What is a periodic inspection?

A periodic inspection is an inspection and associated testing to check whether an electrical installation is in a satisfactory condition for continued service. On completion of the necessary inspection and testing, an Electrical Installation Condition Report will be issued detailing any observed damage, deterioration, defects, dangerous conditions and any non-compliances with the present-day safety standard which might give rise to danger. Many faults, such as cross polarity or open circuits cannot be detected, unless the property is tested as appliances can still operate under fault conditions.

When does a periodic inspection need to be carried out?

It is recommended that periodic inspection and testing is carried out at the following times:

  • for tenanted properties, every 5 years or at each change of occupancy, whichever is sooner
  • at least every 10 years for an owner-occupied home
  • at least every 5 years for a business

The Landlords and Tenant Act 1985 requires landlords of properties with short leases to keep the electrical wiring in repair and in proper working order. We recommend landlords arrange for periodic inspection and testing to be carried out by a registered electrician at the relevant intervals shown above.

Periodic inspection and testing of the electrics should be carried out more frequently on the places and premises listed here:

  • 3 years for a caravan
  • 1 year for a swimming pool

When do I need a rewire?

There are no set guidelines as to when a property should be rewired. Just because your wiring’s old, it doesn’t mean it’s unsafe.

Many factors can affect the wear and tear of your electrical installation, including the materials used and how your property has been used.

We would advise that a periodic inspection is carried out on owner-occupied properties at least every 10 years and every five years in rented accommodation. The test will certify whether the electrics in a property are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading.

You should carry out regular checks around the house on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. If you notice anything unusual – for example, burn marks on plugs and sockets, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing or circuit-breakers tripping – get a registered electrician to check your electrics as soon as possible.

As a landlord, what responsibility do I have in relation to the electrics in a property that I intend to let?

You have a duty of care to your tenant and must ensure that the installation is safe when they enter the property and is maintained throughout their tenure.

The Landlords and Tenants Act (1985) requires that the electrical installation in a rented property is:

  • safe when a tenancy begins and
  • maintained in a safe condition throughout the tenancy.
  • We recommend that in order to comply with this Act, you get a registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Condition Report (EICR) on any property you intend to let before getting tenants in. This will certify whether the electrics are safe and tell you if anything needs upgrading.

I am a landlord, how often should I have an inspection carried out in my property?

  • If you own an HMO (House in Multiple Occupation), you have a legal obligation to have a periodic inspection carried out on your property every five years.
  • If your property is not an HMO, then you are not legally obliged to get your installation tested on a periodic basis. However, we recommend that you have a full periodic inspection carried out every five years or on change of tenancy – whichever comes first.
  • Our guidance is based on legal obligations set out in The Landlords and Tenant Act (1985).

What is voltage optimisation?

Voltage optimisation is a well-established, proven technology that manages incoming voltage and reduces it to a level more suitable for your appliances. In the UK, the average electricity supply is around 240Volts, which is high compared to other countries. Electrical appliances with the CE mark must be capable of working across a wide voltage range; anywhere between 207-253Volts.

How does it work? A Voltage Optimizer unit reduce the voltage using transformers. We reduce the mains voltage to around 220Volts, a level that allows the electrical appliances in your building to operate more efficiently.

Why do I need it? Supplying appliances at higher than 220Volts, wastes energy. As well as getting larger bills and the negative environmental impact, appliances deal with the extra voltage by generating heat or vibration, which means they wear out faster.

Why Upgrade to LED lighting?

The savviest buy you make this year could be a box of new light bulbs. An investment in the latest expensive but super-efficient bulbs could save you £240 a year and pay for itself within five months.

These bulbs, which are made up of LEDs (light-emitting diodes), are about 10 times more efficient at converting electricity into light than the old-fashioned filament variety. This explains the difference in the wattage needed.

So, to replace a traditional 60W bulb you need just a 6W LED bulb.

Although they are considerably more expensive to buy than traditional light bulbs and other “low energy” types of bulb, such as those that work more like fluorescent lights, they consume so much less electricity that you will quickly recoup your outlay in lower bills.