lead sheathed wiring

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a query for the electrically minded folk. i have discovered some of this type of wiring in the lighting circuits for my house.the socket circuits are rewired with new cable but the previous owner decided not to bother with removing it for the lights . obviously it will have to be removed but im just interested to know how old this cable would be and how urgently should i get it replaced ( all electrics functioning ok but safety wise who knows?)
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It old. In fact as far as electric installations go it's very old!
How old is the house?
Lead cable is probably circa late 1900's up to 30's. It was widely used. Just imagine what it would cost these days!
From a safety angle it will be OK providing you don't overload it too much as the inner current carrying cores may be fractured, especially if it's been disturbed. The cores were usually steel and they can be brittle. According to reg's though it needs to be replaced yesterday. I would make it one of my priorities. It's awful stuff to remove too because it will probably be clipped (with lead straps) to the joists every 1m or so. It's also awful to joint into etc. I don't think it's as bad though as some of the cloth wrapped stuff which is no doubt still in use in many old places. That really is a fire waiting to happen.
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On Thu, 20 Nov 2003 14:19:09 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
<snipped some real dangerous and ill-informed rubbish>
Lead sheathed cables used pbj (poly-butyl-jute) for insulation. The stuff deriorates over time, and becomes brittle and liable to cracking. Possible loose connections in switches or at ceiling roses, junction boxes, etc, can generate localised heat spots, which in turn tend to make the pbj turn powdery and crumbly, leading to a break-down of the insulation. *Any* movement of the cables should be considered an absolute no-no. I know of two or three house fires that were directly attributed to old lead-sheathed wiring. It's a complete folly to rely on modern protection devices to isolate any possible faults. That's too late when your house is burning down coz a fire has started before the protection operates.
The cables are well-past their life expectancy and should be replaced as soon as posible.
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I've encountered lead-sheathed cables which were so brittle they cracked at the slightest disturbance - a fire waiting to happen, indeed. --
Dave
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Grimly Curmudgeon wrote:

As indeed was the drilled through PVC cable in a wall I came across.. But of course, it tripped the MCB when it got wet...
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You really are talking through your arse.
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With regard to the photos, he is confusing longevity with quality (clearly). With regard to lead sheathed cable, the quality was always a bit suspect (if moved about, and in the efficacy of the earth connections). It may be true that lead sheathed cable will "last" 100 years but that doesn't make it good quality in electrical/safety terms.
--
Bob Mannix
(anti-spam is as easy as 1-2-3 - not)
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PJO wrote:

Not at all. Good things last. All the 100 year old crap has long since decayed. By definition, if its been there 100 years and still works, its probably pretty good.
Points about making sure the cable sheath is earthed, and making sure its on a modern RCD system, are good. I've seen brand new PVC cable eaten to a short by rodents.
Obviopusly if you are into a complete rewire, take out old stuff. But its stupid to replace things that are working OK just because they are made in a way you don't reognise. ESPECIALLY if they can be backed up by a modern safety system.
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<snip>

And I suppose you think lead water pipes are still OK, well they don't leak and are only a health hazard if someone is stupid enough to drink from the supply....
You're a class one toss pot.
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Lead is still widely installed in hard water areas. There is no real reason to replace it. The lead soon gets a thin layer of scale that prevents absorbtion of the lead itself.
Christian.
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I would have though plastic would have been the preferred choice, and in any case if you are correct you must be referring to really hard water areas.
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Of course plastic MDPE would be much better. However, if the incoming is lead and the house pipework copper, I wouldn't worry. I certainly wouldn't fork out thousands to get it replaced. I'd get a little worried if the internal pipework was all lead.
Christian.
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Jerry. wrote:

Lead at least lasts better than 1000 years, the jury is still out on polypropylene ;-)

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Err, think not. Against the law.
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Obviously against the law to fit the stuff. Not against the law to use existing lead water mains supply in hard water areas.
Christian.
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- we have some for one on our mains supply.
Rather than they still install the stuff.
--
Chris French, Leeds

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chris French wrote:

Yes. The building regs are rather good at lip pursing and preventing use of something that is no longer the best practice, without going apeshit and demanding it all be removed immediately...
Lead ahs been used less and less for everythuing, not so much because its dangerous, as becauuse its expensive, and often not the best material anyway. You can sill buy skads of teh stuff tho. For roofing. GASP better not drink from the water butt then had we? We might de of lead poisoning before the cholera got us...
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Here here.
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all in one post! Well impressed...
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On Fri, 21 Nov 2003 09:00:33 +0000, The Natural Philosopher wrote:
<snip>

No it's not, you really are talking utter rubbish. If you bothered to read my earlier post on the subject, you'll see *I* gave factual reasons why it should be removed asap. You are just pushing some half-arsed theory of your own that is without foundation in the real world.
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