Client reached out to me after receiving a small shock from their metallic shower house and constant tripping of their shower circuit with a strong fishy smell coming from the bathroom area. 

After advising the client to isolate the shower circuit at the Fuse-board immediately, we managed to get to the client the next working day to diagnose their fault.

Faulty shower pull cord in Cannock
Faulty shower pull cord in Cannock

First thing we had noticed upon arrival was that the previous Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) had been due for a re-test in 2019.

First port of call we always check is the Shower pull cord as this is where the vast majority of failures occur.

After removing the pull cord straight away we noticed the basic insulation for the neutral conductor on the feed side of the pull cord had burnt up and started to burn out the earth conductor where it was making contact, causing a short circuit from neutral to earth.

This was caused by a combination of the shower being wired the wrong polarity and a loose connection of the neutral conductor which has slowly caused the cable to heat up under use and slowly melt and deteriorate.

One of the main causes of Electrical fires is loose connections, and as you can see in the picture, the client was lucky this instance was found before it was too late. And also luckily the shower circuit was protected by a 30mA RCD providing additional protection, otherwise the client could have had a serious shock that could of caused harm to life.

These faults can take various amounts of time to surface, even months or years. But when its too late, then its too late. This is why I always advise my clients to have carried out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) in the absence of a certificate or if the Next Recommended re-test date has expired. If the property would have been tested at the reccomended interval then this fault would of been found before it was too late.

After re stripping the burnt out cable and replacing the old burnt out shower switch with a new better quality unit. We then re-tested the entire circuit and fuse-board and importantly tested the circuits 30mA RCD protection to ensure adequate disconnection times incase of any potential faults in the future.

For more information on electrical safety, EICR's and Shower Pull Cords, contact Your Local, Tursted & Reliable Electrician in Cannock - Jordan Electrical Services.

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