I live in a (rented, 1980 built) row townhouse in the USA with slightly suspect electricity:
- A few of the outlets and light switches in the house (in various rooms) don't work at all. (Even allowing for some switched outlets.)
- My five year old desktop computer on the ground floor developed a bad power supply a few months after moving in. (After a cross-country trip in a moving van, and it is an old computer.)
- Plugging anything into one outlet on the ground floor often shorts out the rest of the stuff in the room. (We avoid using this outlet!)
- A 5-6 year old laptop's power adapter doesn't work on the ground floor, but does work upstairs. (A newer laptop works both upstairs and downstairs, so it's possibly a bad power supply on the old laptop.)
Given that the computers in question are 5-6 years old, and we jostled them across the country moving, it's entirely possible that their time had/has come and they need to be replaced. However, before I buy and plug in a new desktop (or keep using my other newish computer) with this potentially suspect power, am I right to be concerned about it? Could the damage have been caused by the times we've shorted out the downstairs room? Or maybe slowly over time by bad power?
If I had a multimeter or some other test device, could I test my outlets and/or electricity? Do I need to call an electrician? Should I just assume that my computer died of old age and replace it without worrying that the new one will meet a similar fate?