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Getting electrician to cover cost of new repairs

Postby photosynthesize » Sun Dec 06, 2020 11:58 am

Last week an electrician/plumber fixed my immersion heater. While he and his assistant were working on it, they tripped the lights in my flat repeatedly. Last night, all the power in the flat went out. This has never happened before in 8 years of living here and I'm pretty sure it's probably related to the immersion heater work.

The issue is that my electric oven was in use at the time, and now it doesn't heat up. I've got an engineer from the manufacturer coming in a couple of days at a cost of £120.

I've asked the electrician/plumber to come back and take a look at what's happened. I guess my question is, if it's his fault, do you think he'll cover the cost of my oven repair if the manufacturer engineer is able to confirm it was caused by the electrical work he did? Is there anything I can do to help this go smoothly?
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Postby ericmark » Sun Dec 06, 2020 12:37 pm

I can't see any way working on the immersion heater can cause any damage to an oven.

I can see how to avoid turning whole power off, an electrician will try to work switching only the line supply to the items being worked on, and while working on them earth to neutral could trip a general RCD.

I also know that RCD's can get stuck, there is normally a notice on them to say test every month or other period to ensure they have not stuck, and that if it had stuck, being operated a few times will likely have freed it off, so now working as it should.

Tripping the power will stop an oven working, as the clock will need resetting, however it should not cause any damage.

Homes can have 1, 2, or many RCD's, in the main with only one either it is 100 mA or only covers sockets if 30 mA, with two the idea is in any room sockets and lights are not on the same RCD, so if there is a fault which could cause a shock, you don't also get plunged into darkness, however lights are traditionally split upper and lower, where sockets in order not to need extension leads up/down stairs are split side to side, so often with just two RCD's it is impossible to split so lights and sockets are not on the same RCD in all rooms.

So the better idea is to use RCBO's which are RCD and MCB combined, but they cost more, so many homes still have only 2 RCD's my home has 14 RCBO's fitted.

One can hardly blame the electricians if to save money only one or two RCD's have been fitted and you wanted power while he was working so in spite of the danger to him, he has worked live (neutral is considered as a live wire) to allow you to continue to have power, technically he should isolate and you can't fully isolate with an MCB, so either he should have turned off the RCD or isolator before working, we often do take a chance and only turn off the line, and not turning off neutral was no danger to you only him. He is permitted not to turn off neutral with a home on a TN supply, but as you found out, neutral - earth faults can cause the RCD to trip.
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Postby photosynthesize » Sun Dec 06, 2020 1:00 pm

Um... I understood about 10% of that. I don't know what any of your acronyms mean either.

Working on the immersion heater could cause damage to an oven if the work on the immersion heater was poorly done and caused the whole flat to trip, including the oven which was on at the time and now has a burnt out element.

I didn't ask him to work dangerously, if he chose to do that, it's his lookout.
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Postby Mr White » Sun Dec 06, 2020 4:08 pm

I am trying to understand why you are asking on a public forum what a 3rd party (The electrician/plumber) will or will not do, you should ask him.

My guess to your problem would be in what you said.

photosynthesize wrote: The issue is that my electric oven was in use at the time, and now it doesn't heat up.

It looks like the oven heating element internally got too hot, shorted to earth tripping your RCD, plunging the house into darkness. Nothing to do with the immersion heater.

An RCD (It stands for Residual Current Device) in plain English it is an automatic switch that should anything that it "watches" becomes live, it switches off instantly.
When your oven element failed, the RCD saw that as a life-threatening danger, so it turned everything off.
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