It’s important to have your wiring checked to make sure it’s safe. We’ve put together some advice so you can make sure the wiring in your home is safe.
Do you need to get your wiring checked?
If the wiring in your home is more than 20 years old, we recommend you arrange for it to be checked.
It is also wise to have it checked at five-year intervals, to make sure your wiring can cope with extra appliances or lights and to check the earthing system.
Always use a qualified electrician.
Electrical Safety – the Key Points
- There are around 30 deaths and 4,000 accidents annually in the Sri Lanka involving electrics, so don’t think it can’t happen in your properties.
- If you let property in LECO area you must ensure that electrical equipment and the electrical system are safe.
- There is currently no statutory requirement to have annual safety checks on electrical equipment, but it advisable to do so as you can still be liable if things go wrong.
- You should ensure that tenants are given copies of operating and safety instructions for ALL equipment in the premises and you should carry out regular checks.
You are advised to make visual inspections yourself in your residential properties (record on a safety checklist) and have periodic checks carried out by a qualified electrician.
- Ideally, ensure that the electrical system complies with the latest wiring regulations.
- Make sure a circuit breaker (RCD) is fitted to power circuits.
- Keep supplied appliances to a minimum.
- Make sure appliances supplied are complete and in working order – keep purchase receipts.
- Pay particular attention to second hand equipment – always have these items checked.
- Ensure that operating instructions and safety warning notices are supplied with the appliances.
- Ensure that flexes are in good order and properly attached to appliances and plugs.
- Ensure that earth tags are in place.
- Ensure that plugs are of an approved type with sleeved live and neutral pins.
- Ensure that plugs and sockets conform to BS1363 or BS1363/A for heavy duty uses.
- Ensure that all fuses are of the correct type and rating.
- Make sure that tenants know the location of and have access to the main consumer unit, fuses and isolator switch.
- Make a note of all fuse ratings on the inventory.
If you are in any doubt about the wiring or the safety of any appliances consult a qualified electrician.
In order to do this we recommend:
- Annual visual inspections by the landlord or agent – recording this on a safety checklist.
- Inspections on tenant change-overs, recording electrical equipment, its condition and fuses fitted .
- Periodic inspections of electrical equipment by a qualified electrician.
- 5 yearly inspections by a qualified electrician to ensure safety and that the electrical system complies with current electrical regulations.
- Keep all records of these inspections.
Looking For Electrical Problems Before They Cause Damage
By checking for electrical wiring faults and incorrect wiring before problems appear, you can make your home’s electrical connections safe and possibly save your home. Too often, homes have small electrical connection problems that go unnoticed. It’s not that they aren’t there, it’s just that you may not be aware of them.
Wires may be incorrectly connected to a switch or an outlet. Then again, the connections may be in a junction box that is covered up above a drop ceiling or in a basement or crawlspace. There is also the possibility that there is too much or not enough insulation on a wire connection. There is also the issue with proper grounding or lack of it. Bare wires always present a hidden danger and should be corrected immediately. And my all time pet peeve, when someone connects too many wires under one terminal.
Safety First…Turn off The Power
When working on an electrical circuit or device, always turn off the power before working on the given circuit to avoid electrical shock or damage to the electrical wiring or devices. Not only is it important to turn the power off, but it is equally important to test the circuit afterwards to be sure the circuit is really off with a circuit tester. There is always the possibility that someone could come behind you and turn on the circuit that you are working on, unless you have the circuit marked with a warning label telling others not to energize this circuit or by having it locked out from use.
Electrical tape can be your friend when devices or boxes have exposed wires either connected to them or just hanging there unconnected. With the electrical circuit shut off, the circuit tested for safety, and insulated tools to expose the device or connection, it is now safe to disassemble the part of the circuit that needs inspecting.
Check For reversed Connections
Reversed connections can become a big problem for the homeowner. On polarized outlets and plugs, reversing the connections causes them not to be polarized and takes away from the safety of a circuit. If you know about polarized plugs and outlets, one of the two slots or spades is the hot and the other is the neutral, which just happens to be bonded to the electrical system’s grounding system. If reversed, things like a light socket would be backwards, causing the outer neutral/ground part of the socket to be the hot connection which presents a safety problem. Now I know that some of you will say an outlet wired backwards will still supply power, but it won’t be polarized for safety. The black wire (hot) should be connected to the brass-colored terminal. The white wire should be connected to the silver-colored terminal.
Check For Proper Grounding
Proper grounding is essential for safety when dealing with electrical circuits and devices. Although a device will work without a ground in most cases, it certainly is not recommended.
The National Electrical code and your local codes may in fact expect devices to have a ground connection to meet code requirements. You see, when a device has a path to ground through a ground wire, you don’t have to worry about becoming the ground and receiving an electrical shock.
Check For Too Many Wires Under Terminals
Installing too many wires under any terminal is not only a stupid move, but a lazy one at that. I’d like to tell you why only one wire should be under each terminal for safety. First of all, it is nearly impossible to properly tighten two wires under any one terminal. The problem lies when the connection becomes loose. Besides, it is against the code to do such a thing. Instead, the proper connection involves connecting two or more wires together and adding a pigtail. Then, this pigtail wire is used to connect to the terminal connection, thus only one wire under the terminal.
Check For The Proper Amount Of Wire Insulation
Although it may not seem important, proper insulation length is very important on wire connection points. Stripping a wire to the proper length makes for a great connection. Experienced professional electricians know how important the proper connection is. Stripping too much insulation exposes the bare wire too much and can become a point where someone can touch the wire or the bare wire may come in contact with the box or another wire, like the ground wire. in this case, many like to just cover the exposed wires with electrical tape, but the proper method would be to shut off the power and restripe the wire connection to proper length.
Too little wire shouldn’t be a problem then, right? Wrong! Too little insulation means the some or the entire terminal is in contact with the insulation and not the bare wire. This either means that there is a limited connection with a resistance due to the insulation or no connection at all. Do me a favor and yourself, do it right the first time!