Keeping you and your family safe in the home is obviously something you don’t plan to take chances on, but it’s not always easy to know if you’re dicing with danger.
We often stick to the wiring we’ve inherited when we move into a new home because having a property rewired is a major upheaval, and can be expensive.
It’s also hard to tell if the wiring needs to be redone.
A good place to start checking is the fuse box – if it has rewirable fuses, for example, it’s in need of an update because modern fuse boxes don’t use fuse wire (however, fuse boxes are sometimes replaced without the rest of the wiring being updated, so you can’t rely on this as an indicator).
Other indicators of old wiring include sockets with burn marks, single rather than double sockets, sockets mounted on skirting boards, and surface-mounted cables.
The only way to be really sure if the wiring is safe though, is to get a qualified electrician to test it.
Make sure you use an electrician registered with one of the government’s competent-person schemes, such as NICEIC (niceic.com).
If they don’t belong to such a scheme, you can get their work checked by your local council’s building control department or an approved inspector.
The key thing is to get a completion certificate so you can prove that the electrical installation is safe and legal, something often needed when you sell or rent out your home.