1940’s Electrics – all burnt out

We knew the moment of crossing the threshold into this house that the electrics would need stripping out. We were after all looking for a property for renovation.

The electrics had already been disconnected from a consumer unit that had been installed around the millennium. In order for the Compromis de Vente to be signed an electrical report was needed. The vendor paid for this. It therefore seems rather bazaar that when the electrics are obviously in need of immediate replacement that any report is needed at all.

If you had just bought a house, surely you would be crazy to re-connect obviously burnt and dangerous electrics?

It took under 3 hours to rip out all of the houses electrics. Some bedrooms only had a light and didn’t have a power socket. No room had more than one power socket and the house was not earthed. Many wires were cotton braided, several were burnt out and many had loose screws.

Some rooms had random live wire hanging out of the wall, presumably where a wall light of switch once was.

The main cable running through the house had a soft rubber coating that had gone rather sticky in places. Another cable that once went to an outside light simply crumbled to dust and was swept up with a dust pan and brush.

In the bathroom, directly above the sink, were exposed wires and connector blocks. The light bulb connector was rusty.

Brass switches, with all their patina especially when mounted on turned mahogany bases have a wonderful look. Unfortunately, they do not meet modern safety and earthing standards. It’s a shame as we could have salvaged 12 from the house.

Next to the electricity meter; that had newer been used; were more wires dandling. One pair were the new live tails, the other were where the old electrics had been disconnected.

Nobody from EDF, the energy provider could provide us with how many KVA the incoming connection was. Ideally we were looking for 25KVA. More than 30KVA would mean a three phase connection.

In the UK, when I was 18 years old, I spent 6 months learning how to be an electrician before switching to electronics and doing a degree. I have wired 2 houses, a shop and a gym. Electrics are different in France and I have a few memory issues now but I’m still willing to give it a go.