Sparky was back again, this time mainly to tackle our fuse box.
The house is c. 1980 but the electrical system seems to have been c. 1960 – we are equipped with real wire fuses [no nails or paper clips, honest] and only six of ‘em, all of which were used. We need additional circuits for an extra oven and the induction hob, which, incidentally, will consign my beloved collection of expensive, stainless steel, French Cuisinox pans to the metaphorical bin ‘cos their aluminium sandwich base doesn’t fly on induction. [Grump!] Anyway, ‘t is time to switch to a modern circuit breaker device.
Sparky began by removing the old fuse box and set about threading new, thicker uprated cables through the cavity to the main meter box. He was a bit concerned about this operation but hoped that, by taping the new to the old, he could pull the new cables into place. Things were tight; it took him pulling and me pushing but eventually they were through.
After making all the connections in the new distribution board it was time to test our new electrical system. Sparky’s tester seemed to be playing up. After 10 minutes of head scratching he dove into the meter box. Lo and behold, the probable cause of all our electrical interruptions earlier on in the project was revealed. The bozo who had recently swapped us over onto a smart meter had not tightened the cable clamp onto the neutral wire; the cable was flopping about in the terminal. Sparky did it up and his circuit tester was happy. Mystery solved.
Not out of the woods quite yet. When Sparky tried our garden lights, the circuit breaker popped. This was a repeatable error, of course. Undoing one of the garden light pedestals from the brick base revealed a colony of woodlice and wire connections caked in what is best described as damp soil. Circuit breakers are a lot more sensitive than fuses and a bit of leakage across damp soil was enough to make ‘em complain. The garden lights are not a high priority item and will remain disconnected until I can work up the enthusiasm to do something about them. Doubtless all four are home to similar colonies of wildlife.
With everything else working as advertised, we got our certificates and are cleared for take-off.