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#137763 - 07/28/03 11:39 AM Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Many old homes are rewired and replumbed (is there such a word) when people feel that they have worn out.

In apartment buildings this type of work tends to take place when:

1.) The building is too costly to maintain
2.) The building is renovated anyway
3.) The authorities take action

Here is my question:

Should the installations in buildings be redone every 50 years? For apartment buildings, this is fairly easy legally. For single family homes it is a bit more difficult: You can't reasonably demand that people rewire their home. Instead the requirement should be linked to sale of the house. If the installations are more than 50 years when the house is sold, they have to be redone.

What is your opinion?

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#137764 - 07/28/03 03:34 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
djk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
1920s/30s wiring is more than a little risky considering that the rubber sheathing disintegrates and crumbles over time. A modern PVC insulated system shouldn't really need rewiring on a regular basis though although it should be checked regularly and kept up to date with modern codes where possible.

It wouldn't be a bad idea to have them inspected at least once a decade ! (to be reasonable, most are left uninspected for multiple decades)

Remove/repair any dodgy DIY jobs

It would also be worthwhile removing the old distribution boards (Consumer units for those in the UK) and replacing them with modern equivlants with better protection, particularly RCDs.

Checking that all the outlets/sockets were functional etc should surfice

The only thing that would be different here is that grounding has been required on EVERY outlet since 1927 so there simply arn't any ungrounded outlets that need bringing up to code. (Schuko, BS546-(5/15amp) and BS1363 [started to appear in the 50s]) We also don't have any very low rated sockets, like 10amp types found around Europe

In a European system it would be perhaps advisable to look at modernising grounding arrangements and bringing the socket outlets up to modern DIN (16amp)/ NF (16amp)/ DEMKO (13amp)/ Swiss(?? amp) / Italian standards (?? Amp)


[This message has been edited by djk (edited 07-28-2003).]

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#137765 - 07/28/03 04:44 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
Bill Addiss Offline
Member

Registered: 10/07/00
Posts: 4196
Loc: NY, USA
C-H,

For something somewhat related see the K & T post in the Canadian forum area about companies refusing to insure houses with older wiring.

Bill

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#137766 - 07/28/03 06:07 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
C-H,
That's a DARN good question!!.
Most of the houses and flats I've seen over the years, the wiring is only replaced when it causes a safety or fire hazard.
I'm not willing to sound like I'm lining my own pockets, but is 50 years too long between rewires?.
I think it really depends upon the Insulation integrity of the wiring that's already there.
On the other side of the coin, if it was known that a house had to be rewired in XX years, a few Electricians, may put a wee bit more thought into how they run the wires, the first time around!.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#137767 - 07/29/03 01:38 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
classicsat Offline
Member

Registered: 11/23/02
Posts: 449
How about this:

An evaluation on each single family home greater than 30 years, every 10 years, and
upon sale of home.

Less on multi family dwellings (20/5),
even less on commercial/industrial/institutional (15/3).
If the evaluator finds something amiss, an
inspector is called in and depending on what is wrong, the customer is either asked to take care of the problem, or the fuse is pulled.

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#137768 - 07/29/03 05:16 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I think this is something which would be very difficult to apply in practice.

Very old wiring, dating from the 1930s/1940s is now almost certainly in need of replacement. The rubber insulation and sheaths will have deteriorated to the point that the cables are probably becoming quite dangerous.

PVC cabling installed from the 1950s onward, however, should still be perfectly serviceable so long as it hasn't been damaged in any way.

I see many older homes in this area which from the cables and devices have obviously had a complete rewire in the 1950s/1960s, and then other various extensions and modifications in more recent times. In many cases, the older 1950s wiring is fine, but the modern extensions have been badly carried out and are in far greater need of putting right.

I'd like to see the old rewireable fuses replaced with cartridge fuses or circuit breakers, but at least that doesn't require extensive rewiring.

Take a look here as well:
http://electrical-contractor.net/ubb/Forum1/HTML/002043.html

[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 07-29-2003).]

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#137769 - 07/30/03 11:20 AM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
C-H Offline

Member

Registered: 09/17/02
Posts: 1508
Loc: Stockholm, Sweden
Point taken.

I'll put it like this instead: "Be upgraded to the current building regulations every 50 years"

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#137770 - 07/30/03 03:26 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
You mean make it a legal requirement to upgrade when the installation is 50 years old?

One practical problem would be how to establish the actual date of the original installation. I can look at typical wiring around here and say "That was installed somewhere between about the mid-1950s and the mid-1960s," but it would be almost impossible to pin it down to the exact year in many cases.

The idea of the government coming along and telling me that I must upgrade something in my home under penalty of law doesn't sit at all well with me anyway.

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#137771 - 07/31/03 05:06 PM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
djk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
It wouldn't sit well with the constitutional right to possess property without being interfered with in anyway way. (Irish Constitution)

They can set minimum standards for electrical work in building regs etc in new builds but they can't do very much about old houses. These laws are based around a kinda "we'll only give you planning permission to build X within these guidelines" rather than an imposition of new laws on old buildings.

Electricians are legally bound to carry out installations to code... if they don't they're subject to being fully liable for any dammage if there is a problem. However, homeowners can do whatever they like! (although it might invalidate their insurance in some rare instances). That includes keeping 1930s wiring !

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#137772 - 08/01/03 03:55 AM Re: Should buildings be rewired on a regular basis?
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
I guess we share a common Anglo-Irish outlook on this point.

As an enthusiast of old cars, I would not take kindly to suddenly being told that I must add air-bags, ABS brakes, seat belts, etc. to a vintage car to bring it up to modern standards.

By the same token, I do not believe the government has any right to tell me to that I must upgrade anything in my home either.

I see many electrical systems which are in a dubious, or downright dangerous condition, and obviously I will do whatever I can to convince the owner of the need to make the installation safe. But it is his property, and ultimately the decision rests with him.

In the U.K., there is nothing to force the owner of an older property to bring it up to modern standards in any respect. About the only official sanction I'm aware of is that the local council could condemn a building if it deteriorates to such an extent that it becomes a health hazard to the general public. (That's privately lived-in homes; commercial and rental properties are a different matter.)

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