damp walls and electrics – help?

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  • damp walls and electrics – help?
  • jonba

    Over the weekend the RCCB in my house has tripped repeatedly. After some trial and error I think that the problem is related to one of 2 sockets that are on walls with a known damp issue. The builder is coming in a month to do repair work on the house.

    In the meantime is there a quick fix so that I can stop the power tripping out. I can’t isolate those sockets at the DB as the boiler and freezer are on the same ones.

    Going to call out a sparky today but don’t want to pay for a complete repair as the wall is about to be stripped,insulated and replastered anyway.

    Is there anyway of testing an individual socket to see if it is causing the tripping? Only other real options are the boiler and firdge/freezer as they were the only things on when it tripped last – that and anything that could have shorted.

    Premier Icon footflaps

    It would have to be very damp for enough water to get into a socket to cause it to trip. I would suspect an appliance is the likely cause. As for isolating the problem, normally all sockets on each floor are on the same ring, so you can only isolate it to that ring, not a socket.

    Premier Icon Stoner

    If it’s shorting it’s unlikely to be within the shrouded cable but at the sockets/appliances.

    I would isolate the ring then take the faces off each socket in turn and using a chocblock and some gaffer tape individually isolate and seal each core end. Of course you’d have to think about whether its a ring or a spur and what isolating a few sockets will do to the ring…..but then Im not a sparky, but Id ask my neighbour who is 😉

    That also assumes that it isnt shorting at a hidden junction somewhere in the wall.


    It is wet. The previous owners (or their slightly dodgy electrician) have spurred off the socket for some outside lights. IT goes up the wall to the isolator then horizontally through the wall to trunking on the outside. Doesn’t look like it is properly rated outside. I know I had some issues before but a massive amount of new sealant made it water tight. I assume it has failed but I’m not happy just repeating the process as it is obviously wrong/failed.

    I think the spur off the socket is helping the transfer of water (wrong sort of plaster compared to lath and plaster wall). Or it could be sometihng in that section causing the trip. The outside lights are isolated as that was my first guess.

    Right now I just want to isolate that section but I’ll see what the electrian can do this afternoon.

    Premier Icon Rusty Mac

    I am suprised the boiler is on a circuit with other stuff, normally they are wired to an individual RCD on their own loop.

    The Fridge freezer could be an issue depending on how much stuff you have in it, however, if you put some ice bocks in it you could probably switch it of for long enogh to move the sockets without ruining your food.

    A quick fix if you do believe it is the sockets would be to re-mount the sockets in surface mount boxes close to where they are curently. This would bring them into the room and hopefully away from the damp.

    Have a really good think about what you were doing when the circuit tripped.

    There is a good chance of it being a faulty applience, was there anything plugged in when teh circuit tripped? did it happen when the fridge clicke on to cool or the boiler fired upt o heat?

    It could also be something like a short in a cable somewhere that only shorts if stood on for example a cable in the loft under a board.

    Were you doing any sparky work yourself else where at the time, could there be something else tied into the circuit you don’t realise?

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