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Electrical Gremlins And Old Homes


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Electrical Gremlins And Old Homes

When I bought an old house because I fell in love with the charm, I was completely unprepared for some of the issues that come along with homes of that age. One of the biggest surprises to me was the electrical issues I experienced. Everything from having to unplug everything in the kitchen to use a compressor in the garage to tripped breakers from a single air conditioner left me frustrated and confused. I called an electrician and learned a lot during his inspection. If you are thinking about buying an old house, this blog is for you. I hope that my knowledge and first-hand experience can help you avoid some of the disasters that I faced.

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How Electrical Work Is Affected By Poor Truss Settings

Electrical work under and through your roof is directly impacted by the efficacy of the roof truss settings. Poorly set roof trusses make things much more difficult for a lot of electrical installations. Take a look at the following examples, and you will see how a proper roof truss setting makes all the difference in the world. 

Bowed Trusses Prevent Proper Electrical Installation of Ceiling Fixtures

Trusses bow, or bend in a curved fashion like a hunter's bow, when they are stored on uneven ground or lifted improperly into position and secured as bowed. This creates problems when an electrician wants to install or repair light fixtures in a home because the bowed trusses are in the way of getting to the parts of the light fixtures you cannot see above the ceiling. It also causes a fire hazard when the exposed wood along the bottom edges of these bowed trusses comes very close to the wiring of light fixtures and ignites when an electrical wire wears out, sparks, and arcs. If a truss is bowed, it has no place being installed in a home and needs to be sent back to the factory to be broken down and remade. 

Trusses Spaced Improperly Prevents Proper Installation of Ventilation Fans

All roofs have ventilation fans. The fans release excess heat trapped under the roof, which may become humid and damage the wood and/or trusses of the roof. Improperly spaced trusses, specifically those that are placed too close together, will prevent the installation of the attic's ventilation fans, which typically need at least a one-foot-by-one-foot installation area. Trusses set too close together with the intent of bearing more weight for the roof leave no room for an electrician to install the necessary wiring and electrical work with these fans so that your home remains properly ventilated. 

Some Electrical Wiring Needs to Attach to Trusses

Sometimes there are special electrical wires that need to be affixed to the trusses. Whole-house sound systems, for example, have a lot of wiring that needs to travel through an attic and then around to various rooms in the house. The wiring is often secured in the attic to the trusses so that it is not lost in the massive amounts of insulation that is installed over the ceilings and bottom edges of the trusses. Trusses that are not set correctly prevent the efficacy and securing of all of this extra electrical wiring.