With over 20 years of experience as a qualified electrician, Patrick Crowe from Corlec Electrical has seen some serious problems arise when ageing electrics have been overlooked for replacement or a house has been poorly wired.
“Electrical problems due to faulty electrics is not just an inconvenience but is also dangerous,” warns Patrick. “It’s important for homeowners to use their common sense when looking at the state of their home wiring and electrics. If light fittings are burning out, fuses are blowing or live wires are evident, then don’t delay in contacting a Registered Electrical Contractor (REC) to get things in order.”
The value of a Periodic Inspection Report
Patrick recommends homeowners invest in a Periodic Inspection Report (PIR). A PIR should be carried out approximately every 10 years for owner-occupied homes.
A PIR aims to identify the condition of your home’s electrical installation. The inspection includes a series of tests and will evaluate the physical state of the house’s wiring and electrics.
Following a PIR, a set of recommendations based on a scale of 1 – 4 will be issued. Where serious defects are identified, the property will be deemed a potential hazard until resolved.
“For example, an earth connection is essential for the effective operation of electrical safety switches in the home,” explains Patrick. “In circumstances where a house has a poor or no earth connection, a live current seeking a path to the ground, could accidentally electrocute a person.”
Other problems a PIR might identify are ageing cables, meter tails incorrectly fitted or the need to install a distribution board for separate electrical power feeds to secondary circuits like electric showers.
Patrick describes a recent domestic electrical emergency; “Late one evening, a homeowner phoned after experiencing a blown a fuse. It was quickly evident that the circuit had been overloaded due to two electric showers as well as an oven operating all at once. The fuse was replaced, but ensure the fuse didn't blow again, a distribution board was installed to prevent capacity overload from these appliances in the future.”
How do I know when I need to rewire my home?
Identification of electrical faults in the home may require a house rewire, however the following list outlines situations where a house rewiring project is most likely due.
- A PIR has indicated that the property needs to be upgraded to accommodate the current standards as set by the National Standards Authority of Ireland (NSAI)
- You may require a part or full property rewire including a new fuse box (consumer unit), if you are planning major property renovation
- If you are converting an attic or garage or extending your home, new wiring will be required to meet NSAI standards. Unless existing wiring in the home does not comply to standard, then the rest of the property will not need upgrading.
- Installing new energy-efficient, systems, which require different electrical configurations and requirements.
- If you are installing new electrical appliances in the home i.e. car charging units or electric showers, then a rewire maybe require to carry the additional electrical supply loads safely.
The house rewiring process
Before starting your rewiring project, the first step is to plan.
A homeowners will need to consider what will be required in each room before starting, what is known as the ‘first fix’. This plan will determine the layout of lighting, electrical sockets, light switches, extraction fans, heating controls etc.
An example of an electrical plan for a house renovation
Even the most low tech of homes will still have requirements such as plug points for recharging phones, smoke alarms, climate controls and security systems.
“When it comes to modern living, many homeowners want much more from their electrical set-up than previous generations. This includes many smart home devices such as smart light switches, multi zone control thermostats and even in some cases, home cinemas” says Patrick. “Before starting a rewiring project, it is important that a homeowner has a detailed plan, as changing minds mid-way through a project can be costly and time-consuming.”
The first fix involves wiring circuits and fixing conduits to walls, which will then be covered with plaster or chasing existing walls to install new electrical fixtures and fittings.
The second fix involves connecting up the fuse box, including adding and connecting light fittings, faceplates for switches and sockets, central heating controls, electric showers, boilers and other appliances.
Rewiring your home is a disruptive process, and it is much easier for all concerned if the home is not occupied. However, if you are unable to move out, ask your electrician if a temporary supply of electricity can be arranged for one habitable room, where you can reside while they get on with the project.
What is the cost to rewire a house?
The cost to rewire your home will depend on your house's size, electrical specification and location. Expect a lower price in rural areas compared to major city locations, due to cost of living and labour shortages.
The specification of fittings and fixtures can have a big impact on the overall cost of your rewiring project. Remember to shop around, as there are savings to be realised on the type of sockets and light fittings you decide to install.
“Always chat with your electrician on ways to save money on a rewiring project”, recommends Patrick. “During a recent rewiring project, a young couple saved €500 on pulling up the floorboards themselves before work started.”
Below is a table that looks at the price ranges for different sized properties based on a standard specification and 3 PVC socket configuration in each room:
|Size of House
||Price Range (excl.VAT)
||Avg Completion Time
||€2,500 - €3K
||€3K - €4K
||€4K - €5,500
||Approx. 2 weeks
||€5K - €7K
Based in Kinsale, Crolec Electrical and Security are experts in all aspects of electrical installations and offers fully qualified Safe Electric Registered electricial services in the Cork area.
You can view Corlec Electricial and Security ratings click here or call Patrick direct on 087 649 4864. Alternatively, you can post a job via Onlinetradesmen.