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Drilled into wire, how immediate of a fix is required?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by JB-BJ, 25 Oct 2021.

  1. JB-BJ

    JB-BJ

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    Good afternoon,

    Despite best efforts not to, I've managed to nick a wire during the drilling of a hole through plasterboard.

    My wire detector didn't pick it up, and (to my knowledge) it's in just about the safest of 'safe zones' possible. The picture isn't very good, but the copper is exposed - seemingly not particularly gnarled though. There was no pop, no trips on the consumer unit etc.

    I've contacted my normal spark but he hasn't got back. I've got to go away for a couple of days as of tomorrow, and wonder how desperate it is to get this fixed, and what to do next.

    I understand that I'll have to remove more plasterboard to get to it. Is the best method perhaps just flicking all the CB's off then sawing a neat square?

    Edit: I should add that other than there being a radiator on each side of the wall, there are no sockets or light switches whatsoever.

    WhatsApp Image 2021-10-25 at 13.59.41.jpeg WhatsApp Image 2021-10-25 at 14.05.24.jpeg
     
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  3. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    Do you know what circuit it is part of ?
    Turning off the MCB to the relevant circuit would be wise until a spark can get to you.
    More of the plasterboard will need to be removed ,and made good in due course.
     
  4. JB-BJ

    JB-BJ

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    Thanks for your reply.

    No I don't. At a guess it could be the downlights for the far end of the kitchen. I could perhaps do some investigation. If I enlarge the hole slightly I can fit my voltage pen in there, check if it's live and do the 'turn off CB's until it stops beeping' method. Is that perhaps a sensible approach?
     
  5. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    Yes ,turn power off to ALL circuits before cutting out more plasterboard ,there may be other cables there.
    What area of the country are you in ?
     
  6. JB-BJ

    JB-BJ

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    Near J11 of the M40, on the Oxfordshire/Northants border. I do have a good electrician, if I can get him on the phone!

    I'll do that investigation and return with more info.
     
  7. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    And more pics !!!
     
  8. JB-BJ

    JB-BJ

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    The circuit in question is for sockets. The CU is very poorly labelled (we've been improving that as we go) so I don't know exactly which sockets it powers. In any case, it's the same circuit as my garage sockets, so it knocks out the freezer to have it off - amongst other things.

    The best picture I can really get is below. Seemingly not a huge amount of damage to the wire but definitely exposed copper, and difficult to say.

    So frustrating. There isn't even a plug or switch above it upstairs, or anywhere near it. Some asshole just stuck it in the middle of a wall, with no protection, and didn't give a toss.
     

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  9. terryplumb

    terryplumb

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    Probably need a new length of cable .That wall looks like block ,and not wise to fit a junction box there. Short term would be ok ,but you need an electrician.
     
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  11. dannyboi2003

    dannyboi2003

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    Could the cables be feeding a socket on the other side of that wall or is there a blanked off socket behind the radiator perhaps? That's not unheard of especially in Wimpey houses built in the 80s-90s.
     
  12. opps

    opps

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    Am I being overly dense? I am not an electrician (but)... The cable needs to be sorted but I really don't see why it it needs to be dealt with immediately. From what I can see the insulation took the brunt, the copper cable appears to be undamaged.

    If the house is unoccupied for a few days, is there really a risk of fire/etc? Why not leave the fridge plugged in and turn off any thing else on the ring that doesn't need to run. Or use a extension lead for the fridge and flick the MCB rather than paying an emergency call out.
     
  13. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    I'd leave it while you're away.

    It's not going to spontaneously combust.

    Stick some tape over the wall so people don't stick there hands in there
     
  14. JB-BJ

    JB-BJ

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    There's no docket directly on the other side of the wall, but there is around the corner in the adjacent room. Annoyingly it would have been easier to route the cables to the right in the safe zone. It's almost like they've gone to extra effort to put them bang in the middle.

    I am likely being over-cautious, I'll admit. But I'm not back until late in the week and I need the circuit powered by the weekend. I also think there's a bit more damage than first meets the eye. In any case I called a local chap and he's going to sort it out this evening or first thing tomorrow.

    I think that would have been pragmatic and sensible. In any case I rang a local chap who was happy to have a look, and it seems it'll be sorted by tomorrow morning. I need that circuit powered by the weekend so at least it gives some piece of mind that it'll get done.
     
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  15. 333rocky333

    333rocky333

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    Bare in mind, the Earth in that cable is uninsulated, maybe unlikely but there is a chance a bare Live could track across to that Earth causing a fire.
    Indeed it could likely be left for a while, but i would do my upmost to split the sheathing and get some distance between the Live and Earth, bearing in mind the cable needs isolating prior to digging it about.
     
  16. RandomGrinch

    RandomGrinch

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    Hi,
    Coincidentally I watched this yesterday!:



    Basically, if there is a load on the cable and enough strands of the conductor have been cut; there is the possibility of increased resistance, heat damage and the chance of an arc forming.
    Maybe isolating wouldn't be a bad idea! :)
     
    Last edited: 25 Oct 2021
  17. Mottie

    Mottie

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    Why were you drilling a hole in the wall in the first place?
     
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