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Mains wiring in bathroom behind waste pipe - safe?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by isley76, 15 Sep 2009.

  1. isley76

    isley76

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    Hi,

    I've just bought a house and the bathroom wc had a leaky overflow so I had to rip out a wooden casing around the waste pipe and a few wet floorboards to repair it.

    I've discovered that the previous owner has taken a spur (correct term?) from the main fusebox downstairs under the kitchen floor to the bottom of the foul waste pipe and run 4 sets of wiring up the back of the waste pipe and into the bathroom !!!

    Some of it continues up into the loft (partial conversion) which powers the lighting and some sockets while the rest of it goes through the external wall and into the conservatory (lean to) which powers its lighting.

    This hole in the external wall is under the bath taps and to me the whole lot looks lethal.

    The final set of wiring goes under the bathroom floorboards and up into the shower (at least this set is chased in and tiled over).

    Can someone confirm if this is normal practice and if not what the rough cost would be to get it all ripped out and redone properly?

    Many thanks,

    Isley
     
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  3. Chri5

    Chri5

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    The guys obviously decided that the waste was an 'easy' use riser to get the cables in via an existing route.
    Good practice would be that electrics are not sharing a riser designed for water use.

    TE cable is water resistant and although not the best thing, provided there's not any junction boxes or open cables in the path of any potential water flow from a leak it will be safe.

    I would suggest you seal any obvious holes that could allow any potential water leak in the bathroom to cause issues elsewhere.
    Dressing the cables in to some PVC trunking would sort out some of the astetics of the cable and provide further protection against any mechanical damage.
    Does the CU have RCD protection for the circuits you mention ? If so this will provide further comfort regarding potential faults and the safety of the occupants should a leak managed to cause water ingress in to cable
     
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  4. isley76

    isley76

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    Thanks Chri5,

    The connections at the bottom of the waste pipe look like spaghetti junction with lots of wires connected with chocolate blocks. If water were to run down the outside of the pipe there would be trouble :(

    I'll check the CU for an RCD and post a pic tonight (I'm not really sure what that looks like).

    I think I'll get an electrician out to do a full safety inspection as I've found a few other things that look dodgy - 4 way extensions spliced onto the ring main at the back of a cupboard, pond pump in the garden wired directly onto the conservatory ring.

    They previous owner was a BT ADSL fitter so I think he assumed that made him a good electrician :cry:

    Any tips on not getting myself ripped off?

    Cheers,

    Isley
     
  5. Chri5

    Chri5

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    Oh dear, your original post didn't suggest open joins etc.

    An electrician is likely to be the way forward- they may well be able to 'lose' joins via crimp, sleeving and heat shrink or self amalgamating tape.

    The remedial works could be a few hours or a few days depending on if full cable runs need replacing or simple basic remedial works.

    Best format is to find a friend who can recommend a quality known person, provide them with a list of snags you've noticed and ask them for both a fixed price estimate and an explanation as to how they intend to do the works.

    Once that's done, if your still not sure about the quote, the price or the work content post details on here and we can try to offer further help.

    I'm ex BT :D

    If the work is all maintenance it will fall outside the Part P certification requirement, but the moment the guy adds something or changes the installed system (say adding RCD) it slips back in. For prudence, use someone that will statement the work on an invoice or provide a minor works cert or electrical installation cert. So make sure they have a Part P scheme membership to cover the bases.

    Rgds
     
  6. isley76

    isley76

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    My fusebox, I can't see an RCD


    Wiring around the base of the waste pipe. A complete mess!


    Wires coming up into bathroom



    Wiring under bath, through the wall, into the conservatory. It is directly under the taps :(


    Will let you know what the electrician says when he see this lot!
     
  7. flameport

    flameport

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    The round junction boxes should be fixed to a wall or other surface.
    The exposed connections and coloured wires should be inside an enclosure
    All those cables should be fixed to the wall, or at least secured to something.
    The transformer at bottom left in the cupboard should be fixed to a wall, and it appears to have the end cover missing as well.

    What is going on with that sideways socket with all the adaptors and multiple plugs crammed in it?

    In summary - load of rubbish, should never have been left in that mess.

    The fusebox has no RCD and can't have one fitted either. Looks like a wooden back effort from the mid 1970s or earlier. Someone has wasted money by fitting new breakers into it.
     
  8. widdler

    widdler

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    What this means is that a PIR will result 'unsatisfactory' and the remedial work will be notifiable, so seek an electrician registered with a part p scheme membership.
     
  9. isley76

    isley76

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    Thanks for the info on the fusebox. I feel a bit gutted the survey didn't pick this stuff up but it was well hidden :(

    Got an NICEIC / Part P electrician coming round on Friday and will post up what he says.

    Cheers,

    Isley
     
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  11. isley76

    isley76

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    Great, and now the shower has broken :(

    Cold water continues to flow (still going after 1 hour) even when the mains elec is switched off so I think a valve has got stuck open.

    I'm going to ask a plumber to put in a new electric shower but is this allowed with no RCD on the CU?

    Thanks,

    Isley
     
  12. londonboy

    londonboy

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    No! You'd be better off talking to the electrician thats coming.
    He would probably do the shower + wiring himself.
     
  13. isley76

    isley76

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    Thanks londonboy,

    The shower problem was a stuck valve which I managed to clear by removing the hose and turning to max cold to flush out the clinker.

    Will ask the electrician about wiring in a new shower as I know the previous owner put this one in and I bet it's not safe.

    Isley
     
  14. flameport

    flameport

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    Probably right, as that old fusebox has a 40A MCB in it, which presumably is for the shower circuit.
    The maximum allowed per way in that type of old fusebox is 32A, so overheating and damage is very likely.
     
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  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    I fear your journey of discovery is just beginning, and not just relating to electrics.

    This mess:


    didn't happen because the guy didn't know enough about electrics, it happened because he was a slapdash bodger who didn't know how, or couldn't be bothered, to do anything neatly.
     
  16. mikhailfaradayski

    mikhailfaradayski

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    omg

    i was going to start listing the faults in the pic, but havent got that long, i just wonder how the previous owner managed to get what looks like 4 plug tops into the two cube multi sockets?????

    I wonder if he plugged them in then built everything up around them.


    rough as a badger's Rs.

    Sorry to say this, but i would echo what bas says, if thats the first thing you've seen, expect more problems.

    You might want to strongly consider a complete rewire
     
  17. isley76

    isley76

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    For my family's safety I'm planning on having every piece of electrics he touched ripped out and replaced to 17th edition standards.

    This will probably mean:

    New CU (am thinking RCBO)
    Complete removal of all wiring from bottom of waste pipe to loft (via bathroom)
    Rewiring of bathroom with new shower and correct earth bonding
    Wiring to the conservatory the correct way instead of through the bathroom wall.
    Possible rewiring of lighting and sockets in loft (he did those too)

    I could tell he was a bodger when we looked around but basically the house is sound (1950s solid build) and in a nice area.

    Just got to convince the wife that the electrics take priority over new carpets etc :LOL:
     
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