Lighting circuit with no earth wire?

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The Medway Handyman

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Jul 10, 2008, 5:07:42 PM7/10/08
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Working for a regular customer today, one of the varicose jobs was to change
a light fitting like for like.

Unscrewed the ceiling rose, no earth wire. Unscrewed another two roses, no
earth wire. Nothing visible in the switches either.

Light fitting instructions specifically said 'this fitting must be earthed'
so it went back in the box. Gave the customer my leckie mates number.

House about 30 (?) years old. Most of the existing light fittings were
metal.

How can you have an unearthed circuit? Surely it can't be safe?


--
Dave - The Medway Handyman
www.medwayhandyman.co.uk


John Rumm

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Jul 10, 2008, 5:36:49 PM7/10/08
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Twas common practice long enough ago...

Not ideal, although on a 17th edition CU setup one might argue it
carries less risk that was the case before.

Failing a rewire, one ought to stick to insulated lamps and accessories.

(got the even dafter situation here - lots of nice metal dangly lamp
fittings, earthed lighting circuit, and loop through wiring done via
junction boxes in the ceiling void and no one bother to bring the earth
to the fitting from the JB).

That reminds me - must order one of those routabout thingies...

--
Cheers,

John.

/=================================================================\
| Internode Ltd - http://www.internode.co.uk |
|-----------------------------------------------------------------|
| John Rumm - john(at)internode(dot)co(dot)uk |
\=================================================================/

Ed Sirett

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Jul 10, 2008, 5:46:29 PM7/10/08
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If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the last
houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on lighting
circuits.

The other metal fittings light fittings would be a "code 1" on an
inspection. IMHO, you did the right thing not to fit the light. The
customer should probably be thinking of a rewire at some point.

--
Ed Sirett - Property maintainer and registered gas fitter.
The FAQ for uk.diy is at http://www.diyfaq.org.uk
Gas fitting FAQ http://www.makewrite.demon.co.uk/GasFitting.html
Sealed CH FAQ http://www.makewrite.demon.co.uk/SealedCH.html
Choosing a Boiler FAQ http://www.makewrite.demon.co.uk/BoilerChoice.html

Dave Plowman (News)

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Jul 10, 2008, 6:49:11 PM7/10/08
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In article <ySudk.24559$E41....@text.news.virginmedia.com>,

The Medway Handyman <davi...@nospamblueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> Working for a regular customer today, one of the varicose jobs was to
> change a light fitting like for like.

> Unscrewed the ceiling rose, no earth wire. Unscrewed another two roses,
> no earth wire. Nothing visible in the switches either.

> Light fitting instructions specifically said 'this fitting must be
> earthed' so it went back in the box. Gave the customer my leckie mates
> number.

> House about 30 (?) years old.

Probably a bit more than that. Think earths became mandatory about '70 -
but most were using them before that.

> Most of the existing light fittings were
> metal.

Indeed.

> How can you have an unearthed circuit? Surely it can't be safe?

It's safe enough if all the switches and fittings are plastic, I suppose.
Or double insulated.

My parent's house had no earths anywhere - 2 pin sockets including 15 amp
ones. But no one ever got killed. ;-)

Oh - there were two earths. One for the radiogram and one for the
telephone.

--
*Growing old is inevitable, growing up is optional

Dave Plowman da...@davenoise.co.uk London SW
To e-mail, change noise into sound.

John

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Jul 10, 2008, 6:54:54 PM7/10/08
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"Dave Plowman (News)" <da...@davenoise.co.uk> wrote in message
news:4fbcea6...@davenoise.co.uk...

...but wired before washing machines, dishwashers, etc were the norm.


Andy Wade

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Jul 10, 2008, 7:07:20 PM7/10/08
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Ed Sirett wrote:
> On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 21:07:42 +0000, The Medway Handyman wrote:
>> How can you have an unearthed circuit? Surely it can't be safe?

I believe that earthing wasn't required at all until the 10th edition
regs came in in 1934.

> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the last
> houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on lighting
> circuits.

I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although it
might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.

--
Andy

Message has been deleted

meow...@care2.com

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Jul 10, 2008, 11:11:14 PM7/10/08
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On Jul 10, 10:07 pm, "The Medway Handyman"
<davidl...@nospamblueyonder.co.uk> wrote:

Actually the safety issue is very minor if all fittings are either
insulated (plastic) or class II metal ones. And if you then replace
light switch screws with plastic ones, there is zero safety problem.


NT

Andy Wade

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Jul 11, 2008, 2:30:24 AM7/11/08
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m...@privacy.net wrote:

> Nearer 40, I've a friend in a similar boat. Biggest problem seems to be ring
> circuits (2 of them) don't appear to have ever been rings, despite two
> 7/029T&Es disappearing out of the CU for each circuit. Fron earth loop tests,
> either the cable goes via timbuctoo, or has hidden junction boxes with loose
> screws. I'm trying to persuade him that floorboards must be lifted.

Some simple continuity testing using a low-ohms meter and wander lead
(with the circuits isolated) should help home-in on where the rings are
broken. Or even isolate each end in turn and work work round with a
socket tester to find out which points are fed from each end.

> He also has several metal light switches and fittings that are un
> earthed, which I'd put as cat 4. (see below)

That's Code 2. Code 4 would only apply if there are no Class 1 fittings
or accessories, see BPG04
http://www.esc.org.uk/pdfs//business-and-community/electrical-industry/BPG4_08.pdf

--
Andy

Toby

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Jul 11, 2008, 7:58:05 AM7/11/08
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"The Medway Handyman" <davi...@nospamblueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:ySudk.24559$E41....@text.news.virginmedia.com...

It didn't use metal conduit did it?

If so, this may have been used as the earth path!

The Medway Handyman

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Jul 11, 2008, 1:37:03 PM7/11/08
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John Rumm wrote:
> The Medway Handyman wrote:
>> Working for a regular customer today, one of the varicose jobs was
>> to change a light fitting like for like.
>>
>> Unscrewed the ceiling rose, no earth wire. Unscrewed another two
>> roses, no earth wire. Nothing visible in the switches either.
>>
>> Light fitting instructions specifically said 'this fitting must be
>> earthed' so it went back in the box. Gave the customer my leckie
>> mates number. House about 30 (?) years old. Most of the existing light
>> fittings
>> were metal.
>>
>> How can you have an unearthed circuit? Surely it can't be safe?
>
> Twas common practice long enough ago...
>
> Not ideal, although on a 17th edition CU setup one might argue it
> carries less risk that was the case before.
>
> Failing a rewire, one ought to stick to insulated lamps and
> accessories.

I can see how insulated lamps & switches would make such a system safer, but
given that most householders know little about electrickery, whats to stop
them installing metal fittings themselves? In this instance, all the
existing light fittings were metal, installed by the previous owner 30+
years ago.

Why did they have non earthed lighting circuits?

Trevor Smith

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Jul 11, 2008, 1:42:37 PM7/11/08
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"The Medway Handyman" <davi...@nospamblueyonder.co.uk> wrote in message
news:3TMdk.25112$E41....@text.news.virginmedia.com...
I have seen this quite often on old council houses, maybe it was cost
cutting when they were built and less stringent regulations.
Trevor Smith


Dave Plowman (News)

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Jul 11, 2008, 1:48:09 PM7/11/08
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In article <3TMdk.25112$E41....@text.news.virginmedia.com>,

The Medway Handyman <davi...@nospamblueyonder.co.uk> wrote:
> I can see how insulated lamps & switches would make such a system safer,
> but given that most householders know little about electrickery, whats
> to stop them installing metal fittings themselves? In this instance,
> all the existing light fittings were metal, installed by the previous
> owner 30+ years ago.

> Why did they have non earthed lighting circuits?

Presumably the authorities thought there was no need for an earth at that
time. As I said even power points at one time didn't have them either.

--
*Beauty is in the eye of the beer holder *

John Rumm

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Jul 11, 2008, 2:09:24 PM7/11/08
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The Medway Handyman wrote:

> I can see how insulated lamps & switches would make such a system safer, but
> given that most householders know little about electrickery, whats to stop
> them installing metal fittings themselves? In this instance, all the
> existing light fittings were metal, installed by the previous owner 30+
> years ago.

That is fairly typical IME.

> Why did they have non earthed lighting circuits?

At one time there was little or no earthing used for any circuit. Then
it became expected for socket circuits, and later lighting. Lighting
circuits pose slightly less risk in that you are unlikely to be powering
portable appliances[1] used outside from them.

[1] The flaw in this logic is that when often the only electricity
available in a house was for lighting, all sorts of stuff got plugged
into lamp holders - TVs, the Iron etc.

I was looking at the wiring at a friends house the other day - it had
been rewired when his parents purchased it (probably 45+ years ago) and
had all PVC wiring, even found the odd bit of MICC. None of the lighting
circuits had an earth as such - although some of the twin was in proper
threaded conduit that was earthed at the origin, not much attempt had
been made to maintain continuity right through to the switches and light
fittings. Socket circuits on the other hand gave quite respectable
readings for a TN-S install. (worst socket was about 0.3 ohms loop
impedance)

Dave

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Jul 11, 2008, 3:01:57 PM7/11/08
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John Rumm wrote:


> At one time there was little or no earthing used for any circuit. Then
> it became expected for socket circuits, and later lighting. Lighting
> circuits pose slightly less risk in that you are unlikely to be powering
> portable appliances[1] used outside from them.
>
> [1] The flaw in this logic is that when often the only electricity
> available in a house was for lighting, all sorts of stuff got plugged
> into lamp holders - TVs, the Iron etc.

Is there still a source of those connectors and double switched
adapters? Or will I have to make them from old bayonet bulb ends ;-)
I actually still have one and it has been used in the past to power up
lights in the house when we go away. Pull the lighting fuse and use a
digital timer to come on and feed the lighting ring through a suitable
sized fuse. Not done that for several years now, I use timers connected
to a bulb holder, hanging from the light fitting, and make them come on
at logical times. Works far better.

Dave

Message has been deleted
Message has been deleted

John Rumm

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Jul 11, 2008, 3:48:21 PM7/11/08
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Dave wrote:

>> [1] The flaw in this logic is that when often the only electricity
>> available in a house was for lighting, all sorts of stuff got plugged
>> into lamp holders - TVs, the Iron etc.
>
> Is there still a source of those connectors and double switched
> adapters? Or will I have to make them from old bayonet bulb ends ;-)

Only second hand AFAIK...

> I actually still have one and it has been used in the past to power up
> lights in the house when we go away. Pull the lighting fuse and use a
> digital timer to come on and feed the lighting ring through a suitable
> sized fuse. Not done that for several years now, I use timers connected
> to a bulb holder, hanging from the light fitting, and make them come on
> at logical times. Works far better.

Not quite into X10 yet then? ;-)

FredCarnot

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Jul 11, 2008, 5:30:34 PM7/11/08
to
Andy Wade wrote:

> Ed Sirett wrote:
>> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the
>> last houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on
>> lighting circuits.
>
> I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
> circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although it
> might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.

Was enforcement less strict than today?

When I was a kid, our family moved into a brand-new house in August
1968. It's lighting circuits had no earth (and all the downstairs ring
mains were T&E in conduit)...

--
Fred

Message has been deleted

meow...@care2.com

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Jul 11, 2008, 11:48:51 PM7/11/08
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50/50 chance of creating a dead short, since N is not disconnected by
pulling the fuse..


NT

Andy Wade

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Jul 12, 2008, 6:22:59 AM7/12/08
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FredCarnot wrote:

> Was enforcement less strict than today?

Yes, there wasn't any, really.

> When I was a kid, our family moved into a brand-new house in August
> 1968. It's lighting circuits had no earth

When there's a step-change in the regs it always seems to take a few
years for everybody to catch up. Doubtless the same is going to happen
with people still installing T&E cables in walls without 30 mA RCD
protection (or impact protection) despite the 17th edition now banning it.

--
Andy

Ed Sirett

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Jul 12, 2008, 7:33:10 AM7/12/08
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IME it would be installations from about the early 70s where earth wires
are on the lights. This is probably due to 'the lag' in taking up the new
regs.

Roger

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Jul 12, 2008, 9:49:18 AM7/12/08
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The message <g5a4pm$csq$1$8302...@news.demon.co.uk>
from Ed Sirett <e...@makewrite.demon.co.uk> contains these words:

> >> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the
> >> last houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on
> >> lighting circuits.
> >
> > I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
> > circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although it
> > might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.

> IME it would be installations from about the early 70s where earth wires
> are on the lights. This is probably due to 'the lag' in taking up the new
> regs.

Some must have been quicker than others.

My parents retirement bungalow was built in 1968 and that had earths on
on the lighting wiring. The way it was wired up is a pain though. All
the lights bar those in the loft were wired back to a central unit under
the loft floor where the circuit wires were connected with ceramic
screw-its (or similar) and the multitude of earths twisted round each
other and then round the central unit, which, IIRC, was a box about 6 or
8" square and a couple of inches deep.

--
Roger Chapman

ARWadworth

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Jul 12, 2008, 3:13:52 PM7/12/08
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"Andy Wade" <spamb...@maxwell.myzen.co.uk> wrote in message
news:6drf03F...@mid.individual.net...

There is a new build house not far from me that is wired in red and black. I
still have not tested the system properly as there is still no electricity
on at the house.

Adam

Andrew Gabriel

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Jul 13, 2008, 4:19:06 AM7/13/08
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In article <g5862i$jo6$1...@aioe.org>,

"Trevor Smith" <tr...@hotmail.com> writes:
> I have seen this quite often on old council houses, maybe it was cost
> cutting when they were built and less stringent regulations.

Council housing was generally built to higher standards than
private housing, because they were spending someone else's
money, and made up lots of extra regulations for it such as
the Parker Morris standard, etc. Of course, with subsequent
lack of care and maintenance, they may not look so good now.

--
Andrew Gabriel
[email address is not usable -- followup in the newsgroup]

Andrew Gabriel

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Jul 13, 2008, 5:52:46 AM7/13/08
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In article <6dq1nrF...@mid.individual.net>,

FredCarnot <FredC...@mob.invalid> writes:
> Andy Wade wrote:
>> Ed Sirett wrote:
>>> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the
>>> last houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on
>>> lighting circuits.
>>
>> I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
>> circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although it
>> might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.
>
> Was enforcement less strict than today?

There's never been any enforcement for new builds.
Even today when there is supposed to be, it's non-existant.

Andrew Gabriel

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Jul 13, 2008, 5:59:37 AM7/13/08
to
In article <g5a4pm$csq$1$8302...@news.demon.co.uk>,

Ed Sirett <e...@makewrite.demon.co.uk> writes:
> On Fri, 11 Jul 2008 00:07:20 +0100, Andy Wade wrote:
>
>> Ed Sirett wrote:
>>> On Thu, 10 Jul 2008 21:07:42 +0000, The Medway Handyman wrote:
>>>> How can you have an unearthed circuit? Surely it can't be safe?
>>
>> I believe that earthing wasn't required at all until the 10th edition
>> regs came in in 1934.
>>
>>> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the
>>> last houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on
>>> lighting circuits.
>>
>> I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
>> circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although it
>> might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.
>
> IME it would be installations from about the early 70s where earth wires
> are on the lights. This is probably due to 'the lag' in taking up the new
> regs.

My parents house, still original 1955 or 1956 PVC wiring,
has earths in the lighting circuit. They don't go into the
junction boxes, but are brought around the outside and twisted
together very tightly (with something mechanical which has
done it very neatly, not by hand).
As I've come across them over the years, I've pushed them
into a chocolate block connector to make sure contact
resistance stays low.

Dave Plowman (News)

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Jul 13, 2008, 8:22:14 AM7/13/08
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In article <4879ba7a$0$78077$5a6a...@news.aaisp.net.uk>,

Andrew Gabriel <and...@cucumber.demon.co.uk> wrote:
> In article <g5862i$jo6$1...@aioe.org>,
> "Trevor Smith" <tr...@hotmail.com> writes:
> > I have seen this quite often on old council houses, maybe it was cost
> > cutting when they were built and less stringent regulations.

> Council housing was generally built to higher standards than
> private housing, because they were spending someone else's
> money,

That might have been the case sometimes - but certainly not always.

> and made up lots of extra regulations for it such as
> the Parker Morris standard, etc. Of course, with subsequent
> lack of care and maintenance, they may not look so good now.

They also tended to have someone with a bee in his bonnet about trying new
things or just being different for difference's sake. Things like D&S 13
amp sockets...

--
*Why is it called tourist season if we can't shoot at them?

Ed Sirett

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Jul 13, 2008, 2:35:31 PM7/13/08
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On Sun, 13 Jul 2008 09:52:46 +0000, Andrew Gabriel wrote:

> In article <6dq1nrF...@mid.individual.net>,
> FredCarnot <FredC...@mob.invalid> writes:
>> Andy Wade wrote:
>>> Ed Sirett wrote:
>>>> If you had said 35+ years old. I would have said that was one of the
>>>> last houses to be wired to the 14th regs. Which did permit non CPC on
>>>> lighting circuits.
>>>
>>> I don't think that's right. AIUI mandatory earthing on lighting
>>> circuits was introduced by the 14th ed., published in 1966 - although
>>> it might have been one of the many amendments to that edition.
>>
>> Was enforcement less strict than today?
>
> There's never been any enforcement for new builds. Even today when there
> is supposed to be, it's non-existant.

In theory the completion certificate will be dependant on there being a
certificate of compliance from one of the electricians' guilds. The
'chain of responsibility' is however stretched out long and so
effectively there is little or no enforcement.

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