Any electricians here?

  VNAM75 19:03 26 Aug 2008

My laptop is plugged into a mains socket in the dining room. When I switch it on at the mains socket I hear a electrical buzzing noise for a few seconds. Sometimes I also get a pop noise like as though it is going to pop/blow. I've resorted to using a pen rather than my finger to switch it on now. The wiring in my house is quite old. Is there anything I can check or do, would it be something as simple as the fuse is about to blow? Do electricians do free wiring checks these days?

  Forum Editor 19:19 26 Aug 2008

as if there's something arcing inside the wall socket, and you should not leave it unattended. Arcing will eventually cause the socket to fail, but in the meantime it will cause overheating, and is a fire hazard.

Get an electrician to open the socket and replace the face-plate - don't settle for just tightening the conductor terminal screws. Do this very soon, it's not something you should postpone.

  ashdav 19:19 26 Aug 2008

Wall socket needs replacing.
Bad socket,loose wires or dodgy switch.

  lofty29 19:31 26 Aug 2008

You say that the wiring is quite old, if it is more than twenty years it certainly needs inspecting and probably renewing. Don't forget that if you do not maintain your property in good condition your insurance could be affected. one way in which you can tell if its reasonably modern is wheather you have fuses(old) or circuit breakers and rcd( modern)

  lofty29 19:33 26 Aug 2008

PS if you do have it inspected make sure you get a reputable firm, there are a lot of cowboys out there.

  VNAM75 19:33 26 Aug 2008

Thank you for the advice. I will get it looked at, in the meantime I will use another socket for the laptop.

  VNAM75 19:35 26 Aug 2008

Wiring is probably original, about 40+ years.

  Forum Editor 23:17 26 Aug 2008

of PVC cables is 20+ years, based on the assumption that the cable runs at its maximum current rating, 24 hours a day, 365 days of the year.

In reality that never happens of course, cables are never at their maximum loading, and most cable circuits don't operate continuously at any appreciable load. That means that in practice you can assume a life of at least 40 years, and probably a good bit longer, but it's advisable to have an electrician carry out an inspection and test every few years as cables age

  peter99co 23:43 26 Aug 2008

I had a cable behind a wall socket come loose in the wire grip because the screw had loosened. The wire heated up and the insulation melted. This allowed the live wire to contact the metal box (conduit) the resulting contact blew the front off. It does happen!

  Simsy 08:05 27 Aug 2008

it's quite possible, at that age, that the wireing isn't PVC, but rubber. At that age it may well be very deteriorated and crumbling.

(My house was built in 1959 and I discovered that the wireing was, LITERALLY, falling to pieces, in 2000)

I would very seriously consider having it all checked, with a view to a complete rewire! (Depending on the size of your place this may well cost several thousand though!)

Good luck,



  cluckinbell 09:59 27 Aug 2008

If you want good proffesional advice from real electricians there is a fantastic forum called DIYnot, several forums but you want the UK electrics one.

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