Reduce the risk of electrical problems: Book an electrical inspection before buying

An electrical inspection checks the wiring and accessories in your home. It compares the installation with the latest wiring regulations as well. Wiring might be safe but may need work before making amendments. Useful for home buyers wanting to extend or convert the loft for example. Wiring and accessories wear and age so it’s wise to test them before purchasing a property.

What does it cost to inspect a three bedroom house in Cardiff?

The level and quality of inspection varies along with the cost. Call three electricians and it’s likely you will get three different prices! The amount tested will depend on the inspector. It’s not uncommon to see “LIM” (for limitation) or “Not worked On” within condition reports. As a homebuyer, do you want an electrician for a quick look around, or a thorough check?
Some home buyers assume the lender makes checks as part of their survey. Will yours? Imagine moving in and discovering problems with the electrics.
No one wants to find their perfect house has electrical problems, but its better to find out before making an offer. Getting the electrical installation checked helps budget for any work necessary.
Does your dream home need the electrical installation checking?
Brand new homes do not need a buyer inspection because:
1. Of new wiring and accessories.
2. The house has been tested and certified upon completion.
Assuming the house isn’t brand-new although had electrical work: ask for the paperwork. Minor work and electrical installation certificates will clarify what has been done, when. It may be the seller offers re-assurance no problems exist, but without paperwork to confirm: do you want to take a chance?

Typical faults and recommendations highlighted on an electrical inspection

1. No rcd protection. RCDs reduce the risk of electrocution and fire. Fuses and circuit breakers do not. No rcd protection means an outdated electrical installation.
2. Lack of (or undersized) main bonding. Extraneous conductive parts (like gas and water pipes) need to be connected to the main earth terminal. The safety of the UK electrical safety system depends on this.
3. No earth on the lighting circuit. Older wiring for lights did not carry a circuit protective conductor. Historically light fittings were wooden or plastic and did not need an earth connection. Most light fittings on the market today will need an earth connection.
4. Low insulation resistance readings. On a new piece of cable no measurable connectivity exists across wires inside. Over time, the reading becomes measurable as the insulation breaks down. Low readings can indicate worn or problematic wiring.
5. Bad working practice. Anyone can buy electrical items including consumer units, showers and socket outlets. Has your dream home had anyone working on the electrical installation?
6. Non-working items. Outside lights, sockets, extractor fans – in-fact anything which can be-lived without might be waiting for the new owner to resolve!
7. Lack of socket outlets.
8. Light switches on the wrong side of the door opening (where the swing of the door has been changed).
9. Exposed live parts: such as lighting connections inside the loft space and damaged socket outlets.
10. Misconfigured wiring. Cable should be able to carry larger current than the overload protection. Broken ring final circuits carry risk of overload. Overload can result in the cable temperature rising posing a fire risk.
11. No main earth. Do you live in Pentyrch, Creigiau, Bonvilston or Cowbridge? You could be responsible for the earth for the installation. Electrical items will work as expected posing a risk to the user.

Electrical installation condition report scoring: Satisfactory and unsatisfactory

Any defects noted will determine the outcome. The inspector will assign a code based on the severity of the fault found:
Code C1: Items needing immediate attention.
Code C2: Items may pose danger in the near future.
FI: Area(s) needing Further Investigation.
Code C3: Areas of improvement and comparison with the latest regulations.
The wiring in your new home might be safe, but require additional work if:
– You are planning on modifying or installing a new kitchen.
– You would like to convert the loft in to a bedroom or office.
– You would like to replace the bathroom suite.
– You are planning on having an extension built.
– New cabling or circuits require a replacement consumer unit.
This is because the wiring regulations change over time to help reduce the risk of electrocution and fire. Purchasing a house in Danescourt built in 1990? The electrical system will be 1990 standards. Might be safe, but if you want to add a shower circuit or alter the kitchen then it might need extra work.

Typical life of wiring used inside homes is twenty-five to thirty years. This does depend on the installation method and what’s happened after. The insulation covering the copper conductors fail over time. Cables installed close to central heating pipes for example will cause wiring to fail earlier. Electrical components need inspecting the same way a gas boiler does.

If you noticed a radiator dripping you would call a plumber. No one can see electricity leaking. Cables are inside walls, joists above the ceiling and out of sight. Removing sockets, light switches and the consumer unit cover allows a visual inspection of the wiring. The latest wiring is brown and blue and made from solid copper. It has a PVC cover compared to the older cable with steel conductors and rubber sheath.

Electricians use test instruments to assess the condition of the wiring. Insulation resistance testing reveals how serviceable cable and accessories measure at the time of test. On a brand new installation the reading is very high because there is no measurable reading between conductors. Over time the reading drops. Faulty wiring increases the risk of electrical-related injury and fire.

The electrical inspection process

Electrical installation condition reporting (formerly periodic inspection) comprises:.
A visual inspection.
Looking inside the consumer unit and socket outlets allows the inspector to check the cable and its connections. The idea of sampling accessories is to build a picture of the installation. If the cable and connections are good on five items that’s a good sign. If signs of old cable or bad working practice are present, the inspector may decide to dig a little deeper. Although electricians cannot see through walls or ceilings a through visual check will paint a valuable picture.

Have you watched your vehicle service in the garage? Mechanics use a torque wrench to check wheel nuts haven’t worked loose since its last inspection. Electricians check the screws forming the connection inside your consumer unit upon inspection. Poor connections can start fires. For the visual inspection electricians look for age, condition, alterations and obvious problems.
The circuit protection should state what it is protecting. Labels can be missing and incorrect. If your tumble dryer burst in to flames you would like to see “kitchen sockets” so you could remove the power. Once the circuit information has been gathered the testing process can begin.
Testing
The inspector will use calibrated test equipment to carry out a series of tests.
Dead tests (power removed from the circuit) and live testing. With all the tests complete the requester will know:.
* If the earthing and bonding is satisfactory.
* If the wiring is at a level that needs further investigation.
* If the circuit protection would operate in the necessary time frame to prevent electrocution and fire.

The testing sequence
The first test confirms the main earth is functional and isn’t relying on the gas or water pipe. The second check is to confirm polarity; the live and neutral are in the correct place. The series of tests that follow will clarify the condition of the wiring inside the walls and under the floors. Test equipment can measure current leaking between conductors and circuit breakers would trip should a fault arise.

Power for the whole property will be off whilst some tests take place (known as dead testing). So your landline will work, the broadband equipment won’t. Something to bear in mind if you work from home and rely on an Internet connection! The total amount of time the inspection takes will depend on:.
1. The number of consumer units – some properties have two.
2. The total number of circuits.
3. The size of the property.
4. If the circuit protection labels are present and correct (working out what belongs to which circuit can take some time!).
5. The amount of the installation being tested. In a domestic setting, it is common practice to test all the circuits. In a commercial environment with lots of circuits its typical to test in groups. So group A on one inspection, group B on the next, group C on the following test. This way all circuits are being testing in rotation.

When completed I use the NICEIC online form to compile the results. Observations listed, recommendations and test results. You will receive the report in PDF format with a serial number. I also provide a laymens report explaining what (if anything) needs to make the installation safe and up-to-date. Customers have told me this is useful because the forms we use are for electrical contractors and not easy to read.
Get in touch if purchasing a property in the Cardiff area and want a thorough inspection of the electrical installation.

You can help speed up the inspection process (and reduce the cost!) by providing previous electrical certificates and condition reports. Useful because:.
* It would highlight if something listed had become worse since the last inspection.
* It helps confirm the circuit layout – and if anything has altered since the last test.
* It confirms electrical work has been carried out by registered electricians.
I will need access to the whole property including the loft and detached garage if power is present.

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