01892 531 728

01892 531 728

kitchen dining room


Good Connections

A socket or a light not working?

Flickering lights?

Brown scorch marks on a socket or a light switch.

Or dare we say it in a Fuse board / Consumer unit?

It is more than likely a loose neutral wire which can cause abnormal arcing around its point of connection, usually resulting in the neutral wire becoming unusually hot, burning its insulation off and even causing damage to its surroundings. 

A loose neutral wire is also the cause of the majority of electrical fires.

Arcing occurs because the loose wire does not make consistent contact. Sometimes  the  contact is made and sometimes is not made.

This can happen due to a variety of factors, such as an outside supply wire swaying in the breeze (if the wire or its connections are damaged), or it can happen inside due to changes in temperature, electrical load, or mechanical disturbance – there are a host of other probabilities where only an experienced electrician can identify the problem. 

Every time the connection is made or broken, an arc forms. Usually this arc is very brief, but it is very hot and so it causes some damage every time.

So therefore this condition of the connection gets worse over time. The timing of this incidence cannot be, a large long-lasting arc may occur. This can cause damage to the surroundings, and it can start a fire. 

Loose Neutral in a Socket

A resistive neutral is closely related to a loose neutral. A resistive neutral occurs when the neutral is connected, but it's not a very good connection. Good connections have extremely low electrical resistance, but a resistive neutral condition has an intermediate resistance -- its resistance is low enough to conduct some electricity, but too high to conduct as well as it's supposed to. This poor connection has several damaging and dangerous effects.

The resistive neutral may not be in your home – it may be UK Power Networks responsibility either out side on the supply, or in that big black fuse which leads up to your electricity meter.

One effect that we often get called out to,  is that a loose or resistive neutral can cause abnormally high and low voltages to occur in the house wiring.

A sign of this resistive neutral is that lights will get brighter than normal at odd times, such as when another circuit is turned on, or when an appliance cycles on. A resistive neutral won’t always cause the lights to get abnormally bright, but when it happens, it’s a pretty reliable indication that you have a resistive neutral.

Should you be aware of a situation in which your  lights get abnormally bright when other circuits are used, you should call either your local electrician who can inspect and adivse you to call UK Power Networks to report that you believe that there is a problem with the neutral connection. They know this can be very dangerous, so they will likely treat it as a high-priority situation.

The effect of a “resistive neutral” connection is that the connection becomes hot. The result is it can overheat its surroundings and even start a fire. This may not do either of these straight away, it will tend to get worse over time because heat accelerates the aging of the wire, its insulation, and surrounding materials.

Should fires and flickering lights not be at the top of your list of things to look out for, another very dangerous effect of these loose or resistive neutrals is that it can lead to electrical shocks and even electrocution.

The ways this can happen are extremely unpredictable and depend on exactly how your house is wired and the exact condition of the wiring.

If you are in any doubt, and having read through this and seen the pictures call your Local NICEIC Registered Electrician.

At Bright Spark Electrical Services, it is simple, either give us a call, or contact us via our enquiry page "Request Quote".

Recent Articles

Prompt courteous service, with very competitive rates. I have no reservations to recommend this Company.

Christophe, Wadhurst

Just to say a big thank you for the work that your electrician carried out at my mothers house. He was very professional and a clean worker and the finished job was a complete success. It is very comforting to know that when a tradesperson attends the property of a elderly customer that they feel safe and happy. Once again, Thanks Keith

Keith, Pembury

I just wanted to say how amazing your customer service is. You are the first (and only?) trade company that communicates and is efficient from my experience. I really appreciate texts, and emails giving me updates. It means I don’t have the frustration of having to stay in for the electrician all day and waste my time. You run an excellent service. Your electrician was great and very quick. We will definitely be using you again.

Sarah - Paddock Wood

I have used Bright Sparks for two jobs and have been delighted with the quality of the work carried out. Karen is very knowledgeable in her subject and her staff are very well trained , courteous and hard working. I would highly recommend the company without hesitation.

Linda R, Crowborough

Karen and her team of electricians did a very good job in assessing our electrical circuits, modernising and upgrading our fuse boxes and ensuring compliance with the latest regulations. They were efficient and polite and, when they had finished the work, left the house tidy and in good condition

Robert, St Johns, Tunbridge Wells