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How old is the electrical wiring in your building?

Electrical, Information

How old is too old? You may know that your properties electrical wiring is dated but how old is it and when does that become too dangerous to leave as it is?

A visual inspection of electrical wiring can help to diagnose the estimated age of your electrical wiring. There are certain tell tale signs from plug socket outlet shapes to how many electrical points there are in a room. An electrical fuse board and the types of fuses used are also good indicators of the electrical age of your properties wiring. But these are all fixed items that can be easily replaced over the years. The big tell tale sign and the most important aspect to check is the electrical cable running behind the walls.

Why is the age of the electrical wiring important?

Safety and regulations are the two main reasons. By knowing the age of your electrical wiring, we can better understand what regulations were in place and which ones weren’t. And from that we can better understand what safety features your property DOES NOT have.

electrical wiring age

How to tell the age of electrical wiring

The first mass produced electrical wiring dates back to around the time of World War I. Paper insulation electrical wiring was the first mass produced type in the UK. Its toxic mix was a health hazard in todays standards and it is very rare to find this type of cabling in UK properties anymore.

1930s – Lead Insulation

Like the paper insulation electrical cabling before it, it is rare to find this type of electrical wiring anymore. Made from a flat lead sheathed cable that had a rubber insulation lining. If you still have this kind of electrical wiring in use in your property today then you should call HF Electrical Contractors for a rewiring service.

1950s – Vulcanised Indian Rubber

VIR or VRI as it was known had the appearance of a red shoelace and can still be found in older buildings across the country. Due to the construction nature of older buildings and modern regulations that require a minimum 40% free space within a cable containment (for heat build up reasons), it can be a challenge to replace this type of electrical cabling. But the waxy cotton material that covers the electrical wiring is brittle and this type of wiring have been sitting there for potentially 70 years. This is still a common type of electrical wiring to be found in UK buildings and from a safety point of view, should be replace.

1960s – Rubber Sheath

One of the first types of electrical cabling to feature an earth wire (CPC), rubber sheath electrical wiring can still be found in many homes in the UK.

1970s – Grey PVC

If you live or work in an older building then there is a very high chance that your electrical supply still flows through this type of electrical wiring. It was the first type of electrical wiring to incorporate a bare CPC conductor that ran through the central cable.

1980s – White PVC

An evolution of the grey PVC wiring from the previous decade, the conductors were made from copper and they were the first cables to use solid cores for wiring up to 2.5mm. This was however the last electrical wiring to use red and black to identify the live and neutral wires.

2004 – Modern PVC

Switching red to brown and black to blue to represent the live and neutral wires was the UK’s way of syncing with Europe and their electrical wiring colour coding. This style of electrical cable is still in use today and is mostly sold in a Grey PVC coated colour.

Find out more

To find out more about electrical wiring and how to make your property electrically safe, please call us today.

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