Is it time to inspect your electrical installations?

April 8, 2019

It’s one thing to have your home’s electrical installations fitted in accordance with the relevant safety requirements, but something else entirely to ensure they’re properly maintained throughout their lifecycle. This requires an electrical inspection of all fittings and wiring from a qualified electrician. In this article, we’ll explain why this process is so important, how to organise an inspection and what to expect from it.

Why do I need one?

Regardless of its size or required capacity, every electrical installation will deteriorate over time which is why periodic Fundamental Inspections are recommended. As fittings or wiring deteriorate, they can become faulty, which in turn can lead to electrical fires. Every year, over half of accidental domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity, with the majority caused by faulty electrical products [1]. Therefore, it’s essential that you do all you can to prevent such misfortune.

The most effective way to do this is to periodically arrange an electrical inspection in your home by a qualified electrician – we recommend getting one at least every 10 years. It is a routine procedure that will provide peace of mind that the electrics and wiring in your home are in good shape.

For rented accommodation, the requirement is on the landlord to ensure the electrics are fit for purpose for their tenant. The maximum period recommended between an initial inspection and the first periodic inspection test is five years. Subsequently, periods between inspections should remain frequent, but will depend on the condition of the installation of the preceding inspection. However, it’s recommended that landlords insure that inspections are carried out by a qualified electrician at the end of every tenancy, or every five years, whichever comes first and that they have an Electrical Safety Certificate.

How do I book one?

When it comes to booking a periodic electrical inspection there are a number of contractors with testing qualifications available. Given the importance of the job it’s vital that you choose an electrician with the necessary technical and safety standards. Thanks to Checkatrade, finding an electrician you can trust is easier than ever before. In fact, last year over 12 million people trusted us to help them find a reputable tradesperson.

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What should I expect

There are two forms of periodic electrical inspection that can be carried out to ensure your home’s electrics are secure. Both types of inspection assess the condition of existing electrical installations against the standard BS 7671, the UK Standard for the safety of electrical installations.

The first form of check is a visual inspection, which will check for any visible signs of defects, damage and deterioration. The electrician will record a number of observations and provide an overall summary of the condition of the installation. There’s no requirement for circuit testing work with a visual inspection and the safety report will typically take around one hour to complete depending on the size of the property.

The next form of check is an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR), which identifies whether electrical circuits or equipment are overloaded and work to identify if there are any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards. This form of inspection is far more detailed than a visual inspection and requires you to turn off the electrics at the main supply. The contractor will be able to identify faults during an EICR that won’t be discovered in a visual inspection, as such, an EICR takes around four hours to complete.

Undertaking a periodic electrical inspection for your home is never going to fill you with excitement. However, unattended electrical faults can end up being more than just a financial burden. It’s important to keep on top of these inspections and ensure they are routinely carried out. When doing so, it’s essential to find a trusted electrician, the like of which can be found on Checkatrade. Doing so ensures that you’re not only protecting your home, but your family or tenants as well.

For more information about Checkatrade, please visit: www.checkatrade.com

[1] Safety at Home

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