Lighting circuits with no Earth (CPC)

During the early 1960’s many homes were wired without an Earth wire (now known as a Circuit Protective Conductor or CPC) in the lighting circuit.

Why was this?

Quite simply, during the 60’s metal fittings didn’t exist or were considered ‘out of reach’ so were of very limited risk of electric shock – therefore house builders didn’t need to install or ensure the added expense of using cable fitted with an earth core. Since then the cost of producing metallic fittings has fallen considerably which has led to the introduction of metal decorative fittings into properties. This promoted electrical & building regulation changes to ensure all fittings (known as extraneous conductors) are adequately earthed for your electrical safety.

Can I install metal light fittings & switches?

NO. Absolutely not, these should be removed immediately and plastic double insulated fittings & switches should only be fitted.

If there is no Earth in my lighting circuit – am I adequately protected?

Only if your lighting circuit consists of NO metallic Class I fittings & switches, your main Earthing & Bonding is adequate (i.e. complies with the latest BS7671 electrical regulations), the circuit is protected via a 30mA RCD or RCBO device and correctly labelled is it considered acceptable by The Safety Electrical Council.

Can a new 17th Edition Consumer Unit with RCD protection be fitted to my existing installation?

YES. Ideally a separate Circuit Protective Conductor (CPC) or a lighting circuit re-wire is recommended by The Safety Electrical Council, this is essential if you wish to install decorative metal fittings or switches.

If however you do not wish to upgrade your lighting circuit, then a new Consumer Unit with 30mA RCD protection can be installed providing it fully meets the requirements of the guidance notes and passes risk assessments outlined by The Safety Electrical Council – once this is met then your old fuse box can be replaced with a new RCD protected Consumer Unit.

If you are unsure if your lighting circuit contains an earth and would like confirmation and a safety check then contact us today.

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