When Should You Replace Electrical Wires?

When Should You Replace Electrical Wires?

Electrician using pliers to repair an old wire

Every year, home electrical fires account for close to 51,000 fires, which result in an estimated 1,400 injuries, 500 deaths and property damage of $1.3 billion. With this in mind, it is clear that the potential hazards posed by our home electrical systems should be treated seriously.

A leading cause of electrical fires is defective electrical wiring in homes. What qualifies as defective wiring and how does it contribute to electrical fires? In this article we cover how you can check for defective wires and when should you replace them.

The Main Causes of Electrical Wire Failure

There are several possible reasons behind your wiring becoming faulty. Knowing the most common causes will help you to keep your home’s wires in good condition.


Like any other object, wires also experience wear and tear leading to premature aging. During the aging process, embattlement, cracking and the failing of both insulating & sheathing materials should be expected. If aged sufficiently, the wire will have an exposed conductor, thus increasing the possibility of a short circuit and an electrical fire.

Cutting of exposed wires as part of electrical services

Mechanical Failure

Mechanical failure refers to physical damage dealt to the wire either during the installation phase or in subsequent use. For example, if a heavy force or weight is slammed into the wire, its components may be weakened. When mechanical failure occurs, the wire’s service life and suitability will be affected.

Moisture Invasion

Moisture ingress can be a highly dangerous occurrence in electrical wires. Moisture typically penetrates into wires that are in environments saturated with water or vapour. From here, moisture or water becomes an excellent conductor of electricity. This aids in creating a short circuit and corroding other conductors.

Cable Overheating

Electricity is a form of energy that travels through your wires. Along the way, some of it gets converted to heat. In the event that excess current flows through a wire, the amount of heat generated can cause a degeneration of the insulation and sheathing.

Electrical Overloading

Electrical overloading occurs when the wire in question is underrated for the amount of electrical load that is being placed on it. Commonly this occurs why many high-power consuming appliances are used at once. Alternatively, if you have attached a multi-plug to a power socket, then an overloading of that individual socket may occur.

If not addressed, electrical overloading can cause premature aging, cable overheating, short circuit and likely the tripping of your main breaker.

Rodent Damage

In the same vein as mechanical failure, if your wire comes under attack by rodents, physical damage may be sustained. Depending on the degree of harm dealt, the sheathing and insulation properties of the cable may be compromised, thus enabling an electrical fire in the near future.

UV Rays Exposure

Unknown to many homeowners, a constant exposure of their home’s wires to UV light rays can result in the deterioration of electrical cable insulation and sheathing. For wires that are located in outdoor areas, it is advised that they be designed with UV resistant materials or protected from UV exposure by a protective covering.

UV exposure causes the cracking of insulation, which in turn enables potential short circuit failures.

Signs of Electrical Wire Failure

There are 5 common signs of electrical wire failure which you should be wary of. In the event that you find any of these symptoms, you should not hesitate to contact electrician Singapore services.

Frequent Circuit Breaker Trips

Obsolete circuit breaker in need of electrical repair

Circuit breakers are safety mechanisms that prevent your circuit from becoming overloaded. As such, if your breaker trips, you need not panic as it shows that your house has been kept safe. However, you should be wary of what electrical appliances were turned on at that time.

Furthermore, if circuit breaker trips become a common occurrence, then this may be a sign that faulty wiring is present in your home. In particular, if different combinations of appliances cause the circuit breaker to trip, then the short circuit may be as a result of reduced resistance in the wiring.

Buzzing and Flickering Lights

Frequent buzzing, flickering or dimming lights are another sign of electrical problems. On one hand, these symptoms may surface due to an old or faulty light bulb. On the other hand, if they only occur when you turn on other appliances, then faulty wiring may be connected to them.

To further investigate, you should try unplugging the light bulb and having it plugged into another outlet at the opposite side of your home.

Charring of Power Sockets

If a visual inspection of your power sockets reveals scotch marks, then likely the wiring underneath it has been releasing significant heat. This is certainly an indication of damaged wiring and should be addressed as soon as possible.

We recommend keeping this power socket turned off, and engaging an electrical contractor to investigate your wiring. At no point should you try to use this power socket to power an appliance as a real risk of an electrical fire breaking out exists.

Vibrating Power Outlets

Be it visually or through touch, you should not find a vibrating power outlet under normal circumstances. Additionally, if you do try touching the power outlet, it should be cool on the surface. In the event that the power outlet is vibrating, you should turn it off immediately, taking care not to touch the wiring. After which, a professional electrician should be engaged to fix it.

Burning Smells

Related to the charring of power sockets, a burning or charring smell is a major sign that your wiring has already been damaged by heat. Such smells are indicative of an advance stage in wire damage, and a warning that an electrical fire may break out at any time.

If you do indeed smell strange odours near your electrical outlets or panel, then the immediate engagement of an electrical contractor is a must.

Malfunctioning power socket emitting smoke

Engage Our Yi Ling Service Team To Assist You

With over 30 years of experience, Yi Leng Service is a specialist in electrical works, cable solutions, TV brackets, and mounting. Our experience has proven to be an invaluable asset in our expertise and services provided to clients in all aspects of installation, maintenance, and repair works.

At Yi Leng Service, all our services are carried out by licensed & skilled electricians that will do a reliable job that comes with warranty. Feel free to contact us for reliable electrician Singapore services.

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