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Electrical Questions

Our expert electricians have kindly agreed to share their wisdom on such topics as indoor and outdoor lighting, certifications and qualifications, rewiring, appliance fitting, electric showers, kitchen installations, extensions, extractor fans and much more.

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2,781 Electrical questions

Do I need to update the fusebox in my house?

I'm buying a house which has an old fuse box. This was noted on the survey I had done and it was suggested I update it. Is this really necessary? There's nothing actually wrong with the fuse box - it's just old fashioned? Are there any safety concerns with these old ones or is this just something they tend to note on such surveys.

Installing downlights in bathrooms/kitchens

Hi - can someone please clarify for me the "regulations" about putting downlighters in kitchens and bathrooms because I am totally confused getting conflicting information that there is some kind of "special" more highly rated downlighter which we should now be using ! I am sure we have nothing "extra ordinary" in both our kitchen and bathroom but as I want to instal new downlighters in my mother's property in Kent I would appreciate the definitive view ! Also do I need a "registered electrician" to do this work now or is it still a DIY job ? There are currently no downlighters in my mother's house so I guess it would need new wiring - hence I may need a qualified electrician perhaps ? Very grateful for any info you can pass on. I don't want to fall foul of any legislation or regulations as the property is going to be rented out. Thank you.

How do I check the fuse rating for an electric shower and if a new electric shower is a suitable replacement?

Our old shower is a Mira 8.78 advance ATL (I'd assume 8.78kw but the label doesn't actually say). We're looking for a new replacement electric shower and hope to replace it with a 9kw as we don't want the hassle (and extra cost) of fitting a 10mm cable. (This one we think http://www.plumbworld.co.uk/9kw-white-chrome-3298-16348.)

As this is the first time I've had to buy a shower I have no idea what is or how to check a fuse rating... how do I do this and how do I know if the new shower can just be put in without any other problems? Is there anything else I need to consider?

Thanks for your help!

I should add to recent answers that no I am not intending to do the work myself, however I need enough information to first buy the replacement shower. I do not want to purchase it only then to realise that I can't afford to install it!

Also if the old shower is an 8.78kw then surely I should already have a 10mm cable and RCD fitted? We have a separate switch in the old boiler room (next to the bsthroom) that turns the power to the shower off completely. The wire to which is over 1cm wide. Is that then a 10mm cable?

Wiring of new bathroom extractor fan

I've bought a new extractor fan (Xpelair 4-inch 100mm Timer Bathroom Fan) - it replaces an old standard fan (no timer), the wiring available is 1 red wire (i believe this is live) 1 black wire (neutral?) & then a bare copper wire. The previous fan simply connected via the red/black wires but the new fan will not operate at all with just two connections & just wanted to know what the bare copper wire would be?

Outdoor lighting options

I want to put in lights in my garden but we don't have an external electrical socket. Wondering if it's acceptable to run outdoor lighting from an internal electricity source. What are the regulations for outdoor lighting?

Shower cable 6mm or 10mm

Please advise, I have just had my flat rewired, kitchen and bathroom installers say that the 6mm cable is not sufficient for the best modern showers, that a 10mm cable should have been installed.

Both the installer and the electrician who did the rewiring are registered.

What is currently considered best practice, and if a matter of opinion, should the customer be consulted during the rewiring?

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Additional

A clear decision from experienced electricians, which is helpful.

All four electricians agree that 10 is the current industry standard, including G W Electrics, who carried out the rewiring of my flat, and provided only 6 for my shower, how arrogant!

Thanks to the other 3 electricians who kindly responded to my question, if only my rewiring had been carried out by one of them.

How deep should wires be chased in to walls?

Is there a minimum depth for wires to be chased in to walls? We've just had a full re-wire and were about to start decorating but in places the cable is coming through the plaster, to the extent I can read the writing on it. Other bits I've noticed are staring to crack and come away where the plaster over the wire is spread so thinly, presumably because it's not deep enough. Is this acceptable? Should he have used some sort of capping for the cable? And how would it be best rectified? He's coming on Thursday to look at it so any information to hit him with would be appreciated.

Thanks.

Fitting ceramic hob and single oven - electrical connection

Following a change in plans, I am now hoping to fit a new Neff single oven (2.9KW) and a Baumatic ceramic hob (6KW) (instructions show 4mm cable) to replace my double oven freestanding cooker with ceramic hob - to be installed in the same position. The circuit is on a 30amp fuse, and has a cooker panel which appears to be fed by 6mm cable. This in turn leads to a connecting point behind the cooker itself, which appears to be a two cable connecter. The cable from the cooker panel to the connecting point is 6mm cable. Can this change be made, or are there other alterations required? I would appreciate any advice so that I can consider the overall cost implications.

Is a radial circuit on 32A breaker a fire risk?

An electrician doing a PIR on my flat tells me the above is a fire risk. i would just like to confirm this, as he tested the installation and says it was very good. This seems a bit of a contradiction. Separately, he also considers my fuseboard requires an RCD as soon as possible. He may be right, but I would welcome a second opinion as my installation dates from well before I Jan 2005 and so is not subject to BS 7671: 2008.

Any other ideas on how to fix a dripping bathroom extractor fan?

The extractor fan in our bathroom (1st floor flat) drips in cold weather. So far we have tried:

1) Fitting a new extractor. It died within 4 weeks due to the water coming through it.
2) Lagging the duct pipe up in the loft.
3) Investigating the duct pipe up in the loft to ensure it's not blocked.
4) Replacing the grille at the end of the vent on the outside wall (this had fallen off).

None of this has worked. Every person that comes to look at the problem suggests something different, and I'm now at the point where I feel I'm just throwing good money after bad as nothing's worked.

The point at which the fan exits the bathroom ceiling is lower than where the duct exits the building, so there has to be a rise on the duct pipe somewhere in order to reach the exit - it currently goes up from the fan diagonally about 4 feet before then travelling horizontally alongexiting the building.

It's now been suggested that we should consider f removing all the existing plastic ducting in the loft , replacing it with flexible ducting and an in-line fan, so that we can create a rise in the ducting down towards the exit. But I am concerned that we are still going to have to raise the ducting at some point to reach up to the exit , and therefore we will still get condensation coming back down towards the bathroom.

The thing that's really throwing me about all this is that about 5-6 years ago, we never had any drip problem. The only thing that's changed in that time is that we've had 2 new extractor fans fitted!

Can anyone possibly shed any light on this? I'm beginning to think this is an unsolvable problem!!

Thanks

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