Electrical installations age and few realise an inspection is something that should be scheduled with an electrician to ensure the fixed wiring and accessories are safe for continued use in the same way you would a gas boiler.
Inspecting the fixed wiring will help reveal risk of electrocution, fire and compare it to the latest British safety standards (BS7671) that electricians keep up-to-date with.
When the inspection (referred to as Electrical Installation Condition Reporting) has been completed you will receive a report stating no problems were found, or what is required to make the installation safe and in line with current wiring standards. Often electrical wiring is safe but requires upgraded earthing and bonding for example before adding a shower or extra sockets.
So why check electric installations?
You may spot a leaking radiator, but no-one can see electricity – only testing will reveal if cables are breaking down, overloaded and have loose connections. A faulty electrical installation may mean there is an increased risk of electrocution or fire. So if your next test date is due, or you are considering mortgaging a property: get in touch. I’m the registered electrician for through cost-effective electrical inspections in Cardiff you can rely on.
The visual part sometimes discovers loose connections, exposed live parts and undersized cables many going unnoticed until a problem arises like flickering lights, or a warm socket outlet.
Testing will highlight if any of the cables are breaking down internally, overloaded and if the circuits will disconnect in the required time should a fault arise.
Residual current devices (RCDs for short) are life-saving devices and these are also checked – not just the test button which occupiers should do every 3 months, but the time taken to disconnect the power using calibrated equipment simulating a fault.
The electrical inspection process; what to expect on the day
Previous paperwork should be made available so the electricians carrying out the work can compare test results to see if something has changed drastically. Access to the whole property is necessary including the loft and outbuildings if there is mains power present.
I walk around the property to get an idea of the age, condition and evidence of any electrical alterations and any obvious problems. I then check the consumer unit for circuit identification: The circuits should be labelled to provide information on what circuit protection covers what sections of the property, but often aren’t. This isn’t just necessary for the electricians notes, but the occupiers too. If you found a cracked socket you would like to think the circuit protection labelled “sockets” would remove the power when switched off, but labels are often missing and cause problems in the event that emergency isolation is needed. Once the circuit information has been gathered the electrical inspection and testing can begin.
The electrical safety test procedure
The first test is to confirm that the main earth is satisfactory and not relying on extraneous parts such as the water or gas pipe and polarity to confirm that the live and neutral are correctly placed. Once these two vital checks have been completed, the series of tests that follow will provide an indication of the general condition of the fixed wiring (the wiring buried in walls, under floorboards and above the ceilings) by accurately measuring whether any electrical current is leaking between its cores, and if the over-current protection device would disconnect in the time required by the wiring regulations.
Often photos are included in the report to help show the requester any faults found.
Bear in mind power for the whole property will need to be switched off whilst some tests take place. So although your landline will still work, the broadband equipment will not. The amount of time the whole process takes will depend on the size of the property, labelling of the consumer unit, the number of circuit and the results from initial testing.
If you would like your electrical installation checked for because its due, peace of mind or contemplating mortgaging a property: get in touch to arrange a thorough, fair-priced electrical inspection with documented report and follow-up telephone call/email today.