So, I’m out and about at the moment. Not repairing sockets or fitting lights. I’m currently sat in the waiting room of my local garage waiting for the MOT on one of our vehicles. This got me thinking, Why don’t we have an ‘MOT for your house?
Mot for your house?
Your car (motorbike, van or other road-going vehicle!) needs regular inspection to ensure it is safe for continued use. The body responsible for this have determined that once your vehicle is over 3 years old (from new), it requires testing every year.
Be honest, if you run a vehicle, you take this for granted. You accept that this is the requirement to ensure that your vehicle is safe. You also expect that other vehicles on the road have undergone similar tests to ensure that they are also safe for use.
What about your home?
You & your family spend more time at home than anywhere else. You use the sockets for your electrical items, turn on the lights and use the heating. You live under your roof and don’t give a second thought about how it is pretty much the only thing protecting you from the wind and rain outside.
Just stop to think for a minute & think about how much blind faith you put in your home, and the services within.
So why don’t we ever consider our homes? – An MOT for your house!
OK, obviously a car has many more moving parts than a house and evidently will “wear” quicker.
BUT: with a car and the fact it is being tested at regular intervals, it is much easier for an expert to spot dangers arising.
When was the last time you had an electrician look over your home and the installation within? Or what about your boiler? Whilst safeguards are in place for gas within rental properties (and electrical safeguards are on the horizon), nothing exists for owner occupied properties.
Just because there is no legal requirement, that doesn’t mean it is safe to ignore.
The IET (Institute of Engineering & Technology) have laid out recommendations for the length of time between electrical inspections in various premises. The length of time between recommended inspections varies greatly depending on the use of the property. Typical owner occupied properties are recommended to be tested every 10 years as a minimum. This requirement is dropped to every 5 years for rental properties. Some premises, such as cinemas and other public spaces have recommendations to be tested every year.
Landlord / Homebuyer Report
You may have heard of electrical inspections being referred to as Landlord Reports or Homebuyer Reports. This obviously depends on whether you are a landlord with tenants, or you are buying a house. Quite frankly, if you have lived in your current house for some time and have never had an inspection (often with no form of electrical paperwork at all) then you would be wise getting your installation tested too.
Would you know if something like this was lurking in your house?
The above image shows wires within a socket which have simply being twisted together. This is an extreme example, granted, but we have come across serious faults on installations where everything is working fine and has been for years.
Some issues are invisible (even to an electrician) and can only be found when tested with sensitive test equipment. You don’t try and fault find your car – so why not consider an ‘MOT for your house’?
When would you rather these issues raised themselves? During a planned test where appropriate remedial works can be completed? Or on a Sunday: when you are cooking dinner, the other half is in the shower and the kids are between the TV and game console? A loose wire can easily heat up when a high current item is used (think washing machine, shower, cooker, tumble dryer, etc…) Basically everything the average family home has running on a weekend!
MOT for your home!
Instead of thinking of an MOT as some regulatory piece of red tape, it has become accepted as important for safety.
Instead of thinking of home inspections (electrical, gas, even structural) as some expense you don’t need because it isn’t law, these should be seen as a wise investment in the safety of your family.
You don’t need to spend hundreds every year, planning inspections at recommended intervals can actually cost less (worked per year) than having your car tested. Certainly the cost of an electrical inspection every 10 years will be less than paying for your MOT every year (unless you live in a LARGE house!). So why don’t more people consider an ‘MOT for your home’?
At the end of the day, finding faults early can be cheaper to repair! Not only is the safety side important, but if you can find issues or better still find that there are NO issues (we have attended properties which appeared to have serious issues, which turned out to be minor once actually tested!)
- Ensure your family is safe
- Ensure that there is no potential for damage to your actual property
- Have the paperwork required should you ever chose to sell/rent your property
- If you ever have any electrical issues which DO damage your property, your building insurance might ask to see copies of any electrical certification
All you need to do next is find a local, registered electrician to complete this work for you. I’ve written some hints and tips which might help here too!
Thanks for reading