When I was back home in December I bought a house that was built in 1913. I have just received the building inspection report and it said that some of the outlets are not grounded. I’m not sure what this means or if it is serious enough for me to stop escrow. Does anyone have any thoughts/comments/experiences with this? :?
Grounding the outlets, better known as protective earth (PE), is supposed to prevent injuries or death as a result from malfunctioning electronic/electrical equipment. I highly recommend it if you value your life and that of your family, in particular your kids. You might be able to sustain an electrical shock but kids most likely will not.
In any case make sure that the bathroom has a proper grounding/PE and that it’s seperately fed via a ELCB/RCD (the device that disconnects the power when there is a leakage current).
We had a discussion about grounding in Taiwan before here in case you are interested in more details. Or just feel free to ask.
Yes, loads, forumosa.com/taiwan/viewtopic.php?t=10427
Call an electrician; it’s usually easy enough to fix. Depends on how antiquated everything is. At worst, you’re looking to rewire the house from top to bottom – assuming it’s in a place with a modern electrical company.
I realize you’re buying in NZ, but my limited knowlege is from the U.S.
Here, houses before about 1950 often had post-and-tube wiring, which is considered a fire hazard now – partly because the newer stuff is much better, partly because any wiring that ancient is falling apart now. Insurance companies are balking at insuring houses which have it, and are charging outrageous premiums. The tort-lawyer contingent has pulled some crap which is causing problems with housing sales for any house that ever had it, even if the wiring has since been replaced.
My house was more modern, but the new owner decided he wanted to replace the main circuit-breaker panel. This cost him about US$6000, in part because the electrician had to install an enormous (and hideously ugly) PVC conduit on the side of the house to move the meter to the front (required under the current electrical code).
When I sold a condo a few years ago, the new owner wanted a GFCI circuit breaker put on the hot tub. This was a trivial breaker swap at the box, and cost me about US$100 to have done. (I think the breakers are around US$30, and are trivial to do yourself, but for legal reasons I had to have a licensed electrician do it.)
Talk to an electrician to find out what you will want/need to do with the house’s wiring. In the U.S., it is standard practice to ask that the seller pay for all or part of the expense, since the house is “less valuable than you expected” when you put in your offer. (The buyer of my house asked me to pay his closing costs in lieu of doing the work ahead of time. I don’t know whether he thought it would cost less to do, or decided that since it was a nonessential thing that he wouldn’t demand the full cost from me.)
Hey…Californian all the way. NZ? I’ve never touched a sheep in an inappropriate way, ever! Thanks for the advice, it is much needed.
I did get up at some ungodly hour last night and called an electrician and he said that he wouldn’t re-wire an old house and that it is probably fine the way it is. He did say that if I really wanted to re-wire the house it would run me around $10,000USD. Yech. If I have to I have to, but I was looking forward to spending the dosh on fun stuff like the kitchen, converting one of the bedrooms into a library (complete with secret/hidden room. I have always wanted a secret room), and the bathrooms.
When I go back in September to do some stuff I will go more in depth into the wiring and see what I can do. The guy I bought it from is a fireman with six kids…if that means anything.
Thanks again for your input. I will print it out and put it into my “Stuff I Really to Know” file.
I think outlets should be grounded if they do something very wrong.
Bugger, copied Alleycat’s joke again
…there’s your courtesy laugh, BFM.