Domestic Electrician

When Does an Old House Need Rewiring?

Rewiring is Essential from Time to Time to Keep Your Home Safe

One of the hotspots for attention with an old home is the electrics. Does yours need rewiring? And if so, what does it involve?

Rewiring a house. It is a phrase that can strike fear into any home owner, conjuring images of disruption, mess and astronomical bills. However, it does not have to be such a nightmare, and if your wiring really is past its best, turning a blind eye could have catastrophic results for you, your family and your property.

Here, we have taken advice from a firm of Chelmsford electricians to get the low down on how to assess whether a rewire is really needed.

Visual inspection

One of the joys of British houses is that there are so many that have survived from bygone eras. The Victorians might not have had the tools and technology that we have today, but they certainly knew a thing or two about building houses that would stand the test of time.

Of course, these houses will have been through various stages of renovation and modernisation over the years. But when it comes to the electrics, any property that is more than 30 years old or so could have electrics that are no longer fit for purpose in 2018.

Most installations that were put in prior to the mid-80s used aluminium wire instead of copper. This is at least 50 times more likely to cause a fire, as it runs at a far higher temperature.

The type of wire in use is not always obvious, but there are a couple of simple checks you can make. One is to note whether plug sockets get hot during regular use – if they do, this is a sure sign of trouble. The other is to take a look at your consumer unit or fuse box. If it is an old-fashioned-looking thing mounted on wood, it is probably 50 years old or more, and definitely due for a change.

Get a survey done

The best way to learn the condition of your wiring is to ask an expert in domestic testing to conduct an EICR Survey. This stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report, and will provide definitive information about the condition of your household electrics.

It is a great way to learn how old everything is, along with if and when upgrades are needed. Landlords typically arrange these inspections as a matter of course on rental properties, but they make every kind of sense for a privately owned home too.

What’s involved in a rewire?

The EICR will provide the information you need as to what aspects of your electrical installation are showing the signs of age. In some cases, the wiring itself is fine, and you just need to upgrade the consumer unit and perhaps the socket outlets. Whether the job is large or small, it is also a great opportunity to upgrade and improve your facilities for the new electronic age, for example by adding more outlets and including USB ports for charging phones, tablets and the other gizmos that we surround ourselves with in the 21st century.

What is an EICR

Moving House? Get An EICR

Electrical Installation Condition ReportsProtect your home and family with an Electrical Installation Condition Report

An Electrical Installation Condition Report carried out by a qualified electrician will help give you and your family peace of mind in your new home.

Moving house is a stressful business. There are so many things to think about, from moving your belongings and redirecting your post to arranging home insurance and choosing colour schemes. One thing you might not have considered is getting an EICR done, but this fairly simple process could end up saving you money in the long term, and could even end up saving your life.

What is an EICR?

An Electrical Installation Condition Report is a safety certificate and report supplied by an electrician following an inspection of the electrical installation within your property.

For an EICR the electrician will carry out a comprehensive check of the underlying electrical system, looking at things such as the wiring, fuse board and earth bonding. The purpose of the check is to establish whether your electrical system is safe and regulation-compliant and to identify any potential safety issues.

Any issues that arise during the checks are categorised according to severity; potentially dangerous problems are categorised as ‘code one’ and need to be fixed or made safe there and then; ‘code two’ issues are viewed as potentially dangerous, and ‘code three’ are for less urgent issues that are not considered to be unsafe.

Following the assessment, you will be provided with a report that details all parts of your home wiring. You will also receive a quote for the electrician to fix any issues identified during the check, and it is then up to you whether you want to go ahead.

Why do I need an EICR?

An EICR is not a legal requirement, but it is highly recommended, particularly when you’re moving into a new house and don’t know the particulars of the electrical system.

Having an EICR is an important safety measure for you and your family. Each year, 350,000 people are seriously injured and 70 people are killed due to electrical faults, and they cause almost half of all UK accidental house fires. These are frightening statistics, but an EICR can help to identify potential problems before they pose a threat to your safety.

By picking up problems at an early stage, an EICR can also save you money in the longer term, enabling you to carry out minor fixes in place of larger, more costly repairs further down the line. Furthermore, in the case of a fire caused by an electrical fault many insurers will use any failure to check and maintain electrical systems as a reason to refuse a claim, so the lack of an EICR could leave you seriously out of pocket should the worst happen.

Experts recommend that you carry out an EICR on your home every five to ten years. However, you may need to do it more frequently if the electrical installation is fairly old, in the case of adverse environmental conditions such as damp or flooding, or if you have any concerns about your electric system.

Finding a provider

When choosing an electrician to carry out your EICR there are a few things to consider. The electrician should be qualified and experienced; they should hold NICEIC accreditation at approved contractor level, or, failing that, be approved by another electrical regulatory body at a similar or higher level.

Before going ahead with the report, find out how long the electrician expects to be at the property. A thorough check can take a significant amount of time, and if the electrician is only there for a short amount of time they’re not doing the job properly. As a ballpark, for a three-bed house, an EICR should take between three and five hours. Be sure also to agree the scope of the check and agree any limitations.

Our Chelmsford electricians are all NICEIC accredited and can carry out all types of domestic electric work, including EICRs. So, if you’re moving to a new home in the Essex area, get in touch to see how we can help. Getting an EICR done may seem like just one more thing on your plate, but checking your electrical installation for any faults will help to give you and your family peace of mind in your new home.

new kitchen

Electrical Installation For A New Kitchen

How To Create An Electrical Design For Your Kitchen Renovation Project

Is your new kitchen design compliant with Part P of the Building Regulations? If you’re not sure then check with a NICEIC approved electrician.

Renovating your kitchen is an exciting project that will transform the hub of your household and is likely to improve the value of your home. However, there’s more to designing a new kitchen than choosing a luxury countertop and finding space for a bespoke island. Your kitchen cannot function effectively without designing an electrical wiring plan to work behind the scenes and ensure the safety of anyone who uses it. Here are some things to consider before you begin your kitchen renovation.Read more

kitchen extension

Building An Extension? Use Qualified Electricians

A Guide To Satisfying Part P Of Building Regulations

If you’re planning an extension to your home, don’t be tempted to cut any corners with regards to electrical safety. Only use registered professionals.

Extending your property is an excellent way to increase the amount of living space you have whilst avoiding the cost and inconvenience of moving home. You might opt for a single storey extension that gives you a conservatory or luxury kitchen, or alternatively prefer to go the whole hog and invest in a double-storey construction that adds an additional bedroom and bathroom to your house. Either way, you should expect to spend around £1,000-2,000 per square metre depending on the contractors and quality of materials that you select.Read more

Rewiring A House In Essex

Renovating Your House? 5 Reasons To Upgrade The Electrics

Five reasons why upgrading the electrics is worthwhile and possible necessary when renovating a property such as fitting the latest consumer unit (fuse box) types.

Ensuring your property is safe and capable of handling electrical demands

You clearly need your house electrical system to be safe and up to the task of supplying power effectively, so it makes sense to consider upgrading your electrics when conducting a renovation. This is an ideal chance to update your electrical wiring and related equipment while likely disruption is taking place.Read more

Is Your Consumer Unit Past Its Best?

How to Tell if Yours Needs Upgrading

The consumer unit protects your home and family from electric shocks and fire. Is yours still fit for purpose, or is a disaster waiting to happen?Read more

Image of Grenfell Tower

Dangers Of Electrical Faults - Lessons To Be Learnt

Each year people are injured and killed by home electrical fires. These fires result from both large electrical system failures and homeowner errors such as the improper using of the extension cords or overloading circuits. Most electrical fires can be avoided if you only take the proper safety precautions. For any other cases, having the proper planning and safety equipment in place can help avoid deaths and injuries. In the London borough of Kensington and Chelsea, there was a dreadful disaster at Grenfell Tower that has cost lives of over 79 individuals and displaced hundreds of people. This total may rise and as electricians, we are fully aware of the dangers that fault electrical supplies can lead to. (Are condolences to those affected by this disaster). At the moment, it does appear that the fire startedRead more

Electrical Plug

How To Safely Change A Plug Fuse At Home

At Bryden Electrical Ltd, we not only pride ourselves in our Electrical services throughout Essex but also want to make sure people understand basic electrical knowledge around the home. In the first of our electrical tips and advice series, we shall be going over one of the most basic faults found in the home – changing a fuse in a plug safely.Read more