Expats seem to be inextricably drawn to older properties in France – the history and the beauty of age are a great lure. Many of us tend not to think about the electrical system that might be installed, and that’s fine, issues with electricity can be resolved. Paul Wilkins, expert electrician in France explains why it’s important to understand the requirements of installing electricity in France…
When you undertake your search for your dream home in France, it is likely that the last thing on your mind will be what sort of state the electrics are in. Fortunately, as part of the French house buying process, sellers are required to have carried out a number of diagnostic reports to include “etat de l’installation intérieure d’électricricité” or – state of domestic electrical installation. The purpose of the electrical diagnostic report is to assess the safety of the electrical system, particularly where installations are over 15 years old. When you look at older, more traditional French properties you’ll find that many are superbly priced, but when you weigh up the sum total of diagnostic reports, it may explain why the price is so competitive.
Many an expat has purchased a property and applied their own knowledge to electrical installation. Now, I believe and agree this is fine up to a point – but that point is when you start to overload the supply that already comes into your home; or when the work has been carried out by an ‘incompetent’ electrician.
Installing electricity in France
Electrical wiring is completely different in France to the UK. Earth size on twin & earth cable and fuse boards are different. We have seen plenty of properties with relatively good electrics, and others, which are pardon the pun, literally quite shocking.
For example we have witnessed homes where there are English sockets and switches and even the use of English cable and fuseboards. Many homeowners think that all the while nothing has gone wrong this is fine. However it isn’t legal and may invalidate your insurance policy. Worse yet, when it comes to selling a property with British electrical fitting – you’ll find that this is a major issue. You will not be able to pass muster with the diagnostics test and it will be necessary to fix the problem before any marketing can go ahead.
This is where the knowledge of a qualified and competent electrician pays dividends. It is very important to have an understanding of the load that appliances require and the impact that they have on the various circuits around your home. A good electrician will know where additions to existing circuits can be made and where new circuits need to be installed. I’ve carried out plenty of rectification jobs for sellers who’ve received poor diagnostic reports for their electrics. I’ve also been called in by buyers to report on the state of electrics which has helped them negotiate a reduction in price because of the need to pay for re-wiring etc.
If you’re thinking of buying a house in France, or have a house in France – electrics can seem like the least of your problems at time but don’t be caught out, plan ahead and come out on top.
Paul Wilkins is known as the Electricien Anglais En France. Paul moved to France in August 2012 having been a self-employed fully qualified electrician in the UK. He is registered with the Chambre de Metier, Artisan level electrician.