Wire Test Co.

Electrical & Property Services

Rewiring questions answered

Does my house have to be rewired at a certain age?  The answer is yes and no. Houses built and wired prior to 1960 will most likely be wired with either braided cables or VIR, vulcanised india rubber cables. Both of these are unsatisfactory for continued use for various reasons, mainly for deterioration, but houses wired in the 60s were largely on PVC cables and these can still be serviceable, but should be tested to ascertain their suitability for continued use.
My lighting circuits don't have earth wires in them, can I still use them?  Yes, but you can only use class2 or double insulated light fittings on the circuit. You cannot safely use class 1 or most metal fittings on them. This includes switch plates as well. The generally accepted solution to this problem is to have the circuit rewired with a modern cable containing a 'cpc' or 'earth' wire.
My house was built in the 1960s and the bedrooms only have one single socket each, can I use extension leads for running all my equipment? If you are running low powered equipment, ie lamps, then yes, in theory, but it's not ideal. The use of extension leads for running heaters and hairdryers etc is not advised as the socket it's connected to can overheat with prolonged use. It is far better to have additional sockets added to the circuit if this is possible, but in most 1960s houses the socket circuit served the entire house and although adding to it is possible in theory, it's better to have one circuit for upstairs and one for downstairs.
I have an old rewireable fuseboard, do I have to change it for a new one? As long as you are not adding new circuits that require RCD protection, or altering circuits that can't be protected by RCD in another way, then no. Rewireable consumer units work perfectly well on short circuit faults but have no detection for earth faults. If you want to increase the safety of your installation, especially for outdoors equipment, then a change to an RCD protected board is a smart move. If your house is rewired, then a new board would be installed by default.
My electric meter is in an awkward place, can my electrician move it to somewhere more convenient?
Generally speaking, no. Meters are owned by companies who sell you your electricity, only they can authorise the moving of a meter because it has to be disconnected from supply and opened. It is illegal to open a meter without the proper authority. However, if the meter is a sub meter, say in a flat or bedsit that is served from a common supply meter, then it could be moved as it may not belong to an energy company.

more to come later.....