Electrics tripping issue

Electrics tripping issue

12:07 PM, 27th July 2013, About 11 years ago 9

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A flat that has been rented has developed an electrical problem. It keeps tripping intermittently. We have got an electrician to check out the fault but he has been unable to find the reason for this happening. The electrics tripped whilst he was checking them out but he wasn’t able to locate the fault.

Are there any experts that can throw light to this problem.

Any advice would be much appreciated.


LJElectrics tripping issue

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Mark Alexander - Founder of Property118

12:12 PM, 27th July 2013, About 11 years ago


My advice would be very simple, call in another electrician. The fact that your electrician couldn't find the problem isn't a good reflection on him really is it?

As I am the person who uploaded your "readers Question" I can also see that your telephone number begins 01603. That means you are in Norwich which is where most of my properties are.

The electricians i use are GB Electrical, they are very good. Their number is 01263 861064. If you use them please tell them I referred you.

I hope that helps.

Jeremy Smith

12:34 PM, 27th July 2013, About 11 years ago

The best thing is to quiz the tenants in depth as to what they are doing each time it trips..this quite often gets to the root of the problem, it is quite often an appliance that is to blame.
Let me give you a humourous example:
Customer tells me every time his wife does the ironing, the RCD trips.
They buy a new iron....still happens!
What does HE do whilst she is ironing?
He goes into the computer room....all his computers and screens, etc, are on surge protector mains sockets.....Arha!!...
These type of mains sockets, to protect the appliance, leak a very small amount of current to the earth...effectively increasing the chance of the RCD tripping....

...so, then, every time the iron's thermostat kicks on and off, the RCD is just on the edge of tripping and finally gives up and trips off !!!
..Nothing to do with the IRON !!!!

I'm an electrician and an electronics engineer, by the way.

Mary Latham

19:00 PM, 28th July 2013, About 11 years ago

There is a really useful little tool that can be used free on the Homestamp web site here http://homestamp.com/electrical-safety/ If you play with it you will see which applicances might overload a socket/installation and cause it to trip - very useful link to pass on to tenants because it also makes them aware of the amount of power each item uses and therefore the cost. This appears on the Homestamp website by kind permission of the Electrical Safety Council.

Something that happened in one of my 1960's flats.
The whole flat was rewired in 2006
Several tenants had lived in the flat which is huge and at times housed 3 sharers.
In 2012 a family of two adults and a baby moved in and we began getting calls to say that the electric system was constantly tripping out usually late at night. This was a problem because the main controls were two floors down and it was the main switch, not the one in the flat, that was tripping.
The Electrician who had rewired the flat called. He found no faults but he said that the amount of power that was provided to each flat from the main service was limited because of the few electric appliances that were used in the 1960's.
I questioned why this should suddenly be happening when there had been no problem with the tenants who previously lived in the flat. He grinned " I expect that this couple are having sex late at night and then having a shower afterwards".. I still did not understand.He explained "The night storage heaters draw power from 1.00am and if the 9kW electric shower is also being used after that time the system will not cope"
What was I supposed to do next? Ask this couple to have sex before midnight?
Silly me, I had to pay £300 to have a new and larger cable run from the mains into the flat and the electrician had to ask the electricity supply company to increase the power to the mains.

I own 3 more flats on the development and I have to tell each tenant that the system will not take the use of the electric shower between 1am and 5am when the storage heaters are also drawing power. They usually look at me as if I am mad to suggest that they may be using the shower at that hour but at least I have not had to spend £900 upgrading the power to each flat!!! Thank goodness there is a rule in the Lease that washing machines,dryers and dishwasher cannot be used after 21.00.

Could this be causing your problems too?

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

Eirian Rogers

15:56 PM, 30th July 2013, About 11 years ago

I worked at an electrical firm for 3 years (albeit not as a sparky) and if your electrician has tested the fixed wiring to be safe then I would lay lots of money on this being an appliance testing issue.

May be a kettle or toaster, heater etc. quite often i have seen it that it trips when the base of the kettle gets a little wet so will only happen once in a blue moon.

Hope this helps

16:11 PM, 30th July 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Mary Latham" at "28/07/2013 - 19:00":

Very interesting to hear your experience Mary.
To confirm I had a similar situation though not tripping.
My tenant wanted to have a shower which did not need a cylinder as it is a power shower and has small heated cylinder in the loft.
It was determined that the main fuse was inadequate for a simple electric shower.
I obtained an estimate for the works from UK power.............................£90011111111111111111111111111111111111111111
So that including a new electric shower would be about £1500!!!
So tenants now have the original good power shower operating; but it costs them an extra tenner a month in additional electricity bills.
It would take decades for me to receive payback on that.
My electric meter is under the stairs; how they justified that quote I shall never know!?

Mary Latham

17:40 PM, 30th July 2013, About 11 years ago

Just to lighten the load (pun intended) This message on Twitter really made me laugh.

"really enjoyed your comment on Electrics via @Property118 Alas I never shower between 1-5am! 🙁 "

I will not tell you what I replied hahahaha

Follow me on Twitter@landlordtweets

My book, where I warn about the storm clouds that are gathering for landlords is herehttp://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/1484855337

Jeremy Smith

18:54 PM, 30th July 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Eirian Rogers" at "30/07/2013 - 15:56":

Of course the fixed wiring can test A-ok on day 1, but then on day 2, after it's been raining, the PIR of an old external floodlight could get some moisture ingress and trip the RCD, for example.
Or a downstairs socket on an outside, solid, 9" wall, could get damp after the gutter has been leaking for years and soaked the base of the wall outside, getting into the socket inside the house.

...The only way is a methodical approach by an electrician who has the patience to consider all of his/her test measurements carefully, again after quizzing the occupiers of the property.

'Dodgy' circuits, as I've described above, will give test readings with clues in!..even when the fault is not there.
There will be low insulation resistance measurements which the canny electrician will decypher and find the problem. !!

..Of course, there's always mice !!! LOL

Chris Best

11:54 AM, 3rd August 2013, About 11 years ago

Reply to the comment left by "Colin Eagleton" at "30/07/2013 - 18:54":

Yeah, it's a real problem when the mice start using the shower after 1 am!

Michael Barnes

22:24 PM, 4th August 2013, About 11 years ago

Is it the main breaker or a single circuit that trips?
If single circuit, then which one?

Causes are likely to be different depending onthe answers to the above.
Main breaker suggests a pak load issue;
single circuit suggests earth-leakage.

I had a problem with a dishwasher.
The drai hose developed a pin-hole leaj and sprayed waterr over the plug and socket. This intermittently caused a short.

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