AB Electrical has comprised a comprehensive guide on VIR cables in Sydney. From understanding the material and its properties to the risks and precautions associated with this type of electrical cable, we cover it all.
What is Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) Cable?
Vulcanised Indian Rubber (VIR) Cable is an older type of electrical cable commonly used in Sydney homes between 1880 and 1910. Composed of a tin conductor covered in a rubber insulation layer, VIR cables were prevalent before the advent of PVC sheathed wires. These cables are subject to becoming brittle and can pose a risk of electrical fires and electrocution. If you suspect your Sydney home might have VIR cables, contacting a licensed electrician like AB Electrical for inspection is crucial.
Vulcanised Indian Rubber Cables and Its Properties
The insulation in VIR cables is made from vulcanised Indian rubber, a material produced when rubber is mixed with sulphur and heated. This rubber coating was intended to insulate live conductors and reduce the risk of electric shocks. However, the rubber can become brittle over time, exposing live electrical wires and increasing the risk of electrical hazards. Unlike modern electrical cables with PVC or the name of XLPE insulation, VIR cables are less robust and can’t handle high voltage. They also lack an earth wire, which is critical for electrical safety. Therefore, these cables need to be inspected and replaced with modern electrical systems for consistent power flow and circuit breaker protection.
Electrical Services for VIR Cables in Sydney
If you suspect the presence of VIR cables in your home, electrical services specialising in this area are crucial. AB Electrical can assess the state of your existing VIR wiring system, offering solutions to mitigate the risk of fire and electric shocks.
Rewiring Sydney Homes with VIR Cables
The best way to eliminate the risks associated with old VIR cables is to rewire your home. Modern electrical cables that meet current safety regulations are the way to go.
What Does Rewiring Involve?
Rewiring means replacing all existing VIR cables with modern alternatives. These could be PVC or XLPE insulated cables.
Why Choose Modern Cables?
Modern cables can handle higher voltage levels and are less prone to wear and tear. They also come with an earth wire for added safety.
Solve Multiple Issues
Rewiring is a comprehensive solution to several problems. These include inconsistent power flow, frequent electrical faults, and inadequate circuit breaker protection.
Consult a Licensed Level 2 Electrician
If your Sydney home has VIR cables, make sure to contact a licensed electrician like AB Electrical. We can assess the specific needs of your home’s electrical system.
Dangers of VIR Cables
VIR cables were commonly used in the past, but they come with significant safety hazards that homeowners should be aware of. These include:
- Outdated Technology: VIR cables, once a standard choice for electrical installations, are now considered antiquated and hazardous.
- Fire Hazards: One of the chief concerns with VIR cables is their propensity to start electrical fires. As the rubber insulation ages, it can crack, exposing live wires that could ignite.
- Exposed Wires, Exposed Risks: When these wires are uncovered, the risk of a spark causing a fire rises dramatically. This puts both your property and your loved ones in potential danger.
- Shock Hazards: In addition to fire risks, worn-out VIR cables also expose you to the possibility of electrical shocks, which could lead to serious injury.
- Unstable Electrical Supply: Homes with VIR cables often experience irregular power supply, which could disrupt daily activities and even damage modern electronic devices.
- Breaker Troubles: Another common symptom of outdated VIR cabling is frequent and unexplained tripping of the circuit breaker. This is usually an indication that the wiring is unable to cope with current electrical demands.
If you find yourself experiencing these electrical problems, it’s crucial to consult a licensed electrician to assess your home’s wiring system immediately.
Rubber Insulation in Electrical Cables
In VIR cables, the conductor is usually tinned, and rubber is mixed with sulphur to form the insulation. While this type of insulation was revolutionary when first introduced, it has several drawbacks compared to modern insulating materials. The rubber can become brittle and break away, particularly when exposed to high temperatures or moisture. This breakdown of the rubber insulation places live conductors at risk of exposure, increasing the chance of electric shocks or fires. Modern electrical cables use alternative insulations like PVC or XLPE, which are not only more robust but also can handle higher voltages, ensuring a safer and more reliable electrical system.
Frequently Asked Questions about VIR Cables
What is the history of VIR cables?
VIR cables were commonly used between 1880 and 1910 in many buildings and other structures, including Sydney homes. The technology was considered cutting-edge at the time, but it’s now outdated.
What are the alternatives to VIR cables?
Modern cables with different types of electrical cables, such as those with PVC or the name of XLPE insulation, are now used in electrical installations across Sydney and offer a safer, more efficient solution for your property.
How can I know if my home has VIR cables?
You may need an electrician to come and inspect your home’s electrical system, specifically the thickness of the rubber on your existing cables. They can usually be found in roof cavities and walls.
What should I do if I find damaged cables in my home?
If you encounter damaged cables that seem brittle, have inconsistent power flow, or expose live conductors, it’s crucial to avoid any potential hazard by contacting a licensed electrician. They can assess your electrical work situation and recommend whether your home needs to be rewired with modern cables to reduce the risk of electrical faults, electrocution, and electrical fires.
Can VIR cables handle modern electrical appliances?
No, VIR cables were designed for much lower capacity and could only handle basic electrical appliances. The modern household’s electrical demand far exceeds what VIR cables can safely support, making them unsuitable for current electrical needs.
How can I get VIR cables replaced?
To get VIR cables replaced, please contact us for electrical services in Sydney. Our experienced level 2 electricians can offer a complete service upgrade, ensuring you have a clean and tidy installation that meets today’s electrical safety standards.
By addressing these frequently asked questions, we hope to give homeowners and workplace professionals the information they need to make informed decisions about the electrical safety of their properties.