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Before the introduction of PVC, the majority of Electrical cables used had Vulcanised India Rubber (VIR) for insulation and protection.
The VIR cables were used in the majority of the wiring in properties, and on the whole did not have an earth wire attached (the Continuous Protective Circuit – CPC) .
Even the mains cables coming from the electricity meter to the Fuse board were VIR.
These mains cables still continued to be installed until the early 1960’s, and can often be found in converted blocks of flats where there is a switched isolator in the basement / hallway, and then the VIR cable goes up to the flat. It is often found that the flats have been more recently rewired, but the mains cable is VIR.
Unfortunately, rubber is perishable. The photo above shows a typical cotton braided VIR cable. The cotton braid provided some mechanical protection to the rubber, these cables are now 60 + years old.
The other photos show examples of wiring circuit VIR cables found in a local Tunbridge Wells property.
Once the rubber sheathing on the cable becomes brittle, just like an old elastic band, it starts to crack and break away. When this happens, the copper in the cable can become exposed, leading to a potential risk of electric shock, fire or an immediate loss of power due to a short circuit rupturing the protective fuses.
As electricians who carry out a lot of safety inspections these cables are easily spotted, and to provide some concern when testing, as with the slighted of movement in opening up electrical outlets the sheathing, can and does fall away.
We can find at times PVC cables have been connected to the VIR cable just to hide its existence – but it is still there and does pose a risk to our customers.
Should you suspect your cabling is old, or you have seen / touched some cables where the sheathing has just crumbled away, or it has been highlighted in an electrical report.
Remember once you have been made aware, and should there be a problem in the future, where fire officers, or insurance companies are involved. It has been highlighted to you, then you could face a void insurance claim.
At Bright Spark Electrical we do offer payment by Credit Card so your costs can be spread over a longer period of time.
Just contact your local NICEIC Electrician, or call Karen to discuss the situation further.
Bright Spark Electrical Services
You should take this electrical Safety Warning Seriously particularly if you have a property dating back at least 60+ years.
Here is a short Video explaining what HM Queen Elisabeth has had done at Buckingham Palace.
"In June 2018 Karen and one of her team fitted some new lights in my kitchen ceiling. I was really pleased with the work. The job was done efficiently and tidily. I was kept informed of arrival time and I was impressed with the service I received. Thanks for a great job. Lucy"
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.
Karen and her team of "Bright Sparks" are wonderful to deal with and needless to say know their negatives from their positives with just a dash of earth . I would recommend their services to anybody.
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
The guys did a great job yesterday – and were very accommodating too (putting things back in cupboards that they had to remove.) I gave them regular coffee / tea (and my wife made them a couple of Apple buns too) – and last night I gave them each a bottle of VERY good wine as a small thank you. GW - Hildenborough