Safety Checks - When was the last time you had yours completed

Last week I was asked to visit a lovely lady that had a problem with her electrics. She explained that she had had a new light fitting installed in her hallway by a friend and that afterwards the kitchen sockets had stopped working.

When I arrived at her house I had a look at the new light fitting and other then the cables hadn't been wrapped round the cable supports, there appeared to be nothing else wrong. All of the lights worked as they were meant to, however all of the sockets on the downstairs where dead.

Looking at the consumer unit all of the circuit breakers were in the 'ON' position, as was the RCB protecting the circuits. This lead me into the kitchen and after inspecting and testing all of the kitchen sockets I still couldn't find anything wrong. Nothing was plug in to any of the sockets in the hallway and living room, so the mystery deepened !

Very strange !!

Next was to unplug all of the kitchen appliances and get back to the consumer unit to carry out the oldest trick in the book. I switched off all of the circuits breakers and the RCB and then Switched them all back on a again !

This time all of the sockets on the ground floor sprang into life, but as I flicked on the last 32amp circuit breaker there was a pretty loud crackling noise. Switching the circuit breakers back off again I tried to have a better look. At first glance nothing seemed to be wrong with any of the breakers, but when I removed them from the consumer unit I found the problem.

When the circuit breaker had been originally installed, the copper busbar had been fitted incorrectly and over time this had caused some serious damage.

Now that I knew what the problems was it was easily fixed by fitting a new circuit breaker and busbar installed.

Speaking to the client I showed her the consumer unit labelling and pointed out that the inspection date was about 6 years out of date. I also showed her how to test the RCB, which she also had no idea about until my visit.



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