House wiring over the years

90s Home Wiring: Copper, Romex, and the Dawn of Modern Connectivity.

During the 1990s, residential electrical systems adhered to standards that reflected the technological advancements of the era. Here’s a concise overview of the typical wiring practices of that period:

Electrical Wiring: Homes were predominantly wired with copper conductors, with non-metallic sheathed cable, commonly known as Romex, being the standard. Romex, characterized by its insulated copper conductors encased in a durable plastic sheath, was widely used for various electrical circuits, including those for appliances.

Outlets and Switches: The installation of electrical outlets and switches involved the use of plastic boxes embedded in walls. Duplex outlets were standard, offering the convenience of multiple plug-ins, while switches were strategically placed to control lighting within rooms.

Circuit Breaker Panels: The distribution of electricity within homes was managed by circuit breaker panels, a significant shift from the older fuse box systems. These panels provided crucial protection against electrical overload and short circuits by automatically disconnecting power in such events.

Lighting: The period saw lighting fixtures wired with standard electrical wiring, predominantly in ceilings and walls, using primarily incandescent bulbs. The late 1990s also introduced more energy-efficient options like compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs) and early iterations of LED bulbs.

Telephone Lines: With landline communication being prevalent, homes were equipped with telephone wiring, utilizing twisted pair copper wires and outlets in multiple rooms to facilitate connectivity.

Television Wiring: The era also embraced the widespread use of coaxial cables for television, accommodating the expanding cable television services by wiring homes to connect to these networks.

Data Wiring (Ethernet): The advent of personal computing and the internet in the 1990s led to the introduction of Ethernet cables in some homes, particularly newer or custom-built ones, for networking. While not as widespread as today, this marked the beginning of home networking infrastructure.

While the technologies and materials for home wiring have evolved since 1990s, the foundational principles and methods remain largely unchanged. Modern homes, however, are increasingly integrating more sophisticated systems such as structured wiring, smart home technologies, and renewable energy solutions, reflecting the ongoing evolution in residential electrical standards.

Bring your homes electrical up to code and into the 21st century

  • Upgrade the service to a minimum of 200 amps.
  • Install a new panel with people protection features.
  • Implement arc fault circuit interrupters and ground fault interrupters (GFIs).
  • Conduct whole-home rewiring.
  • Remove or deactivate all knob-and-tube wiring.
  • Install overhead lighting in living rooms.
  • Add ceiling fans in bedrooms for enhanced comfort.
  • Incorporate recessed lights and undercabinet lighting in kitchens.
  • Enhance the property with exterior lighting.
  • Increase the number of receptacles in all rooms and outdoor areas.
  • Install interconnected smoke detectors for improved safety.

Don't hesitate to contact us for more information.

~ Chris Coffin, 4th Generation Master Electrician &
Owner of Coffin Electric

Frequently Asked Questions

Homes during this period predominantly used copper conductors with non-metallic sheathed cable, commonly referred to as Romex. This type of cable, known for its insulated copper conductors within a plastic sheath, was the go-to for various electrical circuits.

Outlets and switches were installed using plastic boxes embedded in walls. Duplex outlets, allowing multiple devices to be plugged in, were standard, and switches were strategically placed to control room lighting.

Circuit breaker panels became the norm for distributing electricity within homes, offering protection against electrical overloads and short circuits by automatically cutting off power when necessary.

Lighting fixtures were typically wired with standard electrical wiring and used incandescent bulbs. The late 1990s saw the introduction of more energy-efficient lighting options, such as CFLs and early LED bulbs.

With landline communication prevalent, homes were wired with telephone lines using twisted pair copper wires, with outlets in various rooms to support telephones.

Coaxial cables were widely used for television wiring, enabling homes to connect to expanding cable television services.

The rise of personal computers and the internet in the 1990s led to the introduction of Ethernet cables in some homes, especially newer or custom-built ones, marking the early days of home networking.

While the core principles and methods of home wiring have remained consistent, modern homes are increasingly incorporating advanced systems like structured wiring, smart home technologies, and renewable energy solutions.