You cannot see electricity, so electrical condition reports are important for safety and energy efficiency. Cables are usually hiding inside our walls, and consumer units are often hiding in cupboards. So it is not surprising that we forget to check the condition of our electrics for damage or wear and tear.
Faulty and old wiring is one of the main causes of electrical problems and electrical fires in the home. You can reduce the risk of a fire by having the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories checked regularly.
Electrical Condition Reports
Clear signs that can help you tell the age of equipment in the electrical installation in your home include:
- Fixed cables coated in black rubber (stopped being used in the 1960s).
- Fixed cables coated in lead or fabric (used before the 1960s).
- A fuse box with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuse boxes (used before the 1960s).
- Older round pin sockets (or light switches), braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, brown (or black) switches, or sockets mounted in or no skirting boards (used before the 1960s).
- Light switches on the walls in bathrooms (used before the 1960s).
- However old your electrical installation is, there may be damage and will suffer from wear and tear. So you should get an electrician to check its condition at least every 10 years or when you move into a new property.
Here’s an earlier post on rewiring a house to help you find out when rewiring a house is required.
What is the aim of an electrical condition report?
The five main aims of a condition report are:
- Record the results of the inspection and testing to make sure the electrical installations are safe, indicating any work to make them safe!
- Find any damage and wear and tear that might affect safety, and highlight it
- Find any parts of the electrical installation that do not meet wiring regulations
- Help find any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
- Provide an important record of the installation at the time of the inspection, and for inspection testing in the future.
How often is an electrical inspection required?
Your electrics should be inspected and tested every:
- 10 years for an owner-occupied home.
- 5 years for a rented home.
- 3 years for a caravan
- 1 year for a swimming pool.
Other times when an inspection should be carried out are:
- When a property is being prepared for letting.
- Before selling a property or buying a previously-occupied property.
Types of electrical installation condition report
In general, there are two types of domestic electrical installation condition report:
- Visual condition report – this does not include testing and is suitable if the installation has been testing recently.
- Periodic inspection reports – this is what we would normally recommend, as it tests the installation and would find any hidden damage.
Who should produce your condition report?
You should find a registered electrician to carry out your periodic inspection. A registered and qualified electrician will check the condition of the electrics against a UK standard.