All new caravans and motorhomes in the United Kingdom come complete with an electrical certificate. This is a guarantee from the caravan manufacturer that the electrical systems inside the vehicle, including both the 230 volt and 12 volt, are safe to use and in excellent condition. Safe to use means safe from the risk of electric shock, fire and burns. However, caravan manufacturers know that over time the electrical wiring and associated equipment is likely to deteriorate due to wear and tear, damage, environmental effects and corrosion.
Deterioration of the electrical wiring, including damage and misuse, can lead to appliances not working properly. In more serious cases this can seriously reduce the safety of the electrical installation. As a result, manufacturers of caravans and motorhomes recommend that customers have a regular safety check carried out on the electrical wiring, including all accessories (such as sockets, switches, and lights); usually between one and 3 years from new. This safety check is not compulsory, but it makes sense to have one. Caravan owners should take a look at the electrical certificate, and to consider whether the electrical installation is due a safety check.
The electrical safety check, or more accurately the Periodic Inspection and Test, is not part of the normal service carried out on a caravan or motorhome; so it is a good idea for caravan owners to seek the advice of their caravan service engineer, who will be able to provide information on what the electrical safety check includes.
Normally, a Periodic Inspection and Test of the wiring involves the removal of all accessories (such as sockets), so that all connections can be thoroughly examined, and where necessary, tightened. During the inspection part of the check all electrical components of the wiring are inspected for damage, and to ensure that the wiring and all associated parts are safe for continued use. The testing process involves the wiring and accessories undergoing several, and rigorous, electrical tests to prove safety for continued service.
Following the inspection and test caravan owners receive an Electrical Installation Condition Report. This is a report on the condition of the vehicles wiring and accessories; and includes recommendations for improving the safety of the equipment. The work has to be undertaken by a service engineer who has received specialist training and qualification of competency in the electrical mains systems of caravans.
The National Caravan Council is promoting Electrical Installation Condition Reports to ensure safety in the leisure industry. In addition the Institute of Engineering and Technology recommends that the maximum period between inspection and testing for caravans should not exceed three years. The frequency will depend on the wiring installation condition, external influences such as damp, and how often the caravan is used.
So should you have an Electrical Installation Condition Report carried out on your caravan? The answer should be ‘Yes’. It will help to preserve your most important asset, that is, your family. Personal safety has to be the most important consideration. Having the periodic inspection will also help to maintain the value of your caravan and should make it a more attractive purchase should you wish to sell it at any point in the future.