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#143641 - 08/16/05 08:58 AM very old installation
britspark Offline
Member

Registered: 05/28/05
Posts: 54
Loc: southampton united kingdom
last night 15th August, i was called to a property around the corner form my office to repair/replace a failed fluorecent fitting.

now that was the nature of the call, but.

when i got to the residence i was a little shocked, to say the least, the fiiting was an old Cryselco, single arm five foot fluorescent fitting held to the ceiling with two screws and no earth!!!

the cable feding the fitting is the old VIR black rubber cable, no earth available and terminated with old type wirenuts (porceline) i have not got any photos of the fitting but it was approx 40 to 45 years old, and had just failed!!!

now the problem i encountered was this;

the client is 96 years old and so is his wife, how do you explain that the elelctrical installation in the property is a potential fire hazard,?

i spoke to the son, who is in his early 60`s and he said that the ellectrics have never been touched!!!

i have thought about writing a letter but how do you put that sort of thing into words that wont scare the bejesus out of a very old couple??

its a bit a dilema, oh also i replaced the fitting with a standard twin 5 foot fitting and looped an earth back to the nearest socket outlet, but i am not happy with the condition of the installation at all. and due to me being the last person to work on it reners me liable ?

any answers would be helpful.


britspark

PS, this is why i stear away from domestic electrics and just stick to commercial and industrial.

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#143642 - 08/16/05 04:00 PM Re: very old installation
djk Offline
Member

Registered: 12/26/02
Posts: 1269
Loc: Ireland
I'd say just explain to them that the electrics are a getting very old and it might be a good idea to replace them as they'd be much safer etc etc..

Explain that the old rubber cables deteoriate and all that stuff. You can't really sugar coat it that much... just tell the son.

There are plenty of absolutely ancient installations like that working away without any faults for decades all over the world.

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#143643 - 08/16/05 09:56 PM Re: very old installation
aussie240 Offline
Member

Registered: 07/06/05
Posts: 222
Loc: Blue Mountains, NSW, Australia
Some people refuse to believe in the dangers of unsafe installations. One comes to mind where a friend had renovated his laundry/bathroom. The washing machine was supplied by a 4 way power board which was plugged into a socket under the house. However the powerboard lead wasn't long enough anymore once things had been removed around. So, he made up his own extension lead as one would do. Electrically there was nothing wrong with it, but I just couldn't contain myself when I noticed he'd put the socket on the power board cable and made the extension lead with two plugs! I went abslotutley nuts when I saw this and was almost frothing at the mouth. Somehow, a plug with 240v on its pins didn't seem to faze this guy. He just calmly suggested I leave it alone as no one would ever unplug it!! I won't get started on the ceiling fan with green/yellow wiring to the switch just yet...

I wouldn't worry about an unearthed flourescent light fitting provided no one could touch it...actually here it's not legal to run a light fitting's earth connection from a power circuit, though of course it would have to be better than no earth at all.
VIR is still ok as long as the wire hasn't gone brittle. One look at the VIR in my parents last house was enough to make me rewire the whole place. Some was in excellent condition, but some had crumbled to the point where plastic sleeving had been put over the exposed parts...much as I like old wiring, I draw the line at that sort of thing.

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#143644 - 08/17/05 04:05 AM Re: very old installation
kiwi Offline
Member

Registered: 12/04/04
Posts: 347
Loc: christchurch new zealand
Hello Britspark, like Aussie240 said, in NZ and Australia we have a lot of houses with the rubber wiring still.

I think the best way to deal with the problem of discovering the rubber wiring is to work out a plan of replacing the dodgiest circuits first and prioritising the remaining circuits.

If the owners can't afford anything straight away then you could offer to protect the whole house with an RCD main switch. ( this can be a headache also, but may help identify problem circuits early )

Replacing rubber wiring is costly and a three bedroom house could be $2000 or more. While you are fixing the wiring then you may as well upgrade the switchboard and the service main as well. Re-wirable fuses must be replaced with MCBs and the old internal DB mounted meters have to be replaced with an external meter box. This all adds up to a major job.

Nobody likes being forced to tell elderly folk that they have to pay thousands of dollars to fix a problem they may not understand. That would have to be the least desirable part of being an electrician.

Perhaps our Governments could pay up and subsidise this work. After all it was the government that okayed rubber cable in the first place.

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#143645 - 08/17/05 04:31 AM Re: very old installation
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
There's not much you can do in a situation such as this except explain as diplomatically as possible that the wiring has deteriorated due to age and is in need of replacement.

I can't find a pic of a Cryselco light, but by "single arm" do you mean something like this Mazda fitting?



Ad taken from a 1964 magazine.


[This message has been edited by pauluk (edited 08-17-2005).]

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#143646 - 08/18/05 03:04 AM Re: very old installation
Trumpy Offline

Member

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 8540
Loc: SI,New Zealand
Aussie,
 Quote:
The washing machine was supplied by a 4 way power board which was plugged into a socket under the house.

The socket was where??.
 Quote:
. Electrically there was nothing wrong with it, but I just couldn't contain myself when I noticed he'd put the socket on the power board cable and made the extension lead with two plugs! I went absolutley nuts when I saw this and was almost frothing at the mouth. Somehow, a plug with 240v on its pins didn't seem to faze this guy. He just calmly suggested I leave it alone as no one would ever unplug it!!

Good God!,
What on earth is this guy up to?.
_________________________
Let's face it, these days if you're not young, you're old - Red Green grin

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#143647 - 08/18/05 03:58 AM Re: very old installation
Alan Belson Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 1801
Loc: Mayenne N. France
Trumpy, Mrs B found a live plug-plug in the garden here when we moved in. JHC, the previous owner had wired an extension lead to power a pond pump!, burying ordinary flex in the soil to compound matters! Luckily she realised the danger and I disconnected the bloody lot pronto! - and filled the pond in - mosquito breeding ground too. Do you know this stupid git told a mutual aquaintance my missus had "ruined his garden!"

Alan

[This message has been edited by Alan Belson (edited 08-18-2005).]
_________________________
Wood work but can't!

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#143648 - 08/19/05 06:24 AM Re: very old installation
pauluk Offline
Member

Registered: 08/11/01
Posts: 7693
Loc: Norfolk, England
 Quote:
the previous owner had wired an extension lead to power a pond pump!, burying ordinary flex in the soil to compound matters!


"Mais Monsieur, il marche, n'est-ce pas?"

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#143649 - 08/19/05 10:03 AM Re: very old installation
Alan Belson Offline
Member

Registered: 03/23/05
Posts: 1801
Loc: Mayenne N. France
Paul, I have to report the previous owner was English, and a complete plonker! If he'd been a local, the idea of having a 'garden pond' full of mosquitos would have been as preposterous as trying to nail Jello to the ceiling. I've spent hundreds of hours putting right his bodge-ups in the last few years. Do you know what that pillock had done in response to our 500ma trip operating in thundery weather? He had gone round the house, opened every receptacle and cut the earth wires!
Alan
_________________________
Wood work but can't!

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#143650 - 08/19/05 01:18 PM Re: very old installation
mxslick Offline
Member

Registered: 10/24/04
Posts: 785
Loc: Atomic City, ID USA
Alan:

Sounds like that "plonker" knew just enough to be dangerous!! Does that qualify him to be a "******" too? Or maybe "*********" fits better!

britspark:

I agree with kiwi, working out a plan to gradually upgrade would be a great idea. And if you could carefully and in easy-to-understand terms explain to the couple and/or thier son that the condition of the old wiring is cause for concern, I think you'll find them receptive.

Personally, I would rather deal with a face-to-face discussion to alert them to potential trouble, than read about a tragedy caused by the dodgy wiring that I didn't say anything about.

You sound like a true professional, with concern over the safety of others. A big thumbs up!!

{Message edited to remove profanities.}

[This message has been edited by Trumpy (edited 08-19-2005).]
_________________________
Stupid should be painful.

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