Static shocks – Council require full inspection!

by Readers Question

14:45 PM, 15th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Static shocks – Council require full inspection!

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Static shocks – Council require full inspection!

I received a phone call from the Council Disrepair Unit to say that one of my tenants had complained of receiving electric shocks.

When my maintenance manager attended, half an hour later, it turned out that the tenant was receiving static electricity shocks from the kitchen tap, but only when she touched it with her feet bare. The static was probably generated by the laminate flooring.

According to the council, I will now have to have a full electrical inspection to guarantee the safety of the property.

Tom



Comments

Hamish McBloggs

11:40 AM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Dennis Leverett at 16/05/2018 - 11:22
Always modern leakage breakers.

Mike

11:41 AM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Interesting & Brilliant blog Hamish.

Hamish McBloggs

12:18 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Mike at 16/05/2018 - 11:41
Why thank you.

I failed to mention that one could equip the tenant with a resistor, about 10 MOhm should do it.

Touch the tap with one end whilst holding the other to discharge the electrons in a more sedentary manner.

Hamish

Sam Addison

15:23 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

When building my first computer kit in '80s they warned of static, particularly with regards to man made fabric in socks and underpants. suggested removal and earthing oneself to radiator. (cue picture of man with one bare foot on radiator and no pants!)

Hamish McBloggs

17:52 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Actually, I would print this out and attach it to a letter to the council.

http://twyfordy11physics.blogspot.co.uk/2012/05/dangers-and-uses-of-static-electricity.html

Then ask them to justify the faff.

... I always earth my pants before working on a computer.

Hamish

Gary Nock

18:04 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Without an EICR- which costs around £200 - then the council have got a stick to beat you with. Get one done. Do any remedials. Move on. Job done.

Dennis Leverett

18:15 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Hamish, what do you earth if going commando, tried crocodile clips but bit painful.

Hamish McBloggs

20:21 PM, 16th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Gary Nock at 16/05/2018 - 18:04
Gary,

I think it's reasonable to think most of us could tell a static zap from a shock. Car doors, brushing hair, the trolley as mention earlier. It is different to a 9v battery on the tongue and it's not mains as there's no involuntary throwing oneself across the room. Yes I take the point about smoking mice not being quite enough to blow a fuse and thus only a tingle; mmm, a tingle not a zap.

But do you think the every static 'zap' = £200 inspection is the right way?

You know what the result will be. Someone is not going to be happy with the outcome; even if all the electricians in the world have visited and tested and signed off and the zaps continue.

Or worse, the weather changes after a visitation and the zaps go away. You know correlation is not causation and it has just started to rain. The zaps then reappear 12 months later ... do you think that should be another £200??

At what point do you say stop, enough? How many futile, humanity wasting hours wrangling with the council?

How many tenants complaining to the council before it becomes financially difficult?

I've already made clear that discharging to the tap is probably a good sign, if the tap were insulated there would be no zap and probably an indicator of something more sinister.

Should there be a more cost effective way of wrestling the question to an absolute answer, a way that does not depend inadequate knowledge and understanding? A method that tests for the suspect.

Perhaps the council should own some measuring equipment and have someone trained in its use?

They do for noise nuisance.

I haven't looked but are there any electricians who have the kit? A 30 second youtube search and kit exists ...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FRNNglD2bKU

although from this video it is clear some might be better than others.

Cost & time & education ... 'tis a perfectly reasonable point and no, I do not and have never played and will never play fast and loose with someone's life. Do it properly or don't be a landlord.

So I conclude by saying that I agree, carry out the check and whether the zaps continue or not you know the wiring is safe. If the zaps recur immediately or 12 months later revisit this thread and ask the council to review it. Perhaps propose they get trained sufficiently to understand and make sure there are safeguards against complacency; it might not be a static zap. The job done, move on approach is tactical.

Anyway, chanson du jour. To be hummed in all meetings with the dilapidations department...

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jVf4_WglzWA

it's about a badly wired airship owned by someone with nylon socks.

G&T beckons

atb

Hamish

Gary Nock

8:23 AM, 17th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Hamish,

"The job done, move on approach is tactical"

Well it's not just tactical. It's ensuring the property is safe. And it ends the argument with the council. If the shocks continue after then it's a static issue I agree and the tenant would need to be earthed and walk round with a green and yellow wire sticking out of an unmentionable orifice.

Ian Morgan

8:15 AM, 19th May 2018
About 6 months ago

Reply to the comment left by Hamish McBloggs at 16/05/2018 - 10:42
Spot on Hamish, sounds like someone with a little bit of knowledge in the council are being silly.
Having almost completed my Part P and being a former scientist, just sounds like static and a good earth. Charge electricity call it what you want will take the path of least resistance i.e. and earthed tap. Still though, should check your earth bonding is up to spec. Surely a visual inspection by a sparky would suffice, and cheaper. A full inspection, EICR, is a good day of work if done properly!

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