Mains Socket Tester

21 May 2012
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United Kingdom
Hello All,

I am in the process of buying a house which needs a little work. All of the electrics seem to be ok except for a few sockets that are loose.

I am wanting to get a tester that plugs in to the socket and tests the wiring of the house.

I have had a look around and there are loads of different ones and i am getting a little confused as to which would be the best option as they range alot in price.

the ones i have currently seen are linked below

Any advice would be really helpful

Thank you
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All they do is check that there is power getting to the socket and that the wires are connected to the correct terminals. A potentially dangerous installation could still light the correct lamps.

It doesn't test the condition of the wiring, insulation, overload protection or efficiency of the earthing. A proper test meter (or meters) and the knowledge to use it properly are required to test an installation properly.

For an insulation and continunity meter, click here

For a meter with earth loop and RCD test click here
There are a whole range of testers but you do want something that does a loop test.
all do some basic loop test. However it is only a basic test. The meter will tell the trained tester a lot more.

For example I did about 4 sockets close together and noted that the readings were more like those expected for sockets dotted around a whole house and I flagged there must be a fault. There was a potentially dangerous fault likely to produce a fire if for example a kettle had been plugged in. Looking further I found 0.2 ohm resistors had been soldered onto the wires between the sockets. It was in fact done to make the 4 sockets emulate readings expected in a house and was a test rig for testing students but my experience and knowledge plus using a meter able to measure that resistance enabled me without tools to flag up a fault.

The best of plug in testers give a 0 - 1.7 ohm for first light since the fail mark is 1.44 ohms it clearly will not flag up the fault I related to. However it seems there is a huge jump in price from approx £40 to £120 for one with a reading like this
since it needs some skill to use I would say likely better to pay for a proper test from an electrician than pay that money.

Remember there are another two meters required for full test a special low ohm and insulation tester and a RCD tester. Remember less than 50% of electricians pass the C&G2391 exam first time even after special training. So it is very unlikely as a DIY guy your going to do the job correct.

The solicitor should have advised you to get an electrical installation condition report EICR was called PIR (Periodic inspection report) I know many don't bother but £4000 for a rewire is a lot of money and many a pre-1960's house have no earths to lights for example so really should be done. You have no idea what DIY may have been already done and loss of ring on a final ring circuit, for example, is a fire hazard.
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What about the IR tests? any plug-ins that do that?
You could hire a MFT for a week, for the price of one of those socket testers!

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