Your electrical system
If you are the custodian of an electrical system, you are responsible for ensuring that it is safe and cannot cause injury or damage to people and property.
All homes have an electrical system, known as a heavy current installation, and each electrical system has a custodian. Heavy current is defined as a voltage, current or frequency that may be hazardous for people or property. In a standard wall outlet, the voltage in Sweden and most other countries is 230 volts, which is more than enough to kill a human being. The electrical system includes all permanently installed electrical equipment such as distribution boxes, wiring, wall outlets and switches.
What makes an electrical system safe?
In simple terms, there are three fundamental things that make an electrical system safe:
- The system has been built according to up-to-date rules and by people with the right expertise. Only registered electrical installation companies are allowed to build, repair and update an electrical system.
- The system is being used in the way it was built and designed for. If you start using it differently, for example by plugging your new electric car into a standard outlet, the electrical system may need to be updated to stay safe.
- The system is regularly checked and maintained to keep it safe over time. Faults and deficiencies must be corrected, and damaged and worn parts must be repaired or replaced. You can use our checklist for checking electrical systems in homes.
Under the applicable laws and regulations, it is you, the custodian of the electrical system, who is responsible for ensuring that the system is safe. So it is important to find out as much as possible about your system. One way to do this is by asking an inspector or an electrical installation company to carry out an electrical inspection. An electrical inspection is not normally included in a standard housing inspection. An electrical inspection is particularly important if you are moving into a building with an old electrical system, or if it has been extended or renovated in phases.
If your electrical system is old
The electrical installations in an old building can date from the time of construction. Previous owners might also have installed illegal electrical installations. An electrical system with outdated or illegal electrical installations can be life-threatening for you and your family. Even if the outlets and switches look fine, you cannot be certain about the wiring in the walls. Old buildings were not designed to cope with the way electrical products are used today, and the wiring can potentially be overloaded.
Ask your electrical installation company to inspect your electrical system. That way, you will know what condition your system is in, and what renovation work is needed. This can save lives as well as money because aging electrical systems can pose a risk of fire and electric shock.