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"DIY" S.O.S...

This was a job we were asked to remove and refit some double sockets in a kitchen.

The previous owner of the property had added surface mounted sockets above existing internal back boxes in order to hide this extremely dangerous wiring. Not only were the wires simply twisted together and left open to short with the live line and live neutral, but  the choc block visible to the top right was missing the rear of its plastic sheath. The earth cables were also simply twisted and again left loose. The risk of fire or a fatal electric shock in the 4 years the family had lived at the address prior to this being found, makes this probably the worst DIY socket replacement job we have ever seen.

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Does this look familiar?

9 out of 10 consumer units we inspect in properties that have not been routinely serviced look very similar to these.

Gaffa Tape, pieces of paper, we have even seen Blu-Tac moulded into holes, improvised coverings of any kind can be dangerous.

Holes in the sides, tops or bottom of consumer units, including excess gaps around cable entry points.

Cables should always have a protective gromit or gland at the point they enter the unit.

There are many low cost options to properly seal a consumer unit give us a call and let us help ensure your safety.

If your consumer unit is no longer serviceable, we can supply, fit and test your entire system from only £250 including Building Control notification.

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Out with the old...

We are often asked to upgrade consumer units from these old type of fused consumer units. We often find evidence of heat damage where due to a lack of an RCD and usually DIY alterations to the household electrical system the fuses overheat and in this instance melt the fuse.

We recommend if you have this old type of consumer unit that it is updated, alternatively we can update the fuses and install a separate RCD to minimise the costs while improving the overall safety of your home.

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Unqualified "Builders"

This was an Eastern European Builders work. He had completed a single level extension 3 months prior to us being called in due to an electrical fire.

We traced the cause of the fire to the new shower room, and found that the "builder" had used 13amp appliance cable to power the shower. Not only this but the connection was not isolated, and the cable was not run from the existing consumer unit, but as a spur from the Kitchen ring main. This potentially lethal arching and small electrical fire was made worse by the fact the Earth cable was not connected.

The build up of heat, the arching between the Live Line and  Neutral poles in the shower resulted in the fire in the consumer unit.

As a result, the kitchen ring main had to be replaced. A new 10mm T&E feed cable was installed with an Isolator and finally a new shower unit. In addition the consumer unit was replaced and a full electrical inspection was completed.

 

The property in question was a HMO (House of Multiple Occupancy) and there were 10 people living at the address at the time of the fire. Fortunately the smoke alarm system we had fitted 2 years previously alerted the tenants, they were able to leave the property and call the fire brigade before any severe property damage or injury occurred. 

We did not fit the original consumer unit, note the excessive holes in the top of the unit.