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How Often Should You Have An Electrical Inspection?

The age of your property and the number of electrical appliances you have in it determines how often should you have an electrical inspection. The recommendation is every three to five years. This testing at regular intervals ensures that installations are in a satisfactory condition for continuation – and haven’t deteriorated with time and use.

This electrical condition report is known as a periodic inspection. The following guide will inform you about the periodic electrical inspection – how often? And advise you about the importance of an electrical safety check.

Electrical System Failings

There are signs that you may have an inadequate electrical system and these include:

  • Lights flickering when you turn on another appliance
  • Frequently tripping circuit breakers
  • Switches not working properly
  • Fuses in plugs blowing often
  • Crackling or buzzing noises
  • Burn marks on sockets and plugs

Socket checked by an electrician

Maintaining Adequate Safety Standards

To keep up with recent safety standards you need to have electrical installation testing carried out:

  • Every year for a swimming pool
  • Every three years for a caravan
  • Every five years for a rented property or business
  • Every 10 years for a private home

There are other times when testing electrical circuits is recommended and these are:

  • Before selling or buying a previously occupied property
  • When a property is being made ready for letting

What Does a Periodic Inspection Do?

A periodic inspection will identify any defective electrical work and any potential electric shock risks or fire hazards. Tests will be carried out on wiring and other electrical equipment to ensure all are safe. If any of your electrical circuits are overloaded this will be discovered, as well as any lack of bonding or earthing.

Further checks will be carried out on:

  • The suitability of the control gear – old fuse boxes and cast-iron switches will need to be replaced
  • The general serviceability of switches, sockets, and light fittings – older pin sockets and frayed cables, for example, will need replacing
  • The condition and type of wiring – modern cables will be installed to replace rubber, lead, and fabric coatings
  • The extent of any wear and tear – including deterioration and other damage
  • Sockets – both indoor and outdoor ensuring they are protected by a suitable residual current device
  • Any changes in the use of premises – which may result in unsafe conditions

Periodic inspection by a local electrician

Who Carries Out the Periodic Inspection?

Domestic electrical installation testing must be undertaken by qualified and registered electricians. Your local 24-hour emergency electricians are registered with the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting and can provide all electrical work and assessments required.

Checks will be made against the UK standards for the safety of electrical installations – BS 7671 – requirements for Electrical Installations.

Electrical Installation Condition Report

An electrical inspection certificate report (this is the EICR meaning) will record the results of the inspection and testing to ensure all electrical installations are safe and can be used until the next inspection after any necessary work needed to make it safe.

Any damage or wear and tear that might affect safety will be reported, alongside any potential risks of high temperature or electric shock. Any parts of the wiring system that don’t meet the IET wiring regulations will be documented in order for re-wiring to be installed.

This periodic inspection report will remain an important document as it is a record of the installation at the time of inspection, and will be used as the foundation for future checks.

Tips for Electrical Safety

In between your periodic inspections, there are certain things you can do to keep your home safe. These include:

  • Never using electrical items around water or touching electrical items with wet hands
  • Avoiding extension cords as much as possible as they can be potential trip hazards, and rip the cord out of the wall
  • Replacing damaged power cables immediately as exposed wiring can be lethal
  • Not overloading outlets as plugging in too many devices at once can cause a small explosion so use a power strip to stay safe
  • Protecting small children from hazards with tamper-resistant safety caps on all unused electrical sockets, and tying up loose cords and putting them out of reach

Remember that the three main hazards of electricity are:

  • Faults which cause potential fires
  • Fire or explosion where electricity is the source of ignition
  • Contact with live electricity causing burns, falls, shock, and even death