I have just bought a house which was built in 1935. I have always had new houses prior to this and understand how the electircs should be. In this old house they are of course different. Can someone tell me how the whole thing works? It looks like one wire runs to a room (plugs) and then just spurs and spurs again.
Over time there have been many improvements to the regulations and also new equipment and materials which have resulted also in change.
For example back in 1950 near all light fitting were wood or plastic and there was not it was considered a need for earth wires to lighting circuits. But by 1966 this had changed and the regulations changed to match.
Clearly a fitting made an fitted in 1950 did not suddenly become dangerous in 1966 but before fitting new metal light fittings one would need to change wiring.
In more modern times there have been huge changes to bathroom wiring mainly due to the interdiction of the RCD.
Also of course old rubber wiring degrades and to some extent even the PVC can leach out plasterzier and become brittle so any disturbing of cables can produce problems.
Add to this both the cowboy electrician and the DIY man and over some time the house electrics can get worse and worse.
As a result the IET (The main body who issue regulations) have for many years recommended that every 10 years or on change of occupier which ever is sooner with a domestic property that an "Electrical Installation Condition Report" is completed. This was called an "Periodic Inspection Report".
The inspection will not highlight all faults but it will in the main find where spurs and taken from spurs and general wiring condition. To do the report the electrician both uses his eyesight, removing the odd fitting to check and also some very cleaver and expensive meters. Even if you hired the meters (about £75) you would be unlikely to make much sense of the reading.
I realise that saying to some one get an electrician to check one home seems a lot of money just to get a report with no work done. However it is really the only way. I still can't understand why solicitors are willing to let people buy a house without insisting on a report first.
There are plug in units that will give some indication with a series of LED's as to problems often used by allied trades to protect themselves I know many gas fitters use them. But the earth loop impedance meter used by electricians gives the skilled man quite an insight and I would strongly recommend what was called a "PIR" is done on your house.
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