violation of the building code.


The current building codes were put into place to protect the property and lives of the residents who live in the area. Licensed electricians, like the professionals at Allstate Electric, understand the importance of adhering to these requirements to make older homes safer and more energy efficient. If you have any questions about the electrical needs of your older home, please contact the Allstate Electric pros today.