At GW Electrical, we are experts at working with electrical cabling for both domestic customers in and around Bristol, and on major commercial cabling contracts UK wide. So, we were very interested to read a BBC news story this week which highlighted potential problems with unsafe electrical cable that was sold in the UK as recently as 2010.
The cable in question was manufactured by a Turkish company, Atlas Kablo, which is no longer in operation. It had been found to contain too little copper – which meant that it was prone to overheating with the risk of catching fire. According to the BBC article, the Health and Safety Executive warned the industry about the potential dangers but did not order a recall of the potentially defective cable – which some experts feel should have happened. In response, one of the retailers which stocked the cabling, Homebase (then owned by Home Retail Group) was quoted as saying that the cable had been withdrawn from sale in 2010 and that the product was deemed as low risk for low-voltage items, so the company did not issue a public product recall.
With the recent Grenfell Fire disaster fresh in many of our minds, fire safety is at the forefront of people’s minds, and news stories like this have the potential to cause further anxiety for homeowners.
So, what are the best ways to ensure electrical cable safety at home?
Electrical Safety First, the industry body which provides advice and guidance on electrical safety has a number of recommendations. Even good quality cabling and wiring can have the potential to cause problems if not maintained and regularly inspected, but there are some specific signs that you should look for which may indicate that your wiring needs attention, particularly if you own an older property:
- If your home cables are coated in black rubber (these were phased out in the 1960s)
- Likewise cables coated in lead or fabric (also pre-dating the 1960s)
- A fuse-box with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a mixture of boxes
- Round pin sockets and round light switches
- Braided light flexes and brown and black switches and sockets in skirting boards
- Any wall-mounted light switches in bathrooms
However, even without any warning signs, it is important to ensure that your wiring meets current safety standards and is fit for purpose. If you haven’t had it checked for a while then it is worth thinking about getting this done – for your peace of mind.
What should I do?
The BBC article recommends that any homeowner who is worried should have their cables and wiring checked by a qualified electrician. There are no set rules for how often owner/occupier home wiring should be checked but Electrical Safety First recommends that this is done every ten years (five for rented property). Can you remember when you last time you had your home electrics inspected? If you feel like it was a long time ago or you can’t remember that last time you had it done, then why not have it checked for your peace of mind?
GW Electrical are experts in all aspects of domestic electrical requirements including electrical inspection and rewiring and electrical cable safety. Get in touch with us and we will be more than happy to check your home wiring for you.