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Updating the Electrical System in an Older Home: An Interview with Andy Purdy of Purdy Electric Co., Inc.

By Andy Purdy

Tell us a little bit about your experience, company history and the services you offer.

Purdy Electric Co., Inc., has been providing quality service and professional results for our residential and commercial customers since 1986. We are Located in Rome, GA and service the entire area. We can provide products and services that meet all the needs of all your electrical projects. We have over 25 years of experience, and can provide the reliability of qualified and experienced electricians to exceed your expectations. We are an Authorized Kohler Generators Dealer that can provide services ranging from generator and accessory selection, installation and startup, to generator servicing.

Can you briefly explain what it means to update a house's electrical system?

A typical residential electrical system consists of service conductors from the local utility to a meter and service disconnect, service conductors from the meter and service disconnect to a distribution panel(s), and distribution wiring from the panel to light fixtures, receptacles, appliances and equipment. Updating the electrical system may be the replacement of all or some of this system depending on the needs of your home.

What are the main reasons that it's important for electrical systems in older homes to be updated?

The main reason for updating electrical systems in older homes is SAFETY. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, each year, home electrical problems alone account for an estimated 53,600 fires. These fires cause more than 500 deaths, 1400 injuries and $1.4 billion in property damage. Many of these fires occur in aging homes. Today, our dependence on electricity is increasing, and we are expecting more out of our home's electrical system.

How does a homeowner know that their electrical system needs updating?

Homes built before 1975 should absolutely be inspected by a qualified electrician. Between 1964-mid 1970's, many homebuilders and electricians used aluminum wiring in lieu of copper wiring to save on costs. Aluminum wiring expands and contracts with heat at points of connections at receptacles and other devices. The connections can loosen over time and create gaps at the connection point. These gaps cause arcing that could ignite adjacent combustible materials. Other reasons for updating the electrical system includes a service size of 100 amps or less, a fuse panel instead of a breaker panel, cloth or ceramic insulated wiring, and knob and tube wiring. Also, many of these homes do not have the proper grounding or GFCI/AFCI protection that is required for today's homes.

What are the benefits of an upgraded home electrical system?

The main benefit of an electrical system upgrade is peace of mind. Your family's safety should be the first priority when considering an upgrade. Other benefits include additional electrical capacity for new equipment and appliances, aesthetics and usability, and increased home value.

What advice about electricity would you give to people who own older houses?

Know the dangers in older homes and perform an annual checklist like the one from Electrical Safety Foundation International. The booklet and checklist can be downloaded and viewed on our website. Go to to download your booklet.

What's the best way for people to reach you and your company?

All of our contact information is available at our website. Please visit for more information.

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