A lot of older Australian houses and their electrical wiring do not meet current standards, but are they dangerous? Well, yes and no. Whilst it’s not law to have our wiring upgraded the likelihood of a fault or dangerous cable is obviously higher. If you know you have an old house and are beginning to find some faults, then it might be time to get it checked out.
What Are Current Australian Wiring Standards for Homes?
The current standard is called AS/NZS 3000: 2018 Electrical Installations. It was developed by the current standards committee and last updated in 2018. It’s also known as the Wiring Rules and consists of 2 separate parts. Part one outlines fundamental safety principles that shape minimum regulatory requirements for safe electrical installation, and part two details solutions to achieve safety principles for the electrical installation work. These rules provide guidance for electricians to install the correct piece of equipment for the appropriate reason.
How Do I Know If My Home Meets Current Standards?
The only way to know is to have your home inspected. If your home has been built in the last 3-4 years then it should mee the current standards.
If you home was not built in the last 3-4 years then it will not meet the current standards, however this does not mean it needs to be rewired. The current Standards state that all homes need to meet the standards for when the house was finished being built unless major renovations have taken place.
If major renovations have happened to the property then the cabling needs to be brought up to the current standards for when the renovations have happened.
Confusing yes. But to simplify this, your house was built in 1960, Grandma lived in it all her life then sold it in 1980 to the new owners. The new owners stripped out the house raised it one level and turned it into a large 2 story home in 1984. The owners lived in it until 2020 and sold it to you. You have just moved in and plan on doing no work to it at this stage. This house first needed to meet the 1960 standards for electrical cabling and safety. Then in 1984 it was required to meet the standards in that year for the work done. This house is still compliant to this day until you have electrical work done on it.
A good indication of work done to a homes electrical circuits is the switchboard (sometimes called a fusebox) will be a bit of a giveaway as these have changed a great deal over the last 25 years. Whilst your switchboard can be new, your home wiring may not be. Installing a new switchboard may not necessarily protect you from faults but modern ones will have a lot more safety protection from shocks.
As a general rule of thumb, if the house was overhauled or built in the last 20 years it’s likely to be fine but you can always have your electrician check for you as there are many old properties in Brisbane North. If it’s more than 30 years old and is the original wiring then it’s probably time for a check.
Signs Your Wiring Is Old and causing problems;
- Keep Track of Circuit Breaker Trips
- Look and Listen for Flickering, Buzzing or Dimming Lights
- Look Out for Frayed or Chewed Wiring
- Search for Discolouration, Scorching and Smoke
- Feel for Warm or Vibrating Wall Outlets
- Smell for Burning and Odd Odours
What Colour Are the standard Electrical Wires In Australia?
Australian standards use red, white and blue for their live wire colours. However, it is also permissible in Australia to use European colours in some circumstances according to AS 3000.
- Earth (E) – Green
- Neutral (N) – Black
- Live 1 (L1) – Red
- Live 2 (L2) – White
- Live 3 (L3) – Blue
If your wiring doesn’t match these colours then it might be worth getting it checked. Simply give Rob Martin Electrical a call to find out if you want to know if your home needs re-wiring.