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cooker electrics/fuse box

Postby notalocal » Wed Mar 31, 2010 6:55 am

hi , i would like some info on the wiring of my cooker .
The old cooker connection failed several years ago , and to overcome the problem the electrician connected a wire directly to the fuse box , - it comes from out the top of the main fuse box accross the ceiling to a new cooker switch in the kitchen .
Im guessing the switch itself has a fuse or some kind of safety device inside ? ( its a large box with 'cooker' written on it and a big red on off switch) But this was done over 5 years ago.

Can someone please tell me if this is safe , if it is how it is supposed to be wired up ? , and if it meets regulation standards .
I was told the switch should be upgraded but i need to know if the actual way it is wired is normal aswell.

I am due to have the kitchen re wired, and brought up to standard - so i need to know if this cooker wire should be un - done , or if it is how its supposed to be connected and can be left as it is and just the swich part renewed.
The sockets in the kitchen are on two different circuits ( ie- two fuses in the fuse box need to be turned off to disconnect them all)
Can someone tell me what would be the correct way to re wire a kitchen so that i know its being done correctly without any short cuts or bodges when they come to do it.
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Postby kbrownie » Wed Mar 31, 2010 11:33 am

The cooker circuit sounds fine, in the method of installation, the cooker swith does not contain a fuse.
When you say across the ceiling I assume you mean the ceiling void, rather than fixed to the ceiling.
The design and installation of the wiring in the kitchen will mean circuits are divided in to suitable loads.
Lights, sockets, appliances, cooker could well all be on seperate circuits,
the main thing is that most new installs will need RCD protection, so if your fuse box is outdated, it will need bringing up to current standards.
It will come under part p of building regs and by law must be notifed.
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Postby ericmark » Wed Mar 31, 2010 12:55 pm

Many years ago domestic premises has two meters one for lights and one for sockets and one could be fined for using the lighting supply for sockets. Post war there has been continual improvement with a few ups and downs where those writing the regulations went overboard. But basic system is as the power comes into a house it goes through a large fuse then an isolator which may be combined in a box or boxes with a selection of automatic disconnection devices which allow smaller cables to then be used to supply power to point of use.
The electrician will when installing the systems do some tests and issue paperwork with the results of these tests and when adding or removing items to or from the system this paperwork is in theory checked before one starts and then added to when complete.
This will give one the regulation number followed for example BS7671:2001 or BS7671:2008 for example.
It is only by knowing what standard was complied with last time that anyone will know what work will be required to up-grade to latest standard.
If one assumes cables buried in walls a house built today would have RCD protection on all circuits and likely there would be at least 6 circuits more likely 10 or 12 circuits.
But my granddads house would have had no RCD’s and two fuse boxes single fuse for all lights and a fuse for each of the two 15A sockets installed.
So bringing a kitchen up to standard could mean changing a fuse box/consumer unit and all new cables. It could mean installing a sub main and a mini consumer unit in kitchen. It also may mean just renewing tatty sockets. It all depends what is already fitted.
Because it is a kitchen the local authority building control have to have a record of all new circuits fitted under Part P regulations either direct or through registered electrician so really there is very little without reading all the paper work anyone can tell you as to what will be involved.
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Postby notalocal » Thu Apr 01, 2010 2:13 pm

hi thanks for the responses ,
kbrownie - the wire is stuck to the ceiling , not in the void , ..its cased in plastic trunking , from out the top of fuse box, then goes through a hole in the wall, then all round the room in the plastic casing down the wall to the switch.
I appreciate that the electrician should know what needs doing , but
I really needed to know exactly what they need to do when they come , as im caught between the housing association electricians and the electricity board , when they come out to review the house , they say ' this is wrong , and this needs upgrading '.
I will try to explain -
It took me 5 years to get the two to communicate so i could get a new main board , Because both boxes had to be done together ( one being swebs , other belonging to the housing association )
It was not capable of the load, and kept blowing things,
this was mainly due to the housing association putting in electric heating without upgrading the main large fuse.
I had my fuse box renewed before then , and again on that day , by the housing association .
( the one he removed had fuses all burnt black which he said was not good and could have caused a serious fire ) he said he could not move the fuse box into the cupboard ( to be next to the new main board the sweb replaced) because of this wire coming out the top , to the cooker that had been put in years before .
then a few months later - sweb did a routine check, and said that the ( new) fuse box needed upgrading and would send a report to the housing.
Since then , the housing are offering to update the kitchen and rewire the kitchen is part of that.
The reports that go from sweb back to the housing never get acted on ,and the surveyer says every time ( 15 years now) that sweb are wrong. ( sweb said the system was dangerously overloaded when they put the heating in , but still no report got there )
So im left having no option but to try find out myself, so i can tell the electricians when they come what they should be doing , as they and sweb seem to work from a different rule book!
I really need to know what that should be doing to bring it up to standard, as im pretty certain they will try to do as little as possible.
Years ago when they came to rewire the whole house , they simply replaced each of the socket covers, and yet on paper ( according to the surveyer) it says it was a complete rewire.
So with all respect , the paperwork really is not going to help even if they can find it.
Are the local authority building control likely to be seperate from the housing association , i know they have thier own building control department , so does it mean they are self regulated ?
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Postby ericmark » Fri Apr 02, 2010 3:02 am

Something seems wrong. The supply authority will normally fit an isolator and then the electrician connects to the isolator. In old houses the isolator was not fitted and the electrician would leave tails for the supply authority to connect. The problem is under electricity at work act electricians are not permitted to work on live systems so they have to be able to disconnect the power. Unless the supply authority provides an isolator the only way is for the electrician to draw the supply authorities fuse. However this is also illegal so the electrician is often pressurised into breaking the law.
One the supply authority fit a isolator then all before is there concern and all after is domestic electricians concern. There is nothing to stop the electrician fitting an isolator and likely that is the way one would do a new house but as you have already found it all hinges on supply authority as they have to remove supply and re-connect supply to be able to fit an isolator.
Most houses have a 100A supply and where electric heating is used this may be exceeded however the supply authority may well not agree to a larger supply. In the past I have fitted a 100A fused three phase isolator and used two or three consumer units each rated at 100A then it is an easy conversion between single phase, split phase or three phase supplies.
However this is not DIY and I will assume a housing association means the house is not yours? I would think in that case you would not be permitted to touch the electrics and although it may be of general interest it is not your problem and you have to leave the owner and supply authority to do what they want. With county owned housing they do have some odd ideas. I know in this area when a tenant leaves all fancy lights are all ripped out and standard ceiling roses put in to replace them and ex-tenant is charged. One would think since the lights were better they would have been left in but no everything is returned to standard.
With this in mind I would not recommend any tenant changing any of the electrical system. Especially in a kitchen where Part P requires the council to be informed first or use a registered electrician. If you alter any wiring in the kitchen, bathroom or garden without Part P then you have broken the law so really nothing you can do.
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Postby notalocal » Sat Apr 03, 2010 7:57 am

All very interesting
Thanks for the info , maybe you can tell me what an isolator looks like ??
I was not intending to do any DIY on the electrics .
If you read my posts properly i am trying to get some info to check if what the housing association does with the electrics in the kitchen is correct , safe and standard procedure.
I was trying to find out if this cooker wire connected directly to the fuse box may have caused the fuses to burn out, and why sweb were saying the newly fitted fuse box needed updating.
Logic would say , that the housing may have fitted one not compatable with whatever sweb fitted.
Some specific info on what the two boards should have on them , might help me !!
I realise its not my house , and not my 'business' , but i do live here and so if it concerns me particularly as the fuses were all burnt out in the last fuse box , and it was obviously unsafe.

I thought this may be a usefull place to get some specific info on how it should be , but its clearly a minefild , literally.
Maybe i should tell them to rip it all out and go solar!
I will try and get someone from sweb to come look to check it out and insist they leave me a report with instructions for the housing associations electrician.
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