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Victorian? light switches

Postby Marley » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:04 pm

Hi. Recently bought a flat in a Victorian house which has a lot (well, 8) of brass domed light switches. Possibly original, but if not, certainly pretty old.

Unfortunately we also have a lot of very elderly wiring to go with them, and of course they're not earthed. I've heard different stories from various electricians, but when it comes down to actually quoting for the work, none of them seem happy to try and earth the existing switches.

It'd be sad to lose these switches as a feature. I've looked at repro, but they're either fairly expensive (£15) and poor quality pressed steel and plastic (TLC-direct) or very, very expensive (£40).

I've tried looking for someone who re-furbishes old switches to modern standards, but am having no luck. This can't be such an unusual problem - anyone got any advice? Cheers.
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Postby ericmark » Sat Mar 15, 2008 8:36 pm

1. If the back box is earthed the switch will also be earthed through the mounting screws.
2. If your rewiring then lights will go through an RCD.
3. Toggle switches are available and you may be able to keep plates and renew switches.
4. To fit an earth does need a rewire well the earth wire must follow same route as feed cable. So to expose feed cable without renewing would be pointless.
5. What did the inspection and test that had to be preformed when you bought the property say?
Although the switches may look nice you and your families safety must be more important. These old switches have gone faulty many times I remember a farmer who turned them on and off with his hat I would replace but not throw out and look at returning them to service after they had been refurbished. Look at toggle switches in RS components etc.

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