Looking for some advice. I am about to refurb my house and the upstairs lighting wiring looks very old. I have attached a photo. Would it be a good idea to have the wiring updated along with the refurb and if so would this need to be a complete house re wire?
It looks like there has been a bad connection on the live wires, signs of burning, so that ceiling rose needs changing ASAP.
However as to general question, the regulations have changed many times, they are not law, but an electrician normally has a scheme provider so he can self certify work, and his contract with the scheme provider normally means he has to follow BS7671 wiring regulations as if they are law.
So for any buried cable in wall, or socket outlet he needs RCD protection, so normally first job will be a new consumer unit, (CU) these are type tested distribution units that must be used when an ordinary person is in charge, so does not need to be a CU in a factory but does in the home, these replace the fuse box of yesteryear.
Today they need to be metal to resist fire, and you have in essence two options, or mixture of the two. So it can have just two RCD's protecting all house, or it could have RCBO's which are the RCD and MCB (overload) combined. Some times no real option but fit all RCBO's where lights are split up/down and sockets split side to side or front to back, idea is a socket fault will not cause lights to fail.
So first thing is decide if CU on cheap, or if all RCBO's and house size makes a difference, I am all RCBO's in this house, as last house had two RCD's and over the 25 years fitted we have lost 3 freezers full of food. Each RCD is rated 30 mA so with 12 RCBO's there can be a 360 mA leak before it trips, unlikely that would happen, but with two 60 mA so more likely two RCD's will trip for no reason than 12 as in my house. Hence why I have 12.
So you have to decide if you want to penny pinch or not, in some cases where you have a TT supply the double pole RCBO's can be expensive, £40 each, but with TN supply not too bad think I paid £10 each for single pole. And I have no RCD's fitted as built into RCBO so consumer unit is 4 modules shorter. I also have an isolator independent to consumer unit so whole CU can be switched off to work on it.
You will need to talk over the options with your electrician, so I am trying to give you some time to think about the options. Also if CU changed first, house wiring wants checking, with mothers old house wired 1954 we could not get a RCD to hold in with old wiring, bit late to find out that after CU changed.
When mothers house was re-wired I stipulated all sockets to be on ring final, so I knew I could extend from any socket, I also permitted wiring in trunking in corner of room, but no where else. Must consider costs, and to demand all wires are buried specially when some of the central heating pipes are not would have increased cost.
Heights of sockets is another consideration, my son says I got it wrong, I had sockets near windows just above window sill height as can still use them when furniture is against the wall, this house nearly every socket has an extension lead in it as furniture hides the sockets, now it the time to think about it.
Stair ways also how will light reach them, I stipulated landing and hall lights where stairs were so they also lit the stairs, may even want emergency lights on stairs so with power cut you can see to leave house, remember with RCD protection likely in event of a fire they will trip.
You will likely need to be flexible, you want an electrician you can trust, not just the cheapest, in my case I could have re-wired my mothers house myself, but it was costing £500 a week for mothers care home while house was rewired, again balance, house can be re-wired while your living in it, but it takes longer, two men re-wired most of mothers house in a week, but on the Thursday it was clear more than they could do to finish on Friday, was a large firm, so last day 6 electricians there to finish it off. If I had re-wired it myself likely a better job, but would have taken likely at least 6 weeks. (£2,500 extra for mothers care)
You want more than one quote, but you also want them to quote for same work, so write down what you want. As Mr White says never too many sockets, however I with second house wired in telephone to every room, twin sockets one internal and one outside line, and the fax machine connected internal to outside line so on getting a fax it disconnected phones to get better fax signal, now all not used, there is no fax machine, and all phones are wireless, so all that wiring is redundant, my son did it with LAN wiring, he has a LAN output at every radiator to work the electronic TRV heads, all redundant as TRV heads all now wireless. So some thought is required, do I really need that?
I would say plan it all out, and talk about it, I also did TV in every room, this house using Sky Q so TV cables not required. OK maybe better to have them in case I get rid of Sky Q, but be it LAN, Fax, or TV all adds cost which you may never need to use.
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