House rewiring

Our house was built in 1960. We’ve live in it since 1981. Installed separate circuit in living room for hifi back in 1983 - alas no longer used for hifi since SWMBO banished me and my gear to my study after I retired.

Had a new fusebox installed about 4 years ago.

So I’m asking any electricians here - when should we think about perhaps having the house rewired?

Not having any problems with it ATM, except our local power station seems to have occasional power cuts (often daily during the summer!)

I don’t think you need to ask a qualified electrician, as after 60 years on the primary cabling (bar the box) it’s well overdue. The usual timeline is 25/30 years - my sparks cited the upper end/slightly more given my cables are in cavities (assume as they are protected - hopefully no rodents!).

An easy check is to isolate and see how the sheathing is doing on the main ring cables i.e. it shouldn’t be overly stiff to the point of cracking or, if rubber, going to powder or both.

As a comfort, you could ask a qualified sparky to test it (assume they did this c.4Y’s ago when the new 'box was installed?). Of course, the change in Reg’s over the years (inc where sockets are located) could be a downside for you in terms of disturbance - my sparks said most new installations end up with many more sockets, for obvious reasons.

Sounds like what I am thinking. Might have difficulty persuading SWMBO, though. Will have to wait until the current restrictions are removed.

I have an elderly relative (77) who is in good health and wants to change things around at home - think new through-lounge carpet, the wood flooring laid over latex perhaps - none of which will come cheap. The hallway floor has already been sealed with wood-effect flooring.

All the electrics are OK at the moment - she only uses TV and other low load kit.

The house was last rewired c.1973 (by her late husband) and there are clearly some issues e.g. not enough gangs on the consumer box now as it’s squeezed in to a confined space under the stairs. Plus, when a new kitchen was fitted a few years back, they didn’t put some heavy load kit on a dedicated 6mm feed (probably looked at the CU and thought ‘nah’), as they should have done. I found it was connected to the kitchen ring - thankfully, she never used it.

I’m not being listened to at the moment - everything visually is fine of course and ‘it’ll see me out’.

I think a house built in 1960 in the UK won’t have rubber wiring. PVC is probably still ok now providing it hasn’t been messed around with too much. But on the other hand you won’t have nearly as many sockets as you need and you probably don’t have enough discrete rings. Also the whole installation probably is only just compliant with the Regs, but the electrician would have had to certify it as safe 4 years ago.

Rewiring a house while you are living in it is very disruptive and will involve a lot of redecoration and maybe flooring repairs afterwards. And it will be expensive to do. A friend recently had her house rewired. She moved out for a month so the electrician could leave the mess each night and pick up without delay the next day. It cost her about £10K for a 4 bedroom not particularly large house. Then a whole lot more for the redecoration.



Yes David - well observed re the impacts of the work.

This is where working and understanding what a sparks can do in the context of your home is vital and can save many £’s.

When mine was done c.2003, the sparks managed to use existing cavities to drop cables (several plumb lines were lost!) and managed to avoid new chases in the internal walls wherever possible.

In general, sparks dislike ‘making good’ (e.g. plastering in new chases et al = not their gig) - so if you’ve also got thoughts of doing other works (perhaps not as much as RackKit on the System Pics thread!), then it would be a good time to consider these too.

Consultation and careful planning is key.

First of all to clarify: I am not a formally qualified electrician – however I have completely rewired two houses the most recent one to 17th edition requirements (a comprehensive install) and satisfactorily signed off by a qualified electrician. I’ve also done several partial rewires, and lot of other mains electrical installations over the years.

Whilst round about 1960 some houses were being done with PVC insulation others still used rubber. I would certainly check which you have if you have any consideration of not rewiring: if you have rubber I would say that you are overdue as it can deteriorate and can be a fire hazard. It is easily checked by unscrewing a socket from the wall and looking at the wiring at the back (with power off!)

However even if PVC insulation, the electrical demands in houses as anticipated in 1960 was considerably less than in most houses today and unless additional circuits have been added (and I don’t mean additional sockets on the existing circuits) there is a definite possibility that the wiring is inadequate.

My own inclination without seeing it is that rewiring probably is appropriate, although depending on house layout any existing trunking et cetera it can be a very intrusive process. If you do go ahead I would urge careful thought about future needs, segregation of different types of load, convenience, socket locations, separate supply for hi-fi, Wall lights, extractor fans etc., and maybe at the same time anything else that may warrant the same sort of work within walls above ceilings and below floors such as maybe ethernet cabling.

Thanks. It’s all up in the air ATM, due to the CVirus. When it all settles down I’ll give the electrician who rewired my daughter’s house a call.

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.