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Discuss Is this installation considered acceptable today? (1-ring including oven and everything else) in the Electrical Forum area at ElectrciansForums.co.uk.

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  1. Iain Kay
    Offline

    Iain Kay Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Edinburgh, UK
    Looking for some advice on what I've discovered is the electrics situation in my rental property.

    I'll note that before I moved in here I made the Letting agents (LA) more than aware I use an absolute ****-ton of power. I told them I can and will be pulling 2,000-4,000 kWh a quarter (with gas hob and heating). No concerns raised.

    When I moved in here it looked promising. CU had no spare slots, plenty of MCBs and RCD protection in place. Nice one I thought, 4x 32A MCBs, good chance we've got a couple of rings and kitchen will be on its own. As it turns out, nope.

    I haven't removed the cover, so I have not been able to confirm what connections we have inside the CU but I can confirm my findings in terms of what the resulting circuits are.

    1) 16A - Does nothing
    2) 16A - Radial to water heater switch, on to a switch in the living room that's got a single GU10 lamp installed in a unit coming from it. (Water heater removed some time ago)
    3) 6A - Smoke alarms [Issue: One not receiving mains power but clearly wired into the trunking containing this circuit so should be]
    4) 6A - Lights (Kitchen, Bathroom, Master Bedroom)
    5) 6A - Lights (Lounge, Hallway, Second bedroom)

    So far so good, this looks great, other than the oddity of feeding the GU10 lamp from the previously installed radial, but makes sense as this terminates inside the bottom of the unit containing the GU10 so just laziness prevails.

    6) 32A - Does nothing
    7) 32A - Does nothing
    8) 32A - ALL sockets (Lounge, hallway, kitchen, oven, boiler, master bedroom, second bedroom)
    9) 32A - Shower
    10) 40A - Does nothing

    Not so good. We have a single 32A ring covering everything including the bloody oven, washing machine, tumble dryer and the rest of the gaff on top!

    Why the hell install all of those 32A MCBs to do sweet F all?

    I've confirmed this is definitely the case by killing off the circuits in almost every possible order and I can see that nothing else is getting a complete circuit to these circuits enabling power to flow.


    Now for the big question.

    I did some maths here and it looks like this is seriously overloaded pretty much any time we're using the kitchen pretty heavily (most nights...).

    A typical evening in the house consists of washing and drying lasting 3-4 hours, concurrently (4.6kW total), whilst over the course of this the oven will be put on (7.8kW total) and often a hair dryer (8.8kW total) and kettle (11.8kW total) too. Admittedly the last two are far shorter use, but this is seriously over the rating for this circuit and I don't feel it's over the top usage of a house.

    Let's add up purely the kitchen during a typical wash and prepare meal:
    2,550W - 3,000W - Kettle
    900W - Toaster
    80W - Fridge
    125W - Boiler
    2,200W - Washing Machine
    2,400W - Tumble dryer
    3,200W - Oven

    Not all of this will be on all the time but lets assume this is peak before taking into account any of the rest of the property.

    11,455W or 11.45kW best case, 11.8kW worst case. Now my 32A circuit should not be over 7.2kWh and probably not over 5.76kW for extended periods.

    Then we get to two HDR tellys on pretty much all the time, set top boxes, server, multiple PCs with multiple monitors connected, PoE Switches and networking gear, smart home gear and when I am using it I often have a lab set up with multiple PCs which is where we get to the 4kW/quarter.

    Right now, I'm concerned that before we even cover the devices used throughout the house, the kitchen alone (well counting the hall cupboard with tumble dryer) is pulling 159% - 164% of the rated load on this circuit.


    I know that the best practise for a single ring can be based upon property size, not certain of the specs here though.

    I'm unsure of the sq footage of the entire property but I'd say it isn't particularly small. We're looking at 165 sq feet in the master bedroom alone.

    Should I be raising this with the LA and pushing to get this sorted out so that at very least the oven is moved to its own radial circuit and preferably get the rest of the kitchen moved over to its own ring too?

    Would you suggest it's worth myself looking at spurring off this 16A radial to get an extra couple of sockets, capable of at least 13A, running in the living room that won't be on this single ring?

    The 32A to the shower is currently running into the hall cupboard where there is an isolator switch. The sockets in there are on the main ring and contain my comms cabinet and the tumble dryer. The comms cabinet won't use a huge amount, although does have quite a few devices and PoE switch providing power to WiFi, VoIP phones and some smart home devices. Is there anything I could do to take power off this? Either going with a fused spur or a Garage CU that then splits into the shower and extra sockets? (I know this will require notification and a competent installer doing it).


    Any thoughts from the pros would be greatly appreciated here as I'm not sure if it would be considered enough of a problem to have a LA take action, however, way I see it I'm constantly stressing this system beyond what it was intended for with no idea how the wiring quality in the walls is, so it's a concern, whether or not the LA will do anything or not I'm not sure and I don't want to raise it without getting some professional opinions.
     
  2. mhar
    Online

    mhar Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    devon
    MCBs are what we know as over current protective devices. Have any of your ocpds ever tripped indicating that your demand is too much for the circuit?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  3. SparkyChick
    Online

    SparkyChick Making a banana smoothy for my fave gorilla Staff Member Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    South Wales
    Business Name:
    SparkyChick
    To answer one of your questions... why fit a board and not use all of it...

    Very often, the cheapest way to buy a new board is as a populated assembly. So it's not that uncommon to have a fully populated larger board with only a few circuits when the consumer unit is replaced. We also have to install excess capacity, so some spares is normal.

    It's also important to remember that we are allowed to use 'Diversity' when specifying cable and protective device sizes. The washing machine for example will not be drawing it's full rated power all the time. During a typical wash cycle there is quite a lot of time when it's drawing nowhere near it's maximum. The same is true for the oven, where it will be drawing a high current when the heaters on on. Once it's up to temperature it will begin cycling with the heaters only turned on periodically to maintain the desired temperature.
     
    • Like Like x 6
    • Agree Agree x 1
  4. Murdoch
    Offline

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    How old is the property ?

    How old is the electrical installation?
     
    • Like Like x 1
  5. Pete999
    Online

    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northampton
    Business Name:
    None
    Did you get any electrical certificates from the letting agency, when you took over the house?
     
    • Useful Useful x 1
    • Optimistic Optimistic x 1
  6. Pete999
    Online

    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northampton
    Business Name:
    None
    I know, but had to ask.
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  7. Murdoch
    Offline

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    I'm a bit dubious about these kinds of threads ..... The op has chosen to conceal all their details ..... What are they hiding,?
     
    • Funny Funny x 1
  8. Jim_e_Jib
    Online

    Jim_e_Jib Active EF Member

    Location:
    Devon
    That their lab running multiple PCs is actually at GCHQ...
     
    • Funny Funny x 4
  9. Pete999
    Online

    Pete999 Trusted Advisor

    Location:
    Northampton
    Business Name:
    None
    Murdoch, he is probably not a Sparks, but a DIYer, who doesn't want to get roasted on here, could be wrong mind you, but????? I agree why do people hide their details?
     
    • Agree Agree x 1
  10. littlespark
    Offline

    littlespark Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Scottish Borders
    OP, you can't alter any of the installation. All you can do is inform the LA that the circuit keeps tripping. (even if they don't!)
    The LA and landlord have to send round an electrician, but all you'll get is "You have overloaded the circuit"
    However, a good electrician will have equipment to measure the current drawn at and should advise their client that the installation is unsatisfactory and needs upgraded.

    As #4, how old is the property? It sounds like the CU has been changed without any rewiring taking place. So maybe a 4 way fuseboard removed and replaced with whatever the "spark" had in his shed. (I say spark in the loosest term. Mate down the pub sounds more likely)

    OP, without taking anything apart, can you see what colours the cables are? (simplest way would be to power off, unscrew a ceiling rose cover, quick look and put it back)
    If its red and black, installation is pre 2007. Brown and blue, after 2005.
     
    • Like Like x 2
    • Dislike Dislike x 1
  11. Murdoch
    Offline

    Murdoch Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Woking
    Hum ............... its very often somebody who deliberately wants to hide something ...........

    The average DIYer doesn't have the knowledge this person appears to have ....................

    I just wanted to look at their other posts .................

    Without any assessment of competence and / or knowledge its tricky to offer any guidance.

    So its a tenant, probably looking to get something from their landlord for nothing.
     
  12. happyhippydad
    Online

    happyhippydad Member Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Gloucestershire
    I am being forced to grow only 5 cannabis plants due to the Letting agents (LA) only installing one ring. How is this fair? My profit is getting decimated all because the LA have left spare ways in my consumer unit. I was very clear with the LA I would be growing many more than 5 plants but they just couldn't care less. Not happy with this at all :(
     
    • Funny Funny x 7
    • Winner Winner x 1
  13. Vortigern
    Offline

    Vortigern Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    England
    Business Name:
    F.H. Electrical
    So...up in the morning on with the kettle and some toast to be sure. In with the washing and on with the tumble dryer and in with the turkey while having a shower.
    Kettle 3 mins.
    Toaster 3 mins.
    Washing machine, does it feed from the boiler? i.e. one cold feed or hot and cold feed?
    Tumble dryer-No clothes line? anyway is there a prodigious amount of washing clothes to do? Get economy tariff and wash on a timer stagger the loads between night and day.
    Oven, cut down on the roasts? perhaps roast the Turkey after the washathon?
    Anyway I don't think any landlord or LA will respond or re-wire the property due to your unusual energy usage patterns. And at that I imagine in reality nothing will happen with all due respect, you are reacting to a paper tiger you made constructed from figures that you have not tempered in contrast with reality.
     
    • Agree Agree x 4
    • Funny Funny x 1
  14. Paignton pete
    Offline

    Paignton pete Regular EF Member

    Location:
    Over the rainbow
    Litlespark I cannot condone lying. This is going to cost the landlord money to send an electrician out to look for a fault that doesn't exist. It's unfair on landlord when the installation may be perfectly acceptable in regards to electrical safety.
     
    • Agree Agree x 5
  15. Wilko
    Online

    Wilko Electrician's Arms

    Location:
    Berkshire
    Business Name:
    Wilko Electrics
    Hi - my advice too is - use and enjoy your new home. In my humble opinion the shower must be separate, and it is. The rest is really up to loading. If it causes you trouble with MCB tripping or you see/smell smoke then obviously something's not right.
     
    • Agree Agree x 2
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