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Discuss Mature first time buyer seeks advice - Full rewire needed? in the Electrical Forum area at ElectriciansForums.net

RachelM

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Hi there,
I am a mature first time buyer looking for a property at the budget end. I have seen this property for sale and I would like to know whether it needs a full re-wire and whether this would need to be done straight away or could be left a few years. It has a Merlin Gerin unit. The plug sockets look modern. It is a grade II listed one bed cottage overdwelling. I'm getting quite experienced now at looking at properties but don't know much about electrics. I met the tenant and no problems reported. Any help much appreciated.
Kind regards,
Rachel


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Many thanks for your help,
Rachel

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buzzlightyear

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The plug sockets look modern. It is a grade II listed one bed cottage overdwelling. I'm getting quite experienced now at looking at properties but don't know much about electrics. I met the tenant and no problems
you will need a EICR done on it has soon has possible and the electrician will advise if buying it.
 
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timhoward

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Excellent points above that as a rented property there should already be an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) as it recently became mandatory for all rented properties to have one carried out.
A word of caution though - quality of these varies hugely, but if you can obtain it and post it here with all personal details removed we can comment on it's findings.

Generally when buying a house the questions are
1) Have the original electrics been messed around with and extended and has this work been done competently
2) Is the wiring itself in good condition or has it deteriorated due to age
3) Will the fault-protection mechanisms operate to avoid the wiring catching fire under fault conditions.
4) Is it safe for continued use

It's really difficult to answer any of those from photo's alone. An EICR answers all of these as it should involve stress-testing the wiring and measuring it's condition, establishing beyond doubt it's safe, and discovering any creative additions by kitchen-fitters (*other muppets are available)

(What's that between the CU and the meter - is it an old VOELCB? The cut-out has a PME sticker now...)
 

Lucien Nunes

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(What's that between the CU and the meter - is it an old VOELCB? The cut-out has a PME sticker now...)

Yes. So the installation might have originally been TT (using its own rod for earthing), the supply was then reworked to TN-C-S (the electricity company provides the earth connection) but the installation wasn't updated since that time.

Even if it does not require a rewire, there would probably be a good case for upgrading the consumer unit.
 

freddo

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(What's that between the CU and the meter - is it an old VOELCB? The cut-out has a PME sticker now...)
That is a Crabtree current operated earth leakage circuit breaker, usually rated 1amp tripping current. Inside the box is a standard Crabtree voltage operated earth leakage circuit breaker on the left with its tripping coil wired to the sense coil that is in the right side of the box. I have one here somewhere in the piles of junk. Quite a rare item. The differential transformer is quite pretty, the L and N coils are made of rectangular section solid copper conductors, quite a few turns compared to modern RCDs, IIRC.
 

timhoward

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Thanks @Lucien Nunes and @freddo , interesting, I'd not seen one quite like it before. Quite an interesting item! The fact it is still there and looks to be in service suggests that no serious wiring work has been done for some time as we'd normally remove that immediately upon discovering it.

I'd agree that the consumer unit would be worth upgrading as the present unit's primary purpose is protecting the wiring, but a modern one attempts to protect people too by detecting electricity going the wrong way. Rather like the vintage device is trying to do, but modern devices would detect considerably smaller samples of electricity going the wrong way!
In a grade II listed dwelling there are the fire-protection benefits from a modern consumer unit to consider too.
 

freddo

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Does look like it enters the enclosure! I assumed it was just tucked behind the tails. Perhaps it's been creatively wired.
 

GBDamo

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For me, soon to be in a similar situation, its a question of not how good the electrics are now* but how they'll be in 5/10/20 years time.

If you've got plans for the place, intend to spend thousands doing it up and decorating, will you be in a good financial position to redo the work in 10 years time if the wiring gives up the ghost?

Some of that looks to be 40+ years, possibly older and it won't last forever.

Spending £2-3k now may be the best option.

Very much depends on your circumstances.

*Obviously if the electrics are knackered now it needs rewiring. Only a good quality EICR will give you the data you need to make an informed choice.
 

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