We are renting a 3000 foot sq home built in 1979, we have many electrical concerns.


At least two or more outlets in every room do not work, or there is only one receptacle working. So you can get an idea of how bad it is:

  • When I use my hair dryer the lights in the bathroom and bedroom all dim
  • Today I used the High setting on my hair dryer and the entire upstairs lights went out and I had to reset the breaker.

Im not sure how many amps the home is using but it only has one column of breakers, the breakers trip often.

Heating System

We have been having problems with the heating system as well, the system turns on but the furnace doesn't seem to ignite and nothing will blow out. My roommate is a graduate from Devry - he decided he was going to replace to thermostat despite my request to call an electrician.

Should I be concerned for our safety or fear a fire could happen, or is it safe for him to replace the thermostat?

As of now he has made two trips to Home Depot and did not label the wires before removing the old thermostat. When I asked him if he knew what the different colors were he simply said they are standard. My common sense tells me there is no standard when it comes to electricity.

Thank you in advance, please let me know if I am making a bigger deal than necessary?

  • There are certainly standards when it comes to electricity, but it's more of a "trust but verify" thing. When you see a black and white wire, you can assume that black is probably hot and white is probably neutral, but don't bet your life on it 'till you test them to verify. – Johnny Jan 24 '17 at 5:53
  • Call the landlord. This is the ONLY correct answer. DO NOT mess with anything electrical in a house that you rent. – Speedy Petey Jan 24 '17 at 13:08

If you are renting a home, you should not be making changes to the electrical installation without the explicit permission of the owner.

If you are concerned about safety, you could call a reputable electrician to make a report of what is needed to 1. Make everything safe. 2. to deal with the problems you describe.

What you do then depends on where you live. You should ask the landlord to rectify the faults. If they won't do anything or delay, you might consider engaging a lawyer or moving.

Getting a lawyer to write a simple letter, with the electrical report attached is likely to be relatively inexpensive and effective.


The thermostat is considered a low voltage line and posses a very minimal threat. However the electrical panel sounds like it might have some issues. Sounds like possible double tapping or overused breakers in the panel. The outlets could be a number of issues and is a cause for concern, Especially if the wires are live but not secured in the wall. All this is speculation of course without pictures or a visual inspection. I would call an electrician, check the panel and outlets....

  • What if it's a line voltage thermostat? – Speedy Petey Jan 24 '17 at 13:07

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