How safe are Spanish electrics?

How safe are Spanish electrics?

By on Apr 17, 2014 in Safety | 2 comments

THERE IS a common apprehension and mistrust by the Brits regarding the safety of Spanish electrics in the home. This is probably due to the lack of mandatory regulations for domestic installations in Spain compared to the UK.

There are a number of specific national practices, habits and traditions associated with electrical wiring in Spanish houses that significantly differ from the UK, ring mains, spurs, fused plugs and unpolarised socket outlets being among them.

One of the major differences immediately apparent is that socket outlets and light switches are permitted in bathrooms. Another oddity is for new property buyers, when they discover bare cables at the light points instead of ceiling roses.

So how safe are the electrics in my Spanish home? The short answer is for homes built since 2002, electrical safety is generally satisfactory. For homes built prior to 2002… it’s “hit or miss.”

Spanish electrical regulations received a major overhaul in 2002 with specific safety improvements made to domestic dwellings, particularly to consumer units, earthing, and most notably the introduction of a standardised socket and plug across all of Spain – the Schuko 16 Amp type F.

So how bad does the wiring have to be before I actually need to think about contacting an electrician? There are some typical warning signs to look for in Spanish properties that warrant major concern and should be checked. Top of the list are illegal power upgrades not authorised by Iberdrola; over-rated circuit breakers that can create a fire hazard; and dangerous socket outlets that can create a risk of electric shock, and still in general use in old properties.

The most important safety device in your consumer unit is the RCD (Residual Current Device), referred to in Spanish as the ID (Interruptor Diferencial). It provides protection against serious electric shock. Ensure that you test all your RCDs every 3 months by pressing the test button.  Generally domestic installations are protected by a singular RCD – however you may have more than one. #testyourRCD

The age of the property is a good indication that the electrical safety should be checked – an electrical installation is as old as the oldest component in it.

A Test & Inspection (T&I) using specialist test equipment carried out by a professional electrician is the only way to fully identify the condition of the wiring and should be carried out every 10 years.

What are the  top 10 electrical faults found in Spanish homes? Click here to check if the electrical installation in your home is up to scratch.

    2 Comments

  1. Hi Tony,

    Just moved here and renting a house. Plugged in my laptop and got a tingle from the metal case. I Googled around and found your site then I checked the plug and it is indeed NOT a Schuku socket. The landlord is not at all interested and gave me a 20 minute sob story about how poor he is So….. What are my options in your professional opinion?

    I am using adaptors UK 3 pin to 2 pin….are these a problem? I notice how it seems impossible to buy plugs here to re-plug my cables! EU law maybe?

    Can I earth my laptop power cable myself? I was ‘advised’ to drive a copper stake into the ground and wire it to the earth on the cable? Chances of getting a good earth are slim I would think?

    Move and find a better house/lanlord?

    Much appreciated

    Best regards

    Dave

    Dave

    June 21, 2014

    • Tingles from metal cased appliances and computers are usually an indication of a bad earth. I recommend getting the installation tested asap.

      Tony Poole

      July 10, 2014

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