Moving into a new house or renovating an old property can become costly if your electrics begin to fail. To avoid being cut short, of both electricity and cash, read our helpful guide to electrical safety and what you need to consider when deciding whether to rewire your home.
How to spot the tell-tale signs
Electrical fires in the home are commonly caused by faulty wiring, so, seeking out the fuse box within your home and examining the condition of the cables and its housing is a good place to start.
Upon first examination, you should be able to immediately identify the condition of the fuse box.
- Does the fuse box look dated?
- Is the fuse box missing RCD protection?
- Does it have rewireable fuses instead of circuit breakers?
If the answer is yes, this is a sign that the installation is old and may require an upgrade.
Where possible, check behind switches and sockets to identify signs of heat damage or discolouration, and make note of the colour of the wiring throughout.
Modern wiring is primarily blue and brown, with the instillation housing being constructed of PVC. Older cables will be black and red in colour, while the earth cables will be solid green instead of the newer green and yellow colours. Any cables that use rubber or lead within their construction should be replaced immediately.
Update or full rewire?
A full rewire will ensure your electrical system meets the appropriate safety standards, and would further ensure the property meets Part P of building regulations. If you do not have Part P certification, this may deter potential future buyers when you come to sell the property.
Where possible, a full rewire can be avoided providing the existing cabling is sound and able to carry any additional circuits or loading. It may be possible to upgrade your current system by adding a modern consumer unit and upgrading the earthing and bonding. To do this, you will need to seek professional advice from an NICEIC or ELECSA registered contractor.
Meeting building regulations
The Part P requirement states that: “Reasonable provision shall be made in the design and installation of electrical installations in order to protect persons operating, maintaining or altering the installations from fire or injury.”
In short, electrical installations in defined areas of the home must be safe, tested and have Part P certification issued by a competent person approved to do so. Work carried out on bathrooms, kitchens, outdoors and other areas which are not certified by Part P can lead to prosecution of the installer, if incorrectly installed.
Is your electrician qualified?
It goes without saying, but you should ensure that your electrician is fully trained, certified and insured before they carry out any work on the property.
Most electricians will hold a CSCS card. This shows their competence, experience and will have their name, photograph and experience embossed on the face of the card. These cards prove their level of knowledge within the industry based on verified certifications and ensures their health and safety knowledge is updated every five years.
If they do not hold a CSCS card, check which qualifications they hold and that they belong to a reputable assurance scheme such as the NICEIC, NAPIT or ELECSA. Companies can be verified easily online with these schemes which also protect your rights in the event of electrocution, damage or fire resulting from a poor installation.
When seeking out an electrician, you should consider gathering at least three quotes for different firms and compare price, quality of the work and timescales before committing to having any work carried out.
It's almost impossible to give an accurate ballpark figure on the cost of rewiring a property as there are many of variables involved, such as the size of the property and the extent of the instillation required. However, when making enquiries, be wary of quotes of £2,500 or less regardless of the size of your property; the cheapest quote doesn’t always mean the best quality!