How do I know if my electrical installation is up to code?

The electrical installation of a dwelling is at the heart of the life of its inhabitants. If it fails, the security of the home is directly threatened. France still has 7 million homes whose electrical installation no longer complies with safety standards. A third of them even pose a real danger to people. How do you know if your electrical installation is safe? Here’s how to make sure it meets current safety standards.

Some key elements of your electrical installation to check:

What is the commissioning date?

Even if your electrical installation complies with the safety rules of its time, the standards have changed. Start by checking its in-service date. If it has been commissioned avant 1974 and that it has never been brought up to standard since, some elements are really dilapidated. Safety checks only became mandatory after 1974. Be careful, this type of installation can present a real danger.

If its commissioning has been done after 1991, it meets the most recent standards and is subject to mandatory regular checks. Your installation is secure.

Your electrical outlets do not have ground pins

The earth plug has been mandatory for many years. The absence of a male metal rod on your electrical outlets (earth terminals) indicates an old and probably dilapidated installation. If in addition your electrical outlets do not have a protective collar, they are protruding, they are definitely too old!

Sockets and switches have burn marks

Brown traces on switches encircled with metal, sockets that have traces of heating…? Having signs that your electrical installation is faulty.

You only have one circuit breaker…

… and your fuses are not suitable. It’s time to take back control of your electrical safety. Go through the renovation box and gain security!

The electric meter is old

It is an indication of the obsolescence of your installation. That said, if your meter is recent, do not trust it blindly: it may have been installed on a dilapidated installation.

Wires are bare

Electric wires in the open air, dangling dominoes… Attention, danger! Electrical cables must be protected by sheaths and run in insulating plinths (and not directly in contact with wood, this is prohibited) or in trunking.

Your meter often trips

Are the fuses blowing regularly? It seems that your electrical installation is too old. It no longer corresponds to your use; you are no longer safe. The slightest short circuit can trigger a disaster.

What are the risks of outdated electrical installations?

The electrification of people

The first risk, for the inhabitants of a dwelling whose electrical installation is no longer up to standard, is electrification. This is a real risk, which affects around 4,000 people every year, causing around a hundred deaths a year. The consequences of electric shocks vary according to the strength of the current and the exposure time. It goes from burns internal or superficial (often invisible) to burns electrothermal, due to the supply of electric current in the body. Electrocution, fatal, occurs when the electrical charge is too high.

The house fire

According to the National Observatory for Electrical Safety, out of 250,000 fire starts per year, 80,000 are of electrical origin. The most common cause: old or faulty installations.

The obsolescence in question

Most electrical accidents are linked to non-compliant installations or dangerous behavior. First of all, never forget that water is the worst enemy of electricity, especially if you find yourself between the two! The tightness of an electrical circuit is essential. Frequent causes of accidents are also the absence of an earth network, the absence of protections preventing indirect contact and the overloading of circuits.

What does a proper installation look like?

A secure installation must meet the standards in force. Here are the criteria for bringing your electrical installation into compliance:

A differential system

A standard installation combines the protections. It must be fitted with a 30 mA residual current differential device (DRR). This device, located at the level of the electrical panel, measures the incoming and outgoing current, thus identifying any current leaks. Since 2003, it has been compulsory for the entire electrical circuit.

A mandatory earth circuit

Your installation must be equipped with an earth circuit, green and yellow, which is responsible for evacuating these possible current leaks.

A recent electrical panel

This electrical panel must have protections for the power supply wires (under PVC sheath) and at the level of its U-shaped rails. The entire network must be perfectly sealed.

A general circuit breaker

The circuit breaker must be easily accessible and allow rapid and complete disconnection of the circuit. If it detects a defective device or a network problem, causing a short circuit or an overvoltage, the circuit breaker cuts off the current itself.

The rule is the NF C 15-100 standard

Electrical safety standards have been constantly evolving since they have been in existence. Their ancestor, the C11 standard, appeared in 1911. The current standard, which has been mandatory for all new construction since 1969, has evolved to meet French usage and electricity consumption. It is also essential in any old renovated housing.

A few mandatory items:

  • the supply of a diagram of the electrical installation,
  • the presence of the ground wire throughout the installation,
  • a differential circuit breaker,
  • an electrical panel (and as many connection boxes as necessary),
  • two-pole socket outlets, with earth and child protection,
  • screw fittings (claws are prohibited, except in certain renovations),
  • the distance of sockets of at least 60 cm from a water point (bathroom),
  • four specialized circuits for large household appliances (including one for a cooker or hotplates),
  • special provisions in the event of electric heating, etc.

The NF C 15-100 standard is controlled by the Consuel

All electrical installations are subject to a mandatory check, carried out by an Agent of the Consuel. The National Committee for the Safety of Users and Electricity thus ensures the compliance of your installation. A certificate is requested from him by the distributor before the commissioning of the meter. At the time of the sale or rental of a dwelling, the notary can request a diagnosis of conformity if the electrical installation is more than 15 years old.

The upgrading is mandatory in case of sale of your property, do not delay in doing the necessary. But above all, think about your safety.

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