Domestic Electrics Issue

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Established Member
29 Mar 2018
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I wondered if anyone had any advice on household electrics issues. Our upstairs lights have started to interfere with each other and are flickering. Most concerning is that there is a loud buzzing/crackling noise coming from a certain point under the floor upstairs where we know there is wiring. (The noise is definitely not originating from the light or switch). Issues do not occur every time we use the light switches, but it's frequent enough.
J_Ashley":26ydzm97 said:
Most concerning is that there is a loud buzzing/crackling noise coming from a certain point under the floor upstairs where we know there is wiring. (The noise is definitely not originating from the light or switch).

I think you know the answer to your question - you have to find the source of the buzzing/crackling. Urgently! As the previous poster said this is a very real fire risk.
I've had similar - involved taking up carpeting and floor boards to find the poor connection, but it has to be done
My mother once came home to find a pine beam smouldering, because mice had eaten the insulation off a cable. If you value your home, don't use the circuit that's causing the problem until you find the problem.

Of courses if your insurance is up to date, and you fancy some remodeling of the house, or possibly an entirely new house, then wait....
In this instance, there is NO plan B.
Strange, but i'm sure you wont get any arguments on this thread.
isolate the circuit NOW, untill you have fixed it.
I like the crackling sound, brings that that blitz spirit of neighbours houses burning and Vera Lynn on the radio.
Luckily you must have a very quiet house,imagine if it was full of noisy kids,I am surprised that your mcb's in your consumer unit aren't tripping if they are not you should get an electrician in immediately.Could be expensive but think of the alternative,hope you get it sorted,best regards Kevin.
Thanks all for the advice – I think we knew the answer but were frustrated about having to take up some of a partially restored floor (which clearly isn’t the right attitude!).

We’re presently having some building works done (completely different are area often house, so not the cause of the fault), and one of them agreed to take a look. We got the floorboard up and discovered a loose earth wire in the junction box. This has been fixed and brief testing appears to suggest that the issue has been resolved, however the electrician is also coming out to take a look.

We are about to have a new RCD installed (related to the aforementioned building works), and so I wondered whether we could use this opportunity to build in any extra precautions? Especially considering we probably have a few junction boxes dotted around. I’ve read about AFDDs to help protect against arcing, but I’m not really sure how they work? Will one module added to the RCD cover all circuits, or do I need one for every circuit (i.e. in place of the traditional type)?
Get your electrician to check every house circuit while he/she is installing the RCD it may cost up to a couple of hundred but would would be a good investment. Under the present wiring regulations junction boxes in inaccessible positions must be maintenance free, they use spring joints so that there is nothing to become loose over time as is sometimes a problem with the normal screwed type of junction box. Different people have different definitions of inaccessible.

AFDDs are an American idea and designed to solve problems in American installations which are a different standard to our own. Most electricians here who have looked at them think they are not a great benefit in our installations. They use electronics to try and identify an arcing fault and distinguish it from the normal arching of a switch or motor. Ask your electrician for his/her view. They are normally used per circuit. You may need a new consumer unit to fit them.
We definitely have junction boxes in inaccessible places (i.e. under floorboards), that are the screw type. I wasn’t aware that a maintenance free version (spring type) exists.

When we moved into the house it required renovations throughout, and logically we had electrics done near the start– not a complete rewiring of the house, but modernising anything that was archaic alongside new sockets/switches etc. For the most part renovated floors are now back down, and so these junction boxes/cables etc. are inaccessible without considerable detriment to completed works.

We also had an inspection immediately when moving in to assess the current state, and no huge issues were found back then, and supposedly things should be better now. I guess the upcoming RCD installation will be another opportunity to have things inspected
An EARTH wire will not cause a crackling sound. Whoever told it would should not be checking your electrical system.
There are many millions of houses with junction boxes under floor boards without any problems. I have put quite a few in over the years. Maintenance free junction boxes are a more recent invention that use spring pressure to maintain a contact with the wire so if the copper creeps under pressure and heat it does not become loose.

There is no requirement to try and bring an installation up to the current standards but any new work would require to be to the current standard.
It’s a Victorian property that originally predates domestic electricity, so the circuitry became very much the product of numerous stages of additions throughout the years. When we bought the house we had an electrical inspection and wanted all the identified issues resolved, with everything tidying up without going to the lengths of full rewire. Essentially the idea was to tackle all the issues upfront so we could put the floors down and (hopefully) forget about it for many years.

Hopefully this is just an isolated incident but it’s left me nervous that, now with many of the floors back down, we might need to revisit things.
I am not a domestic electrician.

I have rewired (work checked and certificated by competent person) several Victorian properties such as you describe.
Consumer units are cheap: buy a big un.
That way you can split the circuits (which in turn isolates future problems).

Traditionally you had:
a "plug" circuit
Upstairs and separate (if you were lucky) downstairs lights
Plus a cooker unit.
=4 fuses

Most rewires I have done have had three times this plus a few unused for the future. All this makes it easier to incorporate all the "add ons" that have taken place over the years.

goes without saying but unless you know what you are doing leave well alone.
Last house I did had (apparently) 3 separate systems wired to three separate consumer units except the last sparky was clueless.
Had I not checked isolation at more points that is normally required I would have go a nasty wallop.

Finally, Fuses protect circuits not people.
Make sure all circuits are protected by ELCBs

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