A test to maintain show that your electrics continue to uphold the national safety standard. A periodic inspection will:
• Reveal if any of your electrical circuits or equipment is overloaded.
• Find any potential electrical shock risks and fire hazards in your electrics.
• Identify any defective DIY electrical work.
• Highlight any lack of earthing or bonding.
• Tests are also carried out on wiring and fixed electrical equipment to check that it is safe. A schedule of circuits will also be provided, which is invaluable for a property.
Electrics deteriorate with use and age. Therefore it is important that the safety of users is not put at risk.
Your electrics should be tested every:
• 10 years for a home
• 5 years for a business
• 3 years for caravans
• 1 year for swimming pools
Other instances when a periodic inspection should be carried out are:
• When a property is being prepared to be let.
• Prior to selling a property or when buying a previously occupied property.
A fully registered electrician, who will check the electrics against the national safety standard, should carry out all periodic inspections. The inspection should meet BS 7671 – Requirements for Electrical Installations (IEE Wiring Regulations). That’s the technical name for the 850 regulations that are checked in this test.
The inspection takes into account all the relevant circumstances and includes the following:
• The adequacy of earthing and bonding.
• The suitability of the switchgear and controlgear. For example an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of both will need replacing.
• The serviceability of switches, sockets and light fittings. The following may all require replacing; older round pin sockets, round light switches, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards.
• The type of wiring system and its condition. For example cables coated in black- rubber were phased out in the 1960s, likewise cables coated in lead or fabric are even older and may well need replacing (modern cables use pvc insulation).
• The provision of residual current devices for sockets that may be used to plug in outdoor electrical equipment.
• The presence of adequate identification and notices.
• The extent of any wear and tear, damage or other deterioration.
• The changes in house which have led to, or may lead to, problematic wiring.
• The electrician will provide a periodic inspection report (PIR) as part of the periodic inspection.