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Old 24.07.2012, 17:03
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Electrical safety check (SINA)

Just as information. We bought a house and the owners had to have the Sicherheitnachweis (electrical safety inspection, SINA) done prior to closing the sale. This is required by law; it should be done every 20yrs, or if you sell a house, it should be no more than 5yrs old.

Now that we have moved in, this safety inspection, which took 4hrs and cost 350CHF, is not worth the paper it's printed on.

I have found a multitude of serious failures in the entire house, some of which are just downright dangerous. The safety check found none of these failures:

1. 16A circuit breaker terminal to the oven loose; I mean really loose. Most others were not tight at all. You want a fire in your distribution board? This is how it will happen!
2. 4" screw driven through a conduit and the resident cable.
3. Socket with a broken faceplate held to the wall with sellotape (!)
4. House has electric underfloor heating system; some of the sockets were powered off this. Fine if the socket is meant for a heater, but it should be labelled as such.
5. Standard flexible cable used from a light switch to the broken socket in point 3 above embedded in plaster - absolutely forbidden!
6. Three sockets with an earth cable hanging on by the skin of it's teeth..

So watch out. SINA does not necessarily mean the system is inherently safe; it shows that the RCD will trip within the specified time, the short circuit current is OK, the polarity of the sockets is OK. But, only those sockets that are the longest distance from the distribution board, and then only one socket per room. It does not include appliances that are 'fixed' (hot water boiler, washing machine, oven, etc.)

Of course, all of these failures are only visible when you remove covers and peek beneath the surface, which is what the SINA inspection does not do.

I told my friend, who is a Swiss electrician; he spent a good few minutes spitting feathers about the SINA..

Cheers,
Chris
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Old 27.07.2012, 09:18
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Re: Electrical safety check (SINA)

And so it goes on.. Removed a combination light switch yesterday, with 5 switches. There were eleven wires coming from this, which were all stuffed into an M20 conduit. Eleven! You are only allowed to have 7 (9, if the conduit is surface mounted). And even then, that's a maximum number.

One of these conductors was carrying the entire load from the ground floor, including kitchen. This conductor was also routed through four switches *before* going to the rest of the circuit. Another was carrying the entire load from the first floor.

Shocking stuff. The temperatures and IČR losses (from the way the feed was configured through all the switches) must have been quite high at those peak times of high load.

But, of course, the electrical safety inspection said it was all perfect..
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