The average home should be rewired every 25-30 years dependent on the type of cables installed, if a property has not been rewired within this time it is highly likely it will need upgrading at least in part to bring it up to current standards and eliminate any fire hazards and risk of electrocution.
An upgrade of the fuse board to a modern consumer unit will protect the existing install against becoming dangerous. New fuse boards have an additional protective device called an RCD (Residual Current Device) which protects against a potential fault, whereas older fuse boards only protect against an active fault.
If you don’t know when your property was rewired there are some key indicators that it is time for an inspection:
- Old wooden backed fuse boards
- Fuse boards where you have to replace the fuse wire instead of just the fuses themselves
- Modern electrical installations are wired in grey or white coloured PVCu insulated cable. If there is old rubber insulated cable, fabric insulated cable or lead insulated cable it needs replacing as the insulation can rot and become a fire hazard and potential electrocution.
If you don’t see any of these key indicators the best time to get your wiring checked is when you’re planning to redecorate or refurbish as any rewiring necessary can take place with minimal disruption as the removal of floorboards or damage to plaster can be made good within the refurbishment. The amount of disruption cause with a rewire depends on whether the existing wiring is installed within trunking or within the walls and floors, as the boards will need to come up and chases made in the plaster.