No earth in lighting circuit

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by korben, Jun 21, 2004.

  1. korben

    korben New Member

    Hi all,

    I wonder if anyone can help, and apologies if this has been asked before.
    I'm having parts of my house decorated, and at the moment it's the living rooms turn. Anyway after I had my ceiling artexed I was taking down the light fitting to clean them and I noticed there was no earth connection to them. I checked at the switch, and again no earth. It looks (and sounds) like it has been wired with just twin cable, and not twin and earth like it should. My mate who is a spark of sorts says that it can't be just twin cable as there is no such thing.
    My main concern is the safety aspect, cos obviously I don't wanna fry myself or the wife. I checked the upstairs circuits and they are the same. Anybody any ideas what to do? Or could anyone comment on the safety implications of this arrangement?
    BTW would the lack of earth make bulbs blow faster, as my house has a healthy appetite for them.

    regards,

    Korben
     
  2. Lectrician

    Lectrician Screwfix Select

    Lack of earth would have no effect on the bulbs.

    It may be that the earths have been cut off tight to the sheath, or most probably it is twin cable with no earth, they used to wire it like this between the old rubber days and the present day.

    If you have no metal light fittings or switches, there is no real danger, if you have metal fittings and switches, a rewire is really needed. As a stop gap, an earth cable could be run to the few metal fittings you may have, but really a rewire is what is needed ultimatly.

    Buy decent bulbs, supermarkets and DIY sheds sell sh!t
     
  3. marc the spark

    marc the spark New Member

    Hi Korben,
    The cable you are referring to is no longer available but it was up to about 20-25 years ago when it was common practice to install lighting circuits with no cpc( circuit protective conductor) earth.
    Power circuits such as rings were installed at the same time but with earths, as it was assumed there was more of a risk of electric shock from socket outlets than light fittings,
    I would suggest putting the decorating on hold and thinking about a re-wire of the lighting circuits if not the whole house as if there are no earths on the lighting circuits its a good bet the rest of the install needs upgrading by means of rcd protection for sockets and main and supplementary bonding.
    Good Luck
    MTS
     
  4. korben

    korben New Member

    Thanks for the replies guys.
    Not what I wanted to hear (but was expecting)! Unfortunately, this is the final leg (almost) of the decorating. As I said, the living room ceiling has just been refinished and the upstairs is finished too. I could prolly get at the upstairs lighting circuits via the loft, but that don't get round the problem of earthing it back to the main fuse box.
    Incidentally, I had a new consumer unit fitted in place of my old fuse box just 2 weeks ago. The electrician that fitted it didn't comment on anything wrong. Really ****** off now....wife's got the shopping list made up, stainless steel switches, chrome lights etc.
    Sheez even when my kitchen was done, no-one commented on the wiring. Is a total re-wire the only way?

    Sorry to be a pest, it's just that I can see a huge bill and much upset ahead. If a re-wire is the only way would this involve dropping ceilings and opening up walls etc.?

    regards,

    Korben
     
  5. plugwash

    plugwash New Member

    is you don't have laminate flooring or similar upstairs you should be able to get at the downstairs lighting cuircuit fairly easilly by taking up floorboards

    you will probablly have to chase a wall to get down to the CU though

    as for the switch drops if there is existing conduit then its easy otherwise more chaseing required
     
  6. korben

    korben New Member

    Upstairs is ALL laminate flooring AAAAAGGHHH.
     
  7. Lectrician

    Lectrician Screwfix Select

    Bit of a bugger! Laminate and tiles are the in think unfortunatly, and the electrics are the last thing on peoples minds until they fail :(
     
  8. RES

    RES New Member

    Korben

    You said you had a new consumer unit fitted a few weeks ago. Did you get any certificates, like a minor works, or new installation or a periodic? If so I should have thought he would have picked up on the lack of earthing. If not he doesn't sound like much of a spark.

    Regards

    RES
     
  9. korben

    korben New Member

    The consumer unit was not "officially" fitted by Scottish Power....I mentioned the problem and he said "just don't use metal switches
     
  10. RES

    RES New Member

    Hope his horse didn't drop a load in your garden, and he left his stetson in the hall. No sparks would have fitted the CU without atleast pointing out the problem, and/or suggesting you sort it before the painters came in.
    Part P doesn't always sound so bad to me.

    RES
     
  11. korben

    korben New Member

    Hi Res,

    What's this Part P i've been seeing around, is it some new regulations or something?
     
  12. Dewy

    Dewy New Member

    Look through the sparkies forum korben.
    Loads about Part P there
     
  13. Minesa Pint

    Minesa Pint New Member

    Korben,

    Not sure if your mention of Scottish Power means that you're from up here, but if it does then dont worry about it yet.
    It might get to Scotland sometime but I feel it will be the Poll Tax in reverse ie. try it out on England first-cowboys rioting in the streets, push it nationwide anyway then scrap it at the next new government!!
     
  14. StirlingScott

    StirlingScott New Member

    scotland on a smaller scale already has part N of the scottish building regs, which means all building control work must be completed by a competant person - but all it requires is the name and address - no test results etc are required - and it is widely misused by next doors budgie etc signing the certificate as a competant person.

    Part P of the English and Welsh building regs looks more stringent but is still open to all sorts of debate and misuse.
     
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

    The consumer unit was not "officially" fitted by Scottish Power....I mentioned the problem and he said "just don't use metal switches"

    Really **** off now....wife's got the shopping list made up, stainless steel switches.....


    Oh dear.
     
  16. Earth Bond

    Earth Bond New Member

    Dear Korben,

    MTS is spot on, you've been conned by your local cowboy.
    If the CU was changed before your laminate flooring was installed he should have told you that it was a requirement to have your lighting rewired.
     
  17. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    Hi Korben

    Just curious cuz being in the trade I can't understand why people ignore their electrics until they have decorated or are a good way through decorating. This really does bemuse me. Why did you not think to check before you went ahead?

    Roy
     
  18. Damocles

    Damocles New Member

    because people dont realise there is any problem..everything has worked fine for years, hasn't it?

    And as long as you don't start putting metalwork all over the place, you still dont have a problem. It might be arequirement now to have earths on lighting, but once upon a time it was brass light switches and no earth.

    perhaps I might point out that there are some switches with plastic painted/coated plates. Something to think about if you consider that 'double insulating' is considered an acceptable alternative to earthing in appliances.
     
  19. unphased

    unphased Screwfix Select

    Thanks Damocles

    I wanted Korben to answer from his viewpoint. Just trying to understand peoples mentality towards services in the house....ie why people dont think any deeper than what colour walls and ceilings they want? Or everything is alright until it breaks, goes wrong, fails...but the walls are a nice colour...

    Roy
     
  20. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds New Member

    Just curious cuz being in the trade I can't understand why people ignore their electrics until they have decorated or are a good way through decorating. This really does bemuse me. Why did you not think to check before you went ahead?

    This happens because people are discouraged from DIY work on their electrical installations. If they have no experience of such work then they will have no idea of the disruption involved in replacing circuits.
     

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