Builder says we need expensive kitchen rewire - do we really?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by tan8856, 15 Jun 2015.

  1. tan8856

    tan8856

    Joined:
    5 Aug 2008
    Messages:
    219
    Thanks Received:
    0
    Location:
    Berkshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Hi

    Just having a new kitchen fitted and builder has noticed that the kitchen electrics are set up radially rather than on a ring. He has said we should have the kitchen rewired and thats going to be £600 (we live in home counties so its a case of think of a number and add some noughts in this part of the country).

    The other solution he has suggested is that we have our main circuit breaker downgraded from 32 to 20 amps, but has told us that whenever the kettle and another appliance are switched on at the same time the fuse in the main board will definitely trip.

    We have asked to have the 20 amp breaker installed so we can actually see this constant tripping happening.

    Obviously if it does keep tripping we will need the rewire. Or there is a third option - get the 20 amp breaker fitted to keep the electrician happy and then switch it back to the old 32 amp one ourselves when he's gone as our kitchen has worked fine for the 10 years we've lived here and im thinking this is just a case of excessive health and safety? How easy is it to fit a different breaker?

    £600 is a lot of money on top of our already escalating costs.

    Thanks
     
  2. Sponsored Links
  3. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

    Joined:
    7 Jul 2010
    Messages:
    37,811
    Thanks Received:
    4,257
    Location:
    Retired to:
    Country:
    Portugal
    What size is the cable used for the radial circuit?

    Does it have just a single core (2.5mm²) in each L & N conductor, in which case the builder is probably correct, or

    are there more than one strand (4mm²) in each L & N conductor, in which case it is satisfactory as it is?
     
  4. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,196
    Thanks Received:
    3,249
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    There's nothing wrong with a radial circuit so long as the cable and breaker are appropriate, but ...
    If the circuit is wired in 2.5mm², then he's right - that would neither be compliant with regulations nor necessarily safe.
    That is unlikely to happen with just two appliances, particularly if one is something used for only a brief period (like a kettle), but could certainly become a problem if more than two power-hungry appliances were on at the same time. What appliances are run from this circuit? However, 20A for a kitchen is not very much.

    Having the present radial converted to a ring, with the 32A breaker, might not be a very big job.
    Bad idea! A 2.5mm² radial (if that's what it is) protected by a 32A breaker is non-compliant with regulations and potentially dangerous. You may have got away with it for 10 years, but that doesn't mean that you house won't burn down next week.

    I would suggest that you get the opinion of an electrician. As I said, converting the radial (if that's what it is) to a ring might not be a big job.

    Kind Regards, John
     
  5. mfarrow

    mfarrow

    Joined:
    2 Nov 2009
    Messages:
    2,126
    Thanks Received:
    244
    Location:
    Warwickshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Replacing the 32A breaker with a 20A breaker is not "Health and Safety gone mad" if a 2.5mm (solid strand) cable has been used. It's a principle that has been around since the earliest editions of the wiring regulations in the 1800s. However the bodgers haven't gone away since then.

    The other consideration is that you may have stranded 2.5mm cable if it's of a particular age. It may even be silver in colour. Therefore we really need a picture of the back of a socket (power off) to be sure.
     
    • Thanks Thanks x 1
  6. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

    Joined:
    7 Jul 2010
    Messages:
    37,811
    Thanks Received:
    4,257
    Location:
    Retired to:
    Country:
    Portugal
    Ah. Good point.
     
  7. dhutch

    dhutch

    Joined:
    12 Oct 2011
    Messages:
    1,654
    Thanks Received:
    101
    Location:
    Wirral
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    The other option if there are several radials into one breaker, is to split them, so you have 2x20amp breakers rather than one 32amp. Hard to say without seeing what you have.


    Daniel
     
    • Like Like x 1
  8. phatboy

    phatboy

    Joined:
    22 Jan 2012
    Messages:
    2,198
    Thanks Received:
    259
    Location:
    Jersey
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    If the cable was installed directly into plaster or clipped to a wall (or a mixture), then Reference Method C would make a 25amp breaker acceptable.
     
  9. RF Lighting

    RF Lighting

    Joined:
    31 Mar 2006
    Messages:
    19,990
    Thanks Received:
    1,354
    Location:
    Leeds
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Why not ask an electrician if your wiring is safe, rather than your builder? :rolleyes:
     
  10. Sponsored Links
  11. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,196
    Thanks Received:
    3,249
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Indeed - I suggested that early this afternoon :)

    Kind Regards, John
     
  12. conny

    conny

    Joined:
    30 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    14,285
    Thanks Received:
    837
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    When I lived in Liverpool we had a radial circuit wired in 2.5mm feeding two single sockets. Tumble dryer in one and ex-wife insisted kettle position had to use the other one. Got sick and tired of having to reset breaker when both appliances were in use so threw kettle out and got a gas whistling type one.
    (She flatly refused getting the circuit upgraded as "it will spoil the decorations.")
     
  13. JohnW2

    JohnW2

    Joined:
    28 Jan 2011
    Messages:
    49,196
    Thanks Received:
    3,249
    Location:
    Buckinghamshire
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    Was that a 20A breaker or a 16A one? If 20A, I really wouldn't expect that set up to cause it to trip. At the very most, they would represent a 26A load (and the kettle would only be on for short periods of time) - a 20A MCB should allow 22.6A to flow indefinitely, and would take up to an hour to trip with 29A, so probably a very long time to trip with 26A (even if the kettle was on continuously, for 'hours').

    Kind Regards, John
     
  14. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

    Joined:
    27 Aug 2003
    Messages:
    69,782
    Thanks Received:
    2,858
    Location:
    London
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    It would need to be an unfeasibly large kettle with no lid and a faulty steam sensor.
     
  15. ericmark

    ericmark

    Joined:
    27 Jan 2008
    Messages:
    18,937
    Thanks Received:
    1,780
    Location:
    Llanfair Caereinion, Nr Welshpool
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    1) Unlikely to need a full re-wire to turn into a ring.
    2) Assuming following the recommendation in appendix 15 (iii) connecting cookers, ovens and hobs with a rated power exceeding 2 kW on their own dedicated radial circuit then a 20A supply should be ample.

    In my mothers kitchen a new supply was taken around the outside of the house with SWA cable and a kitchen consumer unit fitted in her case because the age of cables used in her kitchen it did need a re-wire. The work was clearly required from the onset so there was never a quote made which did not include the work and no breakdown given but the whole job was not that expensive so £600 extra seems a bit OTT assuming electrics were already included and this is an extra charge.

    The problem is we tend to use the kitchen for other uses when not being used as a kitchen. My sister had her washing machine and tumble drier in her utility room which is were they should be don't want dirty cloths and food mixing, but in my house the two are in the same room although at different ends. However the two ends of kitchen are on different ring finals. Although the washing machine is rated at 2.8kW for most of the cycle it does not use much power with reduced water usage also comes reduced power to heat that water so it would be rare to use kettle at exactly same time as washer uses its water heater. So unlikely it would trip a 20A MCB. However the tumble drier is a real problem these use power for an extended time be it stand alone or built into washing machine it is likely these will cause a problem.

    So if tumble drier is used then maybe you will have a problem with a 20A supply but with just kitchen items then 20A is ample. (Assuming cookers, ovens and hobs have dedicated supply)
     
  16. conny

    conny

    Joined:
    30 Jun 2008
    Messages:
    14,285
    Thanks Received:
    837
    Location:
    Suffolk
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    It was a 15A mcb and it would trip as the kettle neared boiling point. Got fed up after a few months and got the gas kettle. Much easier than trying to upgrade the cable or circuit, Lol.
     
  17. deadshort

    deadshort

    Joined:
    20 Sep 2014
    Messages:
    2,086
    Thanks Received:
    211
    Location:
    uk
    Country:
    United Kingdom
    £600 ?

    DS
     
Loading...

Share This Page