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Todays domestic job...

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by SUNRAY, 5 Jun 2021.

  1. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    Todays little gem...

    Customer reported a light not switching off and requires a new switch, it was within 200yds of home so the job became mine.

    The elderly Crabtree switch felt fine, not the classic dubious feel when a contact welds together. I switched the power off, removed the 4BA screws and cut round the multiple layers of paint. the switch moved from the wall and chunks of dried out rubber insulation fell out. The 1/0.044 twin rubber/rubber was way beyond Sunrays kiss of life.

    I told them I wasn't prepared to switch the grey metal MEM box back on as all of the cable was of the same format,
    one of these: [​IMG]
    and informed the company asking me to do the 'just job'.

    Heck I felt sorry for the young couple with a toddler (not a rental property), first time I've walked away from a job for a long time.
     
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  3. sxturbo

    sxturbo

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    Apologies for me being dim.

    Was the wire to the light switch rubber? Or the wire to the mem box?
     
  4. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    It's never dim to ask a sensible question.
    All of it is rubber, in the switch which is hard and falling off and all of the MEM cabling is rubber but doesn't appear to have gone the same way yet.
     
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  5. securespark

    securespark

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    Probably both.

    Possibly the whole house was wired in rubber.

    Edit...

    Apologies, I posted this ages ago, but it seems it has only just appeared.
     
  6. ericmark

    ericmark

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    I had it in my parents house, I knew there was danger, but my dad said "I'm not living in a building site, you can re-wire the house when I'm gone." and that is what happened, and lucky nothing went wrong.

    When I bought this house I had a house buyers survey done, mainly looking for structural problems, but it did cover electrical items, but not in the way we would expect for an EICR, however I can see how a non electrical person could see the house buyers survey as covering the electrical system. The guy with mine pointed out an old redundent fuse box in ceiling, but it was not redundent it was still in use.

    He also missed a leaking roof, so not sure why we bothered. But I can aford the repair work. When I bought first house, lucky a new build, I could not aford unforseen repairs, and I feel sorry for first time buyers. However at least they have very low morgage repayment, not the 16% intrest rate when I got first house.
     
  7. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    When I applied for my mortgage in Aug 1982 the rate was something like 14% but it took until March 1983 for the sale to go through and signed the final documents at 16½%. Luckily the rate dropped off and i never had to pay that rate. My daughter went through a house purchase 2 years ago and when I saw their rate of 1.65% I laughed, When I said mine was ten times that rate she thought I was joking. I fished out my 35 year old documents and showed her.
     
  8. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    I've struggled to convince others this happens.
     
  9. JohnW2

    JohnW2

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    Indeed ... and not to mention 'inflation'. I recall back in the late 50s and early 60s, my parents moaning about their mortgage repayments of less than £10 per month (even though I think the interest rate was around 7-8% at the time)!

    Kind Regards, John
     
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  11. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    In this situation, would you be happy to remove the loose insulation at the switch box, get some 1.5 mm2 T+E, strip some lengths of insulation off, and slide over the bare wires up to where the wires enter the box?

    Or has the sheath failed drastically as well making any temporary repair impossible?

    Absolute bodge what I am suggesting, and only you can judge what can and can not be done - but sometimes it's difficult just to switch the whole lot off and walk away. Conversely, it's difficult to get too involved as well.

    (I suspect someone else will have or will be turning the main switch back on soon after you left.)
     
  12. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    As i moved the switch out I basically had 2 bare wires and brown/black 'grit'. To be frank about it this was the first time my instant gut reaction was a NOOO! and that on top of the switch working ok with the fault, ie short between the switch wires, being elsewhere.

    I have done the botch you suggest to get something urgently working, for kidney dialysis but there are limits.

    A number of years ago I came across something similar and put a cord switch in as a temp fix but this time I had no access to the area above as it's a block of flats, otherwise I would have tried to assess the situation better.

    Sadly this one went straight back to the boss.
     
  13. Notch7

    Notch7

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    when was rubber phased out?

    my house was built in 1959 and as far as I can see all the wiring is pvc -or at least like modern cable, nowhere have I seen rubber falling apart.
     
  14. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    I guesstimate PVC started being introduced mid to late 50's and rubber was gone by early to mid 60's, let me be bold and make a stab at 1957 to 1963 (others may have more sensible dates in mind). The tendancy during this period was rubber insulation and PVC sheath and I would say there is a high possibility yours could easily be of that construction.

    Predating PVC there were also (poly?)ethylene sheated versions which also came with rubber or plastic insulation, they looked like PVC but were tougher and tended to not be as flat. I believe they were not generally used as late as 1959 but I don't have a specific date in mind.

    Edited to correct spellings.
     
    Last edited: 6 Jun 2021
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  15. winston1

    winston1

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    My late parents house which they bought as a new build in 1952 had plastic (PVC?) sheath and insulation. Other houses on the estate built the year before had rubber.
     
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  16. SUNRAY

    SUNRAY

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    That early I'm surprised, I'd certainly say it was a rarity to be all plastic, it would have been the ethylene based cables as PVC was something like 5 years later or so I believe. They ethylene cables were quite hard to work with and sparks prefered to stick with the well practiced rubber.

    My parents house of 1951 was split tube and rubber/cotton singles, being typical of council built properties for a number of years later.
     
  17. crystal ball

    crystal ball

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    Came across an oddity last week, school workshop built late 70s, all PVC single / T&E apart from a fan circuit in VIR singles
     
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