The tenants reported getting electric shocks whilst showering. After a lot of testing we drilled a hole in the plasterboard ceiling to reveal that a cable had been penetrated by the sharp edge of the cable capping and this was conducted up to the whole of the wall in the bathroom
Ceiling grid live
Called to attend after telephone engineer recieved shock from the suspended ceiling support grid. Upon investigation we discovered that it was caused by the suspended ceiling installers. One of the fixing screws had hit a bundle of cables. This should not of happened as the cables were located in the safe zone of the wall. All construction personnel are required to be aware of the safe zones for cables.
This picture shows the tester displaying live mains voltage on the ceiling grid. This nearly caused the death of a telephone engineer.
This shows the bundle of cables in the wall damaged by the fixing screw.
Lighting circuit tripping
The Lights in the flat would trip after 10-15 mins. This caused the RCD on main consumer unit to trip and take out half the electrics. Because both the RCD and the MCB would trip, it was obviously a short circuit as an earth leakage fault would not likely operate the MCB, due to the current required. This fault is due to poor installation by the builder (no electrician would bodge the electrics like this)
Found this beauty causing the kitchen radial circuit to trip the RCCB today. It looks light a chock-box designed for lighting circuit has been used on a 20A radial circuit. This was under the floor in a child’s bedroom
And called to a power outage that was due to the terminal on the main idolater not being done up at all
Bathroom fitter installed new new mirror then the lights tripped, this is why we have safe zones and use cable detectors
The screw on the phase conductor has got so hot that melted through the front of this Fuseboard exposing the user to a live conductor
Some of the work that we see while carrying out Test and Inspections.
Someone has added a spur without any idea of polarity
This inspection revealed some work done by an Electrical Engineering Student. Just because someone is studying some branch of elecrical theory it does not mean that they will be a competent elecrician. As these two pictures clearly prove. The wiring is in cable that is too thin for sockets and is normally found in domesic lighting circuits but even more worrrying is that it is wired directly into the unfused busbar (unless you consider the 100A main fuse as protection).
It is essential for the inspecting electrician to carry out all of the testing described in Guidance Note 3 (GN3) as missing out the dead tests, which I am sorry to say I have seen and heard evidence of many new electricians doing, will result in dangerous faults like the one pictured from being noticed. This could lead to overloading and burning of the wiring on the circuit as the overload protection device would have been selected to be 32Amps when really the safe maximum with this wire disconnected is only 20 amps
The householder called us to say some sockets in the kitchen had stopped working. Lucky we dropped by on the way home, well for them, for us it meant a long day as we needed to rerun the cables that were literally on fire inside the cavity wall. This is why it is never reasonable to run normal household cables through the cavity in the walls.
Concealed junction boxes have been against the regulations for at least 3 editions as all screwed connections must be available for test and inspection purposes. But this junction box (JB) breaks many more rules than just that one. It is dangerous as the outer sheath of the cables are not going into the JB. Also the wires going are not supported. This means a disturbance to wiring somewhere else could cause the wires to come away and present a shock and fire hazard. If you see this – never cover it up, get it sorted
Whenever someone calls me and says that their RCD is tripping the first thing I advise is to remove all the plugs from the sockets and try to reset the circuit. The customer in this case did not remove them all. The washing machine was halfway through its cycle and unbelievably the lady of the house kept sneaking the plug back in while I was not looking. A clamp meter on the main incoming wire gave the game away and as soon as I knew that current was being drawn somewhere I knew where to look. If you are paying for someone by the hour help them and it will be cheaper.
This ceiling rose wiring was a mess and a potential fire hazard, the old lady had gone up a wire size when replacing the fuse wire in her fuse box, using the 15A wire instead of the 5A wire. If she had used the 30A there may have been a fire instead of the fuse blowing. If a fuse blows there is a reason for it and that needs to be found – never uprate a fuse without knowing why it needs uprating.
“I don’t like this backlit mirror anymore.”
The mirror was no longer wanted, but instead of making it safe; the previous owner of the property has simply chock blocked and taped it to the wall and hid it behind the new mirror. But the really dangerous thing here is the affixing of hooks directly above and below the wiring – this is in what is supposed to be the safe zone where the wires run.
The last electrician added the shed supply onto the ring main in this house, he should have taken notice of the poor condition of the fuse and carrier and issued a danger notice. Instead he simply told the householder not to switch too many things on at the same time. This is truly shocking advice, if anyone ever tells you this – call a proper electrician, because the person telling you this is defiantly not one.
When you use a registered electrician, you will get a certificate to say it is compliant with the wiring regulations and the building regulations. This person was obviously not a “registered” electrician because there is no way you can say that re-using the existing board (which they have here) complies with either regulations.
Some people come up with ingenious ways to save on the cost of hiring an electrician – but at what cost to safety?
The old boy living in this house had always done all of his own home maintenance – we found sockets that were connected using speaker wire, doorbell wire and almost every type of wire imaginable apart from twin and earth cable that is generally used for house wiring.
There is poor work and there is dammed right criminal – I was called to this problem after three other electricians (one claiming to be a family friend of the customer) could not solve a blowing lighting circuit.
But the real problem was found on further investigation and this is absolutely astounding how little care the electrician had for the lives of his customers. He had put what we in the trade call chock-blocks on all of the accessories of the effected circuit, but had not bothered either isolating the remaining circuit or doing the minimum legal insulation test – if he had this would not have been found burning and scorching the carpet.
This was caused by a nail through the wire, which had no mechanical protection and was not run in a safe zone.
Many electricians have a limitations to test inspection that says they won’t look under the floorboards – Just look what they are missing – These taped joints represent a real potential fire hazard.
RCD keeps tripping – a common and very annoying problem, especially if you have a dual RCD Consumer unit
This problem takes a lot of hunting down, it could be due to recent home improvements (nail through a cable somewhere) water ingress or in this case poor workmanship by a whoever fitted this concealed junction box. I am guessing it was not an electrician as anyone working in the trade would have cable ident sleeving for the earth cable, which has been omitted and allowed for contact between the earth (cpc) wire and the neutral terminal.
Just a small amount of contact is required for the circuit to trip out.
If you ever see this – Do NOT touch – Call the Electricity Company’s Emergency Number
In our area this would be:-
|Southern Electric Power Distribution Emergency Line
|0800 072 7282
Why RCD protection is needed for safety. A nail through a wire left this washing machine in a dangerous condition – an RCD would have tripped and ensured safety
This one could have lead to a fatality. Luckily for the householder, the case of the washing machine was mainly plastic, which is non-conductive. If the case had been made of metal and she had come into contact with the water pipe at the same time as the washing machine, a serious electric shock would have been received.
This was discovered during pre-testing ahead of a fuseboard upgrade. The lady’s late husband’s mate had fitted the extension out to the utility area. When a fuseboard is upgraded insist that the installation is tested first. A plumber died from the very same fault on a washing machine in 2008 (See BBC Link) “He touched the metal casing at the back of the washing machine, which was plugged into an electrical socket in which the live and earth connections had been wrongly wired.”
Problems caused by terminals not being correctly tightened up during INSTALLATION
Many people undertaking electrical work fail to realise the importance of making sure that ALL of the wires are correctly terminated and tightened to the correct torque. An electrician will test his work to make sure it is not only working, but also test it and inspect it to ensure the work is also safe. This socket was fitted by someone who checked the socket was working but did not fully test or inspect it for safety.
It is clear to see that this work posed a serious fire risk. All electrical installation should be periodically inspected for safety. Public buildings have to be, but strangely it it up to the house-holder to ensure that their home is. No one will warn you to do it, but there may be hidden dangers like the one above. This is especially true when you first move into a property as you don’t know what work has gone on before and who did it.
Old Wiring – time to rewire
If any of your wiring resembles this, it is definitely time to get a rewire. This wiring is in such poor condition that any movement of the wire causes the insulation to fall off.
That could lead to a short circuit and a fire. If spotted the circuit should be isolated and removed from use immediately.
The initial call was for us to change a light fitting – we ended up rewiring the house and possibly saving lives here.
Sockets sometimes are so badly wired that they give rise to danger
The neutral is a live conductor so this under secondary fault conditions could become dangerous.
This situation also caused “mysterious” tripping to the RCD causing a great deal of nuisance to the householder. The previous “electrician” had fitted a new consumer unit without doing a full inspection, I was called to remove the gremlins in the works that he had left as the owner put it. He also left no certificate covering his work. If you have work done by a proper electrician you will get a certificate. If you don’t get one – don’t pay and call a real electrician – do everyone else a favour and also report the matter to your local trading standards office – to prevent others from dangerous work.
A local builder asked me to get to the bottom of why a new fuseboard in a refurbished flat would not stop tripping – their spark checked and checked his work
The electrician that the builder usually used for his London jobs was completely baffled as to why his work appeared not to be working, what he did not realize is that that OWNER had been in an fitted his own hob. The owner took it upon himself to simply wire the hob in to a 13 A plug. The hob really required it’s own circuit and the plug he put on was completely mis-wired.
Well intentioned DIY work causes problems.
The fixing has broken leaving live wires exposed on this shower switch.
This happened because although it looks neat, the wires were cut far too short, which prevented them being folded into the patress box, this in turn put too much pressure on the screws and as you can see the fixing post has completely come away from the backbox.
A professional would not have done this.
Very old mistakes only come to light during an inspection
Here one of the earth wires to the ring main (RFC) has been clamped on it insulation, this means that there would have been no effective electrical connection. This picture is from the fuseboard of a house that is being readied for letting out.
The safety of the circuit is effectively halved due to this careless work, which is at least 10 years old. That is a long time in which a second fault may have caused this to become a dangerous situation. A full test and inspection takes a good few hours, anyone promising less, might be skipping steps, so always ask how long the inspector will be on site.
This is despicable work by an electrician registered with brand leading charity.
The electrician upgraded the earth wires but not the earth block, so the new wire would not fit, his bright idea; cut some of the strands of the wire short and put the ones left in. I mean what is the point of putting thicker earth wire in if you are only going to terminal half the strands.
I had to put a new earth block in, I didn’t mind they only cost £1.72 a small price in my opinion to ensure the customers safety.
Front cover of fuseboard held on by black tape
While this may look at first glance harmless, if a child were to touch the cover that child would be able to touch the main live conductors inside with potentially very dire consequences, this kind of bodge should be a criminal offence in my opinion. Normally a child is protected by the fact that no tools are available to open up this dangerous fusebox. Where an adult makes it possible to open it without use of a tool, that adult takes upon them self a huge risk.
When you think you have a modern fuseboard – but it lacks essential safety features
This fuseboard looks just the ticket to the untrained eye, but look a little closer and you’ll see it has some really serious shortcomings. The really important failing is the lack of connection of the earth from the fuseboard to the gas and water pipes, officially this is called “Main Bonding”. Secondary to this problem is that there is no protection against electrocution, which on up to date consumer units is provided by having at least two separate Residual Current Disconnection Devices or RCD as they are commonly known.
Lack of earthing to lighting circuit.
When testing it is important to investigate why the results of testing are bad. Here we could not get a reading from the earth wire in any of the light switches or lights. A trip up to the attic soon revealed that some one had decided not to connect the earth wires at all.
This meant that should there have been a fault on any of the fittings in the lighting circuit, the fitting or light switch could have become live with electricity and that would be very dangerous.
Ring Circuit Fuses Constantly Blowing With Nothing Plugged in
When this place was rewired several years ago, you can bet that the customers was charged for all of the wires to be changed – as this was not done the oldest wiring has now given up and broken down. Could have been a fire – and to think some people see Part P as needless red tape. If it had been around when this was done – we would at least have a record of the cowboy who left this behind.