Does your house need rewiring? A house rewire is a major job, but if the wiring in your house is old or inadequate, a house rewire would be an urgent safety matter.
The first thing to check is the colour of the cables - if you find black coloured cables entering the consumer unit, this is an immediate sign that the wiring needs checking. Modern electrical cables are either grey or white and are insulated by a coating of PVC - the old black cables were insulated with rubber, which perishes and decays with age.
Black, rubber coated wires could be up to 40 years old, and over the time the deterioration allows the conductors inside the cable to meet. This will manifest itself as a blown fuse, but if you replace the fuse it will simply blow again. The only solution is to replace the wiring.
Other things to look out for include:
Metal conduit running to the sockets or lights
Round pin plugs
An inadequate consumer unit
Modern houses place a much higher demand on the electrical system than in years past, so if you have antiquated wiring it is an accident waiting to happen.
Even if the safety issues aren't enough to convince you, you will have to get your electrics updated before you sell your house - a basic inspection will reveal inadequate or defective electrics, and no mortgage lender will lend money on a house that could burn down in the near future!
If you have concerns that your electrical system is either inadequate of too old, it is essential to get a qualified electrician to look at it. This is not a job for an optimistic amateur.
Indeed, with the government's new IEE Wiring regulations in place, there are strict limits to the work that you can do yourself. These include:
Replace existing accessories such as sockets, switches and ceiling roses and an individual damaged cable
Providing that the work is not in a kitchen, bathroom or special location add lighting points, sockets and fused spurs - as long as the Wiring Regulations are followed.
Rewiring your house would have to be done by a trained, qualified electrician, who would then issue a certificate to the householder, and notify Building Control - they record the work and issue a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate.