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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 1:53 am 
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Hello folks

I have just bought a house built in 1965. It has a new(ish) consumer unit and looking at a couple of sockets it seems they are red and black. Very stupidly I didn't look at the light wiring but I will go and do that tomorrow. The electricity meter is old and has one of those things whizzing around inside it.

I am going to get an EICR and ask the electrician if it would be a good idea to rewire and if I don't when is that liable to be necessary. Various people have told me that wiring could be good for 20 - 40 years (depending on which property I was referring to at the time) so if this wiring is the original from 1965 then it is a no-brainer.

Does anyone have any advice for me or can tell me how to know if the house has been rewired in the interim?


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:14 am 
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I think it was 1966 when the rules changed for earths to lights, so you may have no earth to light fittings, this does not mean you need a rewire but it does mean your limited to the type of lights you can use.

You also have no RCD protection on the consumer unit it may take RCBO's in that consumer unit, I am not sure. Also the hole in the top of consumer unit does not comply, but a dollop of silicon sealant will cure that.

Some faults that we have to list on an EICR are daft, read this guide page 6 inadequate provision of socket outlets to my mind is not part of ones remit when doing an EICR as it may change two minutes after you leave, one is only really looking at the installation not at what is plugged in.

Every few years the regulations change, this does not make things dangerous, because they no longer comply, but unless one kept every back issue of the wiring regulations one would not know if something was allowed at the time the wiring was done, so one has to note anything no longer complying even when there is really no danger.

The RCD is an exception to the rule in a way, we have got use to RCD protection and we tend to expect it. When my wife back in 1995 bought a lawn mower the shop insisted she needed a RCD plug in unit, which I took straight back as my house had RCD protection on all circuits. But today the same shop would not try to sell you one with the lawn mower as we now expect it to be fitted to the house.

Years ago an electric drill with a metal body was earthed, today they are often not earthed so if you drill through a cable you can get a nasty shock. Back in early 1990's my father-in-law said I would never forgive myself if my son got an electric shock injuring him because I had not fitted a RCD, the RCD will not stop you getting a shock, it will however limit how long you get a shock for, and when equipment slowly degrades it will trip before you find out the hard way.

However I tried fitting RCD protection to my mothers house, mine built 1980 no problem, but mothers built 1954 the RCD would not stop in, it had old rubber cable and we had to rewire to be able to use a RCD.

If your not into DIY and have no children then you could likely live in that house for 50 years without needing RCD protection. And my RCD protection at home cost me a freezer full of food when it tripped when we were away.

I would want to live in the house for a year before a rewire if I could, as then you see what is wanted. Did this house in a hurry while mother was in hospital, many of the sockets are too low, once furniture is in place we can't reach the sockets. So in spite of only just being rewired, I have 1 meter long extension leads galore because can't reach the sockets.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 08, 2017 11:09 pm 
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Thank you so much, such a lot of detail! I am just having a laugh at the inadequate provision of sockets picture - yessssss this is what I want to avoid. The house is going to be a short-term let (holiday let) so I have to assume everyone who stays in there is an idiot. If it doesn't need rewiring I understand about what not to use for a lighting circuit with no earth. I can't wait a year as I have to make all these decisions now and get the refurb done. Once it is done I don't want to ruin the decor for quite a long time so I am trying to get this right first time.

I know what an RCD is but didn't realise that equipment nowadays was possibly worse in that respect than in the good old days. I have got one of those trip-out things on my lawn mower and in a tenanted house I had to put this kind of protection in for the two most likely sockets to be used for outside equipment. If it was just me living in the house it wouldn't need RCD protection because I am paranoid about that kind of thing but I have to protect my guests.

As regards a rewire, if it is necessary/adviseable I will do all the sensible things like have the sockets higher up the wall, put in a shaver socket, get the internet cables and the aerials into the walls, put loads of double sockets in and have some with USB thingys in so people can recharge their mobiles, put extractor fans in the kitchen and bathroom, maybe replace the PIV as I don't know how old it is. If you can think of anything else that makes sense in a rewire I would love to hear.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 10:20 am 
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We all learn from our mistakes, or at least we should do, my son rewired his own house (we are both electricians) and he really went OTT, before fitting the loft ladders and hatch he got the server set up in the loft space, he assumed he would need a LAN output at every radiator to control the electronic thermostatic radiator valves (eTRV) however it transpires you can't buy hard wired versions, they are only sold as wireless.

Both him and myself have done this many times, for the TV from aerial it went down to living room, then back to loft and a booster splitter able to work with the digieye used with sky, in the days of 14" TV's this was great, what ever was being watched in the living room could also be watched in every other room in the house. However sky boxes have changed and no longer is there a through provided to do this, likely because using 32" TV's in the bedroom the quality is no longer good enough, so most those cable will be redundant once the sky box is upgraded.

I did the same with the fax machine, in the early days of fax machines it would auto disconnect the phones when a fax came in, so I used 8 core alarm cable and double phone sockets around the house, normally the phone was plugged into right hand one so when there was a fax it became dead, but had the option to use left hand one if the fax machine was not being used. Now the whole lot is redundant, cordless phones, no fax machine and broad band has changed the lot.

The only real option is conduit so you can change what is in it, at least my house was never wired with the old coax LAN system.

With sockets if you put them high so accessible when furniture is in place, then there will be no furniture on that wall and it will look silly, put it 450 mm high and there will be furniture on the wall and an extension lead always plugged it because you can't get to the socket. Some Sod wrote a law to that effect.

Part M seems daft some times for example "Consumer units are mounted so that the switches are 1350-1450mm above floor level." well in this house they are under the stairs and to move them would mean the incoming supply would need moving. Switches, sockets, stopcocks and controls have their centre line between 450mm and 1200mm above floor level and a minimum of 300mm (measured horizontally) from an inside corner. I have a socket within that 300mm very handy for the vacuum cleaner as I can do three rooms without unplugging.

However all the Parts of the building regulations vary through the UK, England has changed them, and Wales did not follow suit, Scotland was always different. From what I have read Scotland is a problem, with EICR being compulsory when the property is let out. Since I live in Wales it does not affect me.
However I am sure this house would have some codes raised if an EICR was done today even when only rewired last year.

With LED bulbs fitted they are unlikely to blow, so any tenant in the house has no real reason for touching the lights, however if any one did do something daft then likely you would be held responsible.

All we can do is read court cases, and the results seem to always be in favour of the tenant. There was one where the tenant complained about the electrics before moving in, the landlady engaged an electrician, the tenants however could not wait and in spite of knowing there was likely a problem moved in before the electrician had got around to testing the house, a faulty fire brought in by the tenants did not trip the power because of a fault, and the landlady was found guilty.

Lucky there are very few deaths due to electrocution, but each time you read the report one has to question the courts. There was one where poor workmanship by plaster, plumber, and electrician resulted in a death, the foreman electrician asked a semi-skilled guy to plug in a tester and record results, it seems he did not get the results expected so asked lads in the tea hut what he should put down, so he made up the results, to my mind he was guilty, he had a simple task, plug it in, write down results, if meter says OL then write down OL, but the court blamed the foreman for not using skilled labour.

So as a landlord the idea is to pass the buck, get an EICR done, and do all it says so if god forbid some thing does go wrong, you have some one to point the finger at. And of course make sure they are insured. Even the big boys get it wrong from time to time, you may be lucky and lights are earthed, but although owner occupied I would not worry, for holiday let really needs a rewire if no earths to lights.

If I was owner occupier of that house as the pictures show, I would see if any RCBO's will fit that consumer unit, and if so fit them and consider that's good enough, but to let out it's another story.

Part M building regulations give where sockets and switches need to be located,



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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 11:20 am 
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Thank you ericmark
I am now going to read part M and have a ponder. I am also going to think about all of this in terms of conduit rather than what is in them. The furniture will be where I put it unless the guests decide to move it around and to be honest it is only a small bungalow so there isn't a lot of choice. Thank you for sharing your experiences. :thumbright:
I always approach something with the "Well your honour....." reply in my mind


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 4:46 pm 
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Wandadorff wrote:
Thank you ericmark
I am now going to read part M and have a ponder. I am also going to think about all of this in terms of conduit rather than what is in them. The furniture will be where I put it unless the guests decide to move it around and to be honest it is only a small bungalow so there isn't a lot of choice. Thank you for sharing your experiences. :thumbright:
I always approach something with the "Well your honour....." reply in my mind


Part M tells you the heights of switches and sockets in new builds.



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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 12:45 pm 
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OnlyMe wrote:
Wandadorff wrote:
Thank you ericmark
I am now going to read part M and have a ponder. I am also going to think about all of this in terms of conduit rather than what is in them. The furniture will be where I put it unless the guests decide to move it around and to be honest it is only a small bungalow so there isn't a lot of choice. Thank you for sharing your experiences. :thumbright:
I always approach something with the "Well your honour....." reply in my mind


Part M tells you the heights of switches and sockets in new builds.


Slightly off topic - I thought re-wires, while advisable, didn't have to follow the new build socket heights etc?



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