Electrical Safety Tips, Renovating

Buying an Older Home in Vancouver? 8 important things to look out for

buying old house vancouver

Red Flags to Look for When Buying an Older Home in Vancouver

If you are planning to buy an older home, don’t panic! We know that it looks and feels like you are living in a piece of history. However, as with any other important decision, you need to investigate the pros and cons.

Note some potential benefits of owning an older home in Vancouver:

We found most of them in convenient locations, which is an advantage in all senses.

You can’t deny old homes are charming and have character. You can get the most out of their architectural features.

They have a high potential for better construction quality.

You have more opportunities to build equity.

However, many people ignore vital aspects before buying an older home in Vancouver. They end up paying more to solve these issues and sometimes risking their own safety. Consider these red flags and make sure you are getting a great deal instead of the beginning of a nightmare!


  1. Inadequate or Unsafe Electrical Systems:


Our experts at WireChief Electric affirm that this issue is more common than we think. We generally just make sure that all the lights work to think everything is fine with the electricity. However, note that electrical systems in older homes are not designed for the modern usage.

We now have computers, tablets, Wi-Fi, dishwashers and other appliances. We are sure people in the past didn’t use as much electricity as we do now! Pay attention if you want to buy an older house with knob and tube wiring. These systems can’t handle the level of power we use currently at our houses.

Many people abuse old electrical systems replacing blown fuses with other ones rated for higher currents. This is the formula for disaster as it causes risk or heat damage and fire. Note that it will also give you problems to get a homeowner insurance!

Our best advice for you is replacing the knob and tube system for a modern one. However, you can also contact one of our electricians to inspect and certify that the wiring is in excellent conditions.


  1. Foundation or Structural Problems:


The power of nature has no mercy with constructions, some issues you may find:

  • Major Cracks
  • Unevenness in the slab
  • Corrosion
  • Dry rot
  • Moisture Damage

How to recognize most of these problems?

  • Doors that jam or fail to latch.
  • Visible wall cracks
  • Cracked tile or concrete floors.
  • Persistently stuck windows.
  • Off-level floors
  1. Hazardous Materials:


Asbestos is a very popular material in older houses because it works great as a flame retardant. However, from 1989 its use was banned as a construction material because it’s very dangerous! When airborne, we can easily inhale the fibers without noticing it. They stay in our lungs, creating a deadly form of cancer.

Lead Paint is another vital issue with older homes. Again, we are talking about a dangerous substance, especially for growing children. Although this is generally only an issue if the paint chips or you sand or strip walls with lead paint, it’s nevertheless a good idea to get a cheap lead paint testing kit from your local home improvement store.


   4.Mold and Mildew Damage:


Mold and mildew can cause allergies, infections, and respiratory problems.

Moisture promotes the growth of mold and mildew, which can cause serious health problems. If you notice mold in an evidently damp area, it’s possibly just a clue that the owners haven’t take the proper care.  Sometimes mold can reveal a previous issue with the home, such as a flood. If there is a substantial, visible overgrowth of mold, it’s necessary to find out what caused the mold. Mold could be your early sign that there’s another significant issue with the home


  1. Inefficient Windows:


You may wonder why is this a problem? Well, the main concern of inefficient windows is the fact that your home’s climate control system will need to work harder to compensate for leaks. Your electricity bills will be insane. You will surprise to know how much money you can save by installing the most efficient class of windows at home!


  1. Old, Deteriorating Roof:


Any roof that is older than 10-15 years needs replacement. Otherwise, they begin to leak and crumble. It will lose its insulation properties and will cause more costly repairs. Deteriorating roofs cause headaches such as:

  • Pest infestations.
  • Interior Water Damage.
  • Less effective or compromised insulation.

    7.Plumbing Issues:


Deteriorated plumbing systems can cause a pipe failure that floods your house. It will destroy your walls and floors. Most importantly, it can cause long-term issues such as mold infestations. Brass and copper pipes last longer than steel ones. The polybutylene material needs special attention. Chlorine and common household cleaners corrode this type of pipes, which can lead to spontaneous failure.


  1. No operating Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Detectors:



In older homes in Vancouver, these systems may be outdated or not working properly. It’s something that goes unnoticed most of the times. When we are house hunting, we forget to ask about them and test them to check if they work or not.

The most important about choosing your new place to live is that that feels right and fits your family needs. Consider the tips we gave you as a support guide rather than a reason to obsess over what could go wrong. We want you to make an informed decision that gives you safety and peace of mind.

For many years, we have helped new homeowners in the process of renovating the electrical system of older homes in Vancouver. Contact us if you need a hand!


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