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One rather nasty thing that was fitted to our old house when we bought it, was a single socket inside a cupboard in the bathroom, about 3m from Zone One.  The previous owners had a small (500mm wide) tumbler dryer in there, apparently, as there was a vent pipe that ran up and directly into the loft space (!) when we bought the place.  Given the house doesn't have an RCD, I replaced the socket years ago with one with the built in RCD, and whilst aware that it was borderline with the regs, it's been handy to have access to power in there.

 

Now it's time to sell, I've been debating taking it out.  The problem is that the cable was put in when the house was built, so is on the main ring final and chased into the wall.  To do a proper removal job means taking the cables out of the wall, reconnecting the ring final in the loft above and then making good.

 

Strictly speaking, this socket is probably legal, as there's no way that water can get sprayed on it (it's at the back of a 600mm deep floor to ceiling cupboard), it's protected by an RCD and it's more than 3m from the bath/shower.  However, I personally don't like it, and although our surveyor never picked it up when we bought the house (despite the tumble dryer being fitted at the time of his survey) I'm acutely aware that things are a lot tighter now when it comes to surveys.

 

I've contemplated fitting an (admittedly ugly) IP66 socket box in there, fitted with the existing RCD single socket.  Technically I think that should be legal, notwithstanding the fact that I still don't like it, but if anything the IP66 housing would make it more noticeable.  I'm tempted to just leave it as it is and put some stuff on the shelf that's now just below it so that it can't be seen when the surveyor comes around, and let the purchaser deal with it if they feel they need to.

 

Anyone any thoughts?

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I think you should give in to temptation and get the shelves loaded up.

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Just take the socket front off. Connect the wires in some heavy duty terminal blocks, and put a blank front plate on.  No socket in bathroom, no problem. don't make life more complicated than it needs to be.

 

I refused a request to put a socket in a bathroom once.  I had to go back a while later for something else and found the washing machine sat next to the bath, a small hole drilled through the wall through which the flex was threaded so it could be plugged in in an adjacent room.

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Socket off, 3 of these, blanking plate, forget it.

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Just now, lizzie said:

I think you should give in to temptation and get the shelves loaded up.

 

 

I have to say that's my preferred approach - I can't face the hassle of taking all the cable out of the wall and making good again , especially as I don't have any enthusiasm for doing more work on this old place

 

Just now, ProDave said:

Just take the socket front off. Connect the wires in dome heavy duty terminal blocks, and put a blank front plate on.  No socket in bathroom, no problem. don't make life more complicated than it needs to be

 

2 minutes ago, Onoff said:

Socket off, 3 of these, blanking plate, forget it.

 

I'd thought of that, but it looks even more suspicious, and technically I suspect the blanking plate needs to be at least IP55 or above (not sure you can get them, TBH).  Legally I suspect it's OK as it is.  I don't like it at all, but it's well outside Zones 1 or 2, is inside a cupboard, right at the very back, and may as well be on the hall wall just the other side of the wall it's on, as far as the regs are concerned.  I'm pretty sure I could argue the point, and win, that it's compliant with the letter of the regs, with the only point being that anyone who connects something to it has a responsibility to ensure that the lead cannot stretch as far as one of the zones.  That's no different to someone running an extension lead into a bathroom though, really.

 

The daft thing is the bathroom used to have a fixed hair dryer fused outlet, just to the side of this cupboard, as the previous owners had one of those hotel-style wired hair-dryers fitted to the wall.  They took it with them, and I got rid of the outlet and cables when I redid the bathroom a few years ago.  Pity I didn't knock down the cupboard and get rid of that socket at the same time...

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Another option, if it's a plasterboard wall is just move it to the hall then?

 

This no electrics in bathrooms is just because we are wimps and not allowed to make our own safety decisions.  In Australia it is normal to have a socket right next to the shower and that is usually where the washing machine stands, and a hairdryer plugs in. When I told my BIL we are not allowed to do that because someone would walk into the shower with the hairdryer plugged in and the water running.  His reply in his Austrailian accent was "well if they are that bloody stupid they deserve to die"

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2 minutes ago, ProDave said:

His reply in his Austrailian accent was "well if they are that bloody stupid they deserve to die"

 

Quite! They manage quite well with sockets in the bathroom in many countries. You can have a socket right near the sink in a kitchen, why not near a sink in a bathroom? 

 

 

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18 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Another option, if it's a plasterboard wall is just move it to the hall then?

 

This no electrics in bathrooms is just because we are wimps and not allowed to make our own safety decisions.  In Australia it is normal to have a socket right next to the shower and that is usually where the washing machine stands, and a hairdryer plugs in. When I told my BIL we are not allowed to do that because someone would walk into the shower with the hairdryer plugged in and the water running.  His reply in his Austrailian accent was "well if they are that bloody stupid they deserve to die"

 

Sadly it's a solid block wall, plastered both sides, with a radiator on the hall wall right where a direct knock-through would go. 

 

I think the UK is probably one of the only countries with a "no sockets in the bathroom" rule, although to be fair, the regs have been gradually relaxing over the years and are less restrictive now than they used to be.  Technically, I'm convinced this socket is legal, in as much as it meets the letter of the regs, but there are so many people who are just bloody pedantic when it comes to stuff like this that it's almost a dead cert that a surveyor will pick it up.

 

One thing has always amused me about the regs, and their application in commercial premises, like a barbers shop.  The barber I've used for years had his shop completely refitted a couple of years ago, with a continuous work surface along the wall in front of the barber's chairs, three basins fitted with shower heads, rows of sockets for clippers, dryers etc along the wall and hooks and loops to hang these on when they aren't being used.  All the sockets are standard two gang ones, at a guess there must be over a dozen outlets along that wall, most with clippers, rechargeable clipper charging units and hair dryers plugged in.  All this was professionally fitted, so presumably intended to comply with the regs, but for the life of me I can't see how any of it does.

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17 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

  All the sockets are standard two gang ones, at a guess there must be over a dozen outlets along that wall, most with clippers, rechargeable clipper charging units and hair dryers plugged in.  All this was professionally fitted, so presumably intended to comply with the regs, but for the life of me I can't see how any of it does.

Because the special location is a room containing a bath or a shower. The barber shop has neither.

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The OSG suggests an airing cupboard in bathroom is outside the Zones just as a bathroom door makes the bathroom separate from the rest of the house. It suggests however if the airing cupboard opens into Zone 1 of 2 then any circuits supplying kit in the cupboard should have RCD protection.

 

But this isn't an airing cupboard!

 

Argue it's a very small room off the bathroom? :)

 

 

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8 minutes ago, Onoff said:

The OSG suggests an airing cupboard in bathroom is outside the Zones just as a bathroom door makes the bathroom separate from the rest of the house. It suggests however if the airing cupboard opens into Zone 1 of 2 then any circuits supplying kit in the cupboard should have RCD protection.

 

But this isn't an airing cupboard!

 

Argue it's a very small room off the bathroom? :)

 

 

My guess is it was once an airing cupboard and where the socket is once powered the immersion heater.

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55 minutes ago, ProDave said:

Because the special location is a room containing a bath or a shower. The barber shop has neither.

 

But there are plumbed in hand held showers on every basin, with normal shower mixers!  The risk is actually more severe with a hand-held shower that can be directed at a customer's head and splash the adjacent outlets.  Sometimes the regs just don't make a lot of sense to me, and I've been reading them (and teaching them for a time) for over 40 years now.

 

10 minutes ago, Onoff said:

The OSG suggests an airing cupboard in bathroom is outside the Zones just as a bathroom door makes the bathroom separate from the rest of the house. It suggests however if the airing cupboard opens into Zone 1 of 2 then any circuits supplying kit in the cupboard should have RCD protection.

 

But this isn't an airing cupboard!

 

Argue it's a very small room off the bathroom? :)

 

 

 

The cupboard is well outside Zone 2, even with the door wide open, and the socket has a built in RCD, which is why I'm convinced it complies with the letter of the regs, but I doubt that carries any weight if faced with a pedantic surveyor...

 

2 minutes ago, ProDave said:

My guess is it was once an airing cupboard and where the socket is once powered the immersion heater.

 

Not now, the airing cupboard, as built, was on the opposite side of the hall and used to house a cylinder with immersion.  However, we know that the bathroom design was changed a lot part way through the build, as we have the original plans, plus the resubmitted plans, and although they don't have names by these spaces, it does look as if the original intention was to make this cupboard the airing cupboard.

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Could you not fit an isolating transformer based shaver socket in place of the existing socket. They are legal in bathrooms aren't they? If not just rely on Caveat Emptor, I guess the previous owners did. 

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Add some wooden slats in  = airing cupboard!

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10 minutes ago, MikeSharp01 said:

Could you not fit an isolating transformer based shaver socket in place of the existing socket. They are legal in bathrooms aren't they? If not just rely on Caveat Emptor, I guess the previous owners did. 

 

Could do, I guess, although there's already one on the wall.  I reckon I'll just pile stuff in front of it.  It's wired with red and black cable that's clearly a part of the original ring final, as there's no junction in the loft above, the two legs of the ring run out either side, one to the hall socket, one on to the bedroom.

 

1 minute ago, Onoff said:

Add some wooden slats in  = airing cupboard!

 

Just arrange the slats to hide the socket, perhaps?

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50 minutes ago, JSHarris said:

Just arrange the slats to hide the socket, perhaps?

 

Is it quite high up? You often see them high so it was only a short reach to the immersion in the top of the tank.

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This would be the least of my worries when buying a house - a few thoughts - 

- If I ever listened to everything a surveyor said I would never buy any house, ever..

- I don't have a copy of the 18th, but looking at the 17th, provided you are over 3m from the edge of zone 1 and have RCD protection then this is a perfectly ok socket

- Usually (but not always), surveyors are only commenting on the general condition of the house and tend to be more focused on structurals. I'd really only start to be concerned if they had a proper electrician in performing an EICR, even then any recommendations and remediations would be the purchasers issue.

 

Looking at the EICR guidance notes here - https://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/mediafile/100126678/best-Practice-Guide-4.pdf - the worst I could do would put that socket as a C3, but from what you've described earlier it sounds like it's compliant.

 

I'd probably be more worried about a slipped tile or crack in the wall.... surveyors love a good crack.

 

Edit - Those EICR notes are from 2014 so take with a pinch of salt but you get the general idea of what people are looking for when inspecting.

Edited by MrMagic

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Jeremy, you worry too much, buyer won’t care, just isolate and blank plate it, say it was like that when you bought bought it. Who,s to know?. Chill man ?.

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Wago it so you or the future owner hasn't got to worry about the terminals loosening i.e a nod to maintenance free. Blanking plate on. Job done. If you're really worried type up an official looking label stating redundant socket position, on d'stairs ring, fed from etc. Even go so far as to put "for advice...contact number of...your sparks". 

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I’m of the fill the cupboard with towels and other stuff brigade, if a surveyor goes into so much detail as to find it give him or her a medal, when we sold our last house the surveyor was with us for all of twenty minutes and most of that was him walking round not looking at anything in particular and asking about comparable.

 

i think you’re  worrying too much, when we bought the previous house our surveyor failed to notice that the washing line in the back garden was actually the neighbour’s power supply to his garage. The garages were in pairs, so he’d simply hung the power cable diagonally across one corner of our garden.

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9 hours ago, Onoff said:

 

Is it quite high up? You often see them high so it was only a short reach to the immersion in the top of the tank.

 

No, it's right down low, about a foot of the floor level, pretty much the same height as all the other sockets in the house.  The old airing cupboard, off the hall, has both a radial for the immersion switched fuse and also a single outlet on the power ring final, for some odd reason, both next to each other, and about half way up the wall.  I've never quite worked out why the original builder decided to stick a single outlet in there, but then I've never understood why at least half the outlets in the house were singles, either.  I went around shortly after we bought the place converting most of the singles to double gang.

 

1 hour ago, Triassic said:

I’m of the fill the cupboard with towels and other stuff brigade, if a surveyor goes into so much detail as to find it give him or her a medal, when we sold our last house the surveyor was with us for all of twenty minutes and most of that was him walking round not looking at anything in particular and asking about comparable.

 

i think you’re  worrying too much, when we bought the previous house our surveyor failed to notice that the washing line in the back garden was actually the neighbour’s power supply to his garage. The garages were in pairs, so he’d simply hung the power cable diagonally across one corner of our garden.

 

I think you're right, I probably am worrying too much.  I'm just a bit desperate to make sure nothing holds up the sale of this old house, as we're both sick and tired of it.  Cover it up with cleaning stuff seems to be the answer - that sits in a plastic box on the shelf above, but can easily be moved down to floor level when the surveyor comes.

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Definitely stuff the cupboard with a ton of bathroom stuff. Most bathroom cupboards are like that anyway and the surveyor won’t even pause for breath I’m sure. The buyers might even be glad of a socket in that location and most people won’t give a stuff whether it’s allowed or not as long as not inherently dangerous. 

 

 

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Definitely overthinking this Jeremy. What makes you think the surveyor will be any more thorough than the EPC bloke?

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1 hour ago, jack said:

Definitely overthinking this Jeremy. What makes you think the surveyor will be any more thorough than the EPC bloke?

 

 

You're right.  It only bothers me because I was a bit shocked to find it when we moved in, it not having been noted on the survey.  What bothered me most was that there was no RCD in the house, so as a quick fix I just changed the socket for one with an integral RCD, just for peace of mind. 

 

As it happens, it's useful, I plug my electric trimmers in there for the monthly beard trim and my wife plugs her hair drier in there too.  In the case of my trimmers, they are iffy, legally, as they are professional barbers ones with a lead that's long enough to reach Zone 2, but like other countries (and barbers shops here) I just use common sense.  My wife's hair dryer has a much shorter lead, so I had to fit a mirror on the back of the cupboard door.  There's no way that her hair drier could get within 1m of Zone 2 when plugged in, and the same would apply to pretty much any other domestic appliance, as they are usually supplied with pretty short leads.

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I have a spare cable floating in the stud en suite wall so I can put a socket or something (isolated bathroom type?) ready for hairdryer, beard trimmer etc AFTER the build is signed off. I believe health and safety is OTT and I like the Ozzie comment above. “well if they are that bloody stupid they deserve to die". ?

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