No earth in lighting circuit

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

  1. Damocles

    Damocles New Member

    very true. Its important to know your limitations, but if you know nothing, then you don't understand the dangers.

    Kids are taught not to run out across the road, even when they see adults doing it. The adults do it because they know enough to understand the danger, and figure when is a safe time to run. (or they are prats).
  2. dc1500

    dc1500 New Member

    I know this is an old thread but it is too easy to be dismissive. Whilst in general the advice is correct most properties built before 1965 had no earth in the lighting circuit yet it always seems to amaze electricians when they encounter it! It is easy for them to say you should have a complete rewire but then they will charge you over £4000 in the S.E and then you will probably have to pay another £1000 for re-plastering and decorating. Not everyone is on electricians' wages and can afford this and this is why dangerous shortcuts take place. I would have said to this unfortunate chap that there is no legal requirement to earth the lighting circuit. I would buy double insulated light fittings (and there are some decent ones out there to suit most tastes), plastic switches and use plastic roses or pendants in spare rooms etc. The stainless steel switches the wife wants would have to be a no, no. Then put the required notice in the new CU advising that lighting circuits may not be earthed and you have a reasonably safe compliant system. If you sell you can make that clear and then it is up to the buyer.
  3. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    I would add, that it possible to find plastic switches that have a metal look finish.
  4. MGW

    MGW Well-Known Member

    Rules changed in 1966 and should have a PIR, or EICR done every 10 years so for 40 years the owners should have known it does not comply with current regulations, so it has not been sprung onto them, not seen plastic twin cable, although it may have been made, most of it is rubber, and by now cable that old is starting to degrade.

    The old PIR before it was called an EICR said complying with previous edition was OK, the first British standard was around 1992 I seem to remember? So clearly the IEE first to 15th editions do not count so 1966 was 14th I think so complying with 13th IEE wiring regulations is not really a previous edition. As 13th IEE was not BS7671. So we have had a think four editions I think BS7671:1992 about not sure on date then 2004, I think still called 16th by IEE as it was then, then 2008 now called IET and then 2018 so previous edition is now BS7671:2008.

    Complying with "Rules and Regulations for the Prevention of Fire Risks arising from Electric Lighting" which was name of the first edition could not today be said to be safe, things have moved on since 1882. We no longer permit open knife switches, and many other things allowed back then.

    This house built 1954 was rewired a couple of years ago as attempts to fit a RCD in 2004 failed due to leakage in the old rubber cables, my dad stated I am not living in a building site, you can rewire the house when I'm gone, which we did, after my mother thought the neon light on the extension lead was the lead on fire so put it in a bucket of water.

    The original switch back boxes were wood, it was still marked MK, switches were plastic and ceramic and although metal screws, since the back box was wood no chance of the screws becoming live, no metal light fittings, and in real terms back in 1954 there was no need for an earth.

    So cheap way around the problem I suppose at 24 volt transformer at the consumer unit and turn all lighting to 24 volt! Or any voltage below 50 volt AC.
  5. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    16th Edition was issued in 1991.
    Became BS7671 in 1992.
    MGW likes this.
  6. dc1500

    dc1500 New Member

    Nice story. Luckily, although my lighting in my sixties house has no earth it did make pvc cables everywhere and they have held up well. I have some earthed lighting downstairs now but rest is plastic and double insulated although some metal screws on switches that I might rectify. Also have RCD. I'm hoping that will be good enough to get a new consumer unit and RCD fitted and signed off if all tests ok without, like your dad said, wrecking the house ... ;)
  7. MGW

    MGW Well-Known Member

    Any signing off is you to guy who does it, it is a professional opinion. Pendent lamps and plastic switches with if required some silicon sealant on the screws and sign on consumer unit, would satisfy me.

    But I am not doing the signing, it is up to that person to say satisfied or not.
  8. MGW

    MGW Well-Known Member

    As I said no edition of BS7671 before 1992 that was when it became a British standard, and if you remember there was a big thing about taking a course and exam, I had just returned to UK and it seemed every other word electricians said was regulations, they were clearly IEE regulations before that, but until then no one seemed to care.

    Also the old regulations before 1992 were more like the on-site guide, seem to remember 14th gave distances between socket and sink, one edition went daft on earthing, wanted one to earth metal window frames.

    We has seen with 17th edition how it removed need for earthing in the bathroom, if RCD protected, so if one was inspecting a house wired to 16th edition some items would fail which today would not, that's not a problem to me, I have a copy of the 16th edition. However if working to 14th edition I don't have a copy, so if it says 1.5 meters sink to socket, how would I know?

    I have been told that many half truths about what was allowed, I would not want to pass anything I personally see as dangerous, the light fitting may have had a class II sticker on it, but if I can't see it and it looks like metal, then it fails.
  9. dc1500

    dc1500 New Member

    I think it's usually possibly to physically see if a light fitting is class II double insulated by looking at its wiring.
  10. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    My house dates from 1966, no earthing on lighting circuit except for additions that I've done. The cables are 2 core pvc, we've been here 30 years and I've never felt inclined to pull the house apart to rewire the lighting circuit although I have made sure all the switches etc. are class 2.
  11. dc1500

    dc1500 New Member

    Yep. Same here. Common sense sometimes needs to prevail. Unfortunately it can be in short supply at both ends of the scale -those who want to rewire the whole house to those who use metal fittings but also don't realise it could be dangerous. I wouldn't probably grab a metal light fitting without pulling the fuse even if it was earthed. What if it had broken or come loose? You could make a case for all light fittings to be double insulated if the regs cared that much about every scenario! In fact you could probably make a case that your house and mine is safer than one with an earthed lighting circuit!
  12. Bazza-spark

    Bazza-spark Well-Known Member

    Have a look at Section 10 of this guide.

    Kind regards
    dc1500 likes this.
  13. dc1500

    dc1500 New Member

  14. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    The 14th came out the same year as that football thingy.
    My copy was metric, so some time after decimalisation and it also had the new colours for flexes, so mid to late 70s.
    The 15th came out the year before the Falklands.
    I don’t recall either having distances for sockets from sinks.
    I do recall the 14th having a requirement for cooker switches, but the 15th only required a cooker switch if there were two cookers.
    Both required a CPC to be run to ceiling roses.
    The 14th also required fused adapters, but I can’t recall whether that was adapters for lamp holders or sockets.

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