I love my new wiring. It’s not a sexy bit of the refurb but it is a very useful and grown-up thing to spend my money on. I’ve already written about how much I love my light switches but the whole thing is great actually.
Originally there was only one double socket in each room and all sorts of odd things like an extension cable wired directly into the wall and lights that were wired with doorbell wire. I knew from my experience in my rented flat (which is a similar age) that it’d need rewiring as the fuse box was mega old and when we peered at the wiring behind the light switches it was really old.
I was apprehensive about working with electricians as I barely know anything about electrics and I’d heard horror stories about people being ripped off and working with unreliable people.
I advertised the job on Rated People and had a few quotes. In the end I chose C & H Electrical as their price was great but they were also really friendly and took the time to explain my options.
They turned out to be a great choice as their work was great, speedy but thorough and they were super nice guys. My dad came for a look round the penthouse while the work was underway and he was really impressed at what they’d achieved despite, he was eager to point out, the fact I made them work round lots of the original furnishings (which they didn’t complain about).
They were so speedy that they’d started pinging old light switches off the wall before we’d even finished our first conversation on the first day they started! Before I left for work on that first morning they said they were amazed the place hadn’t burned down given how old and dodgy some of the wiring was! That certainly made me feel better about having the whole thing overhauled and replaced.
The actual process
They put in new light fittings first (discovering my ridiculous ceilings in the process). In the bedrooms, the light fittings were hung in front of the window to one side of the room rather than in the centre (fairly typical for the age of the flat). They’re all now nicely centred which made quite a visual difference straight away.
With the old fittings disconnected and the new ones not yet wired in properly there was no artificial light for a while which was a tad inconvenient as I’d planned to try to get work done in the evenings but also great because I didn’t have to try to get work done in the evenings (I can be massively lazy at times!).
Because of said stupid ceilings, the electricians had to rod the wires across rooms (this YouTube video shows them in action) rather than running them across joists in the loft. This has left small holes in each ceiling where they fed the rods through (but so far no cats have managed to squeeze up through them which was my major concern so that’s marvellous). I’m sure they went out of their way to minimise the appearance of the holes by making their jobs harder so bonus points for that.
Coming back to the flat after work to find wires hanging out of walls was quite exciting! It was great to see some visible progress on the penthouse.
Next up were the sockets (including my super cool sockets with built-in USB charging ports). I’d thought in advance about where I wanted these based on where we were likely to put electrical items so that was handy and made things easier. That said, the number of sockets in each room was based on a completely spontaneous guess when I got the initial quotes but I think it was right (fingers crossed!)
Rewiring is fairly messy business. Everything in the flat was soon covered by a layer of dust from where the electricians drilled channels down to every light switch and socket so the cables could be hidden in the walls (or, you know, not hidden yet because I’ve not being sufficiently organised to book the plasterer yet and I’m trying to pretend it is a deliberate style choice),
One thing I definitely don’t have to worry about is the flat falling down as this place is SOLID. Clearing up I found so many blunt drill bits where my walls had worn them down completely!
Once we’d moved in we found that the electric shower kept tripping and on one occasion created scary smoke next to the fuse box along with the smell of burning – NOT GOOD! Ever the practical person I did genuinely fleetingly think ‘oh well at least my belongings are still packed and would be easier to rescue from a burning building’. Turns out one of the circuit breakers was faulty (though had luckily cut the power rather than setting everything on fire!) but the lovely electricians popped back and replaced it without any hassle.
All the sockets, lights and switches are in now except those for the kitchen cabinets and built-in appliances (the header image for this project is from the kitchen at the moment). The kitchen is the next big project on my (very very long) to do list so hopefully I’ll be ready for those to be finished off soon. Seeing how very wonky the walls in there were I’ve decided to call in some help so I’ll be sharing pictures and posts on that with you soon!