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Electrical surveys - don't get your wires crossed

How old is the wiring in your home? If you don't get it checked, it could cost you more than you bargained for

Buying a property usually involves commissioning a survey to check for any current problems or problems that could arise in the future. However surveys don’t usually cover a property’s electrics. Faulty electrics can cost thousands of pounds to fix and even more seriously can be the cause of shocks or fires.

A typical electrical survey costs around £100 and can save you huge money in the long run. Government figures say 10% of domestic fires are caused by faulty electrics, with a third due to old or bad wiring. As nearly 40% of all homes in Britain were built before 1945, it may have been a while since your wiring was checked.

Get it checked

The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting recommends that all cables, switches, socket-outlets and other accessories should be checked every ten years. They also suggest you check the following:

What are your electrical cables coated in? Black rubber coating was phased out in the 1960s. Cables coated in lead or fabric are even older. Modern cables use PVC insulation.

Fuseboxes – does yours have a wooden back, cast iron switches and a haphazard mixture of circuit boxes?

Do you have older-style round pin sockets and round light switches, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards?

Do you have wall mounted light switches in bathrooms?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes then your wiring system could be several decades old and may well need replacing. However if you are thinking of replacing your existing wiring, you should get an NICEIC-approved electrician to do it for you. Don’t try and do it yourself if you’re not sure what you’re doing.


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Please note that articles on this site do not constitute regulated financial advice, which recommends a course of action based upon the specifics of your personal circumstances. The articles are intended to provide general personal financial information. We urge you to consult an Independent Financial Adviser (IFA) before making any important decisions about your finances. Call 0800 085 3250 for details of IFAs in your local area. Any statement regarding financial services products and tax liability is based on legislation and tax practices as at 1 January 2004, which is, of course, subject to change.The value of any tax benefits or reliefs depends upon the individual circumstances of the investor.When investment performance is mentioned you should remember that past performance is no guarantee of future performance. Where products have an underlying investment content, in many cases the value of the investment can fall as well as rise. For with-profit based investments, there is no guarantee as to the level of bonuses that will be declared, if any. Where mortgages or secured loans are explained do remember that your home is at risk if you do not keep up repayments on a mortgage or other loan secured on it. All mortgages are subject to underwriting, status and are not available to people under the age of 18.

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Please note that articles on this site & any other 'planning-approval' related web site does not constitute professional advice. All articles are intended to provide a general view of many subjects. We suggest you to consult a solicitor before making any important decisions.  The author is not an expert in any given field.

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