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How worried should I be? Cables without sheat and connector block in ceiling

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by chris1982, 5 May 2017.

  1. chris1982

    chris1982

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    I just wanted to install a new ceiling light, simple swap against the old ceiling rose / light pendant, I thought!

    I took the old light down and noticed right away there was no earth, looked again and noticed that there was only one two cores, black and red, but no sign of the outer cable. So I took down the ceiling rose in the hope to see at least one cable with outer insulation and some earth. Instead I found a true mess, attached is photo (Sorry I just realized the poor quality but now I put the lights back up before it turns dark):
    1. Shoved up into the ceiling void, there is connector block (with screw terminals) which seems to be the loop for the neutrals (all are black cores).
    2. For as far as I can see into the ceiling, all cables have their outer insulation removed.

    I do see red cores and something that looks like the blank earth cores higher up in the ceiling.

    How worried should I be about this arrangement? Out of all places it is in/above the bathroom.
    For now I put some tape around the terminal block, but I understand that a maintenance free and enclosed connector would be much better. The bigger question I have is, how big is the risk stemming from these cables running through the ceiling without outer insulation? The circuit is for the upstairs lights and on a 6amp MCB from the non-RCD side of the CU. Above the bathroom there is the loft, which is not boarded but covered in high insulation. (And as you might remember from an older post, it's really difficult to access the loft, but this time I think that someone really needs to get up there...)

    And thinking forwards, the light I wanted to install needs to be earthed. It is a LED bulkhead and doesn't have connectors that allow for looping the neutrals, so that would need to stay in a MF-box in the ceiling. But I would need to get an earth to the light. All other lights in this circuit do have an earth. Even at the bathroom (ceiling) switch there is a T&E - that earth core I found unattached though, but terminated it now at the back box.

    Sorry for such a long post and thanks in advance!
     

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  3. deadshort

    deadshort

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    Hi, don't get too stressed about it. If you can get into the loft that's a big bonus !
    The bare copper will be the earth you could make a bigger hole in the ceiling below if your light fitting will cover it.
    If you take a picture of your consumer unit we can advise you if you can retro fit an rcbo on that circuit which would make the bathroom lighting comply with current regs. The existing plastic light fitting is safe without an earth connection.

    Regards,

    ds
     
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  4. chris1982

    chris1982

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    Hi Deadshort,
    Great. Thanks for the reassurance! As of now, I am not quite sure whether the earth wires that I see are connected to each other or just hanging around loosely. I guess once I widened the hole I will see (not tonight though).
    Here is a picture of the consumer unit. It's a Wylex.
     

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  5. deadshort

    deadshort

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    Hi, yes you can buy a 6a rcbo for the CU and have an electrican fit it.
    The earth wires should be sleeved with green and yellow sleeving and connected together on to the earth terminal of your new light.
    B&Q sell short lengths of sleeving in packs.

    Regards.

    DS
     
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  6. chris1982

    chris1982

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    Thanks again. I actually got some earth sleaving handy.
    Any idea what an electrician might charge for upgrading the board?
     
  7. deadshort

    deadshort

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    Hi, the rcbo is £26.00 i would estimate 1 hour for the job, dont know the rates in your area.

    DS
     
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  8. chris1982

    chris1982

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    That is good to know.
    And you would consider the unsheathed cores in the ceiling save once it's on an RCBO or RCD?
     
    Last edited: 5 May 2017
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  10. EFLImpudence

    EFLImpudence

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    Will they fit in your new light so that they will not be in the ceiling?

    Or you can use one of these if you can make a big enough hole which will be hidden by the new fitting.
     
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  11. chris1982

    chris1982

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    These look perfect for connecting the light. Thanks a lot!
     
  12. winston1

    winston1

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    But you don't actually have to do that. Regs are NOT retrospective. Can't really see how a properly earthed fixed light would be any much safer on an RCBO.
     
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  13. chris1982

    chris1982

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    Thanks. But should I worry about the fact that so much of the cable's outer insulation is removed, such that the live and neutral cores are only left with one layer of insulation for at least four inches into the ceiling void?
     
  14. John D v2.0

    John D v2.0

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    It's not good practice as the sheath should protect the insulation, also the terminals should be protected from small metal objects, and the wires would be clipped to avoid putting strain directly on the connections.
    However you can do a risk assessment to decide whether you want to worry about sorting it based on how much you use the loft and who uses it. An rcbo is a good option for lessening the severity of any problems that may occur, but it's really only a second line of defence.
     
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  15. chris1982

    chris1982

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    Thanks a lot for that clear answer. I am absolutely not worried about anyone getting into the loft, as access to it is virtually impossible! My real concern is steam from the bathroom or what would happen should there ever be a leak in the roof (currently the roof is in good state though).
    So I guess I go with the easy option and work with the cable that is there, but enclose the terminals in some box as earlier posters suggested. I hope that I will be able to get hold of the cable once I made the hole in the ceiling a bit bigger.
     
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