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House detectives... Moved in to an old house 6 months ago, discovering strange things!!

(11 Posts)
anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 22-Jun-16 07:43:45

We have bought a house that dates from 1750 and has been remodelled and partially renovated over the years.

We are currently changing the bathroom and wiring up lights. Yesterday after the plumbers / electricians had gone, we could hear water in the pipes. Searched the house for taps left on, sounds of running water elsewhere but found nothing. Turned off the water for fear of finding a torrent of water somewhere (there was a lot of water moving in the pipes!).

Switched it back on when the children went to bed to search again and found a sprinkler system in the garden complete with underground pump. Switched off all of the circuit breakers in turn but couldn't find how to turn the pump off. Found a control panel, which was unplugged and switch that we have unwired to no effect. Managed to find the tap to shut off the water to the sprinkler. Am now seriously worried about the underground pump and the rest of the wiring!! All we did was wire in a light which cannot explain why the sprinkler system came on!!

Previous owners who lives here for three years know nothing about it!

supersoftcuddlytoys Wed 22-Jun-16 08:06:31

Water in pipes isn't usually audible. How do you mean you could hear it? Aren't the pipes under floor, in walls anyway?

Woopsiedaisy Wed 22-Jun-16 08:26:48

I have a house of the same age and had a similar situation.

One of the previous owners had wired in a pond pump with a very elaborate wiring scheme laid under the garden. The problem was that they had used housing grade (rather than external) cable and had terminated it in the pump which was laying at the foot of the pond.

It took me ages to work out where the electricity source came from but I finally discovered a cable poking through a hole drilled in the outside wall and connected to the back of a wall plug in my living room.

The Electricians language was ripe in relation to the risk posed by anyone touching that little layout and he took great pleasure in ripping it out wherever accessible.

You may need to look for similar bodged wiring (there was no independent trip switch for mine because it was wired into the back of an ordinary internal socket) and get an Electrician to check it / make it safe.

mateysmum Wed 22-Jun-16 08:46:24

I agree, there must be a secret connection somewhere and you disturbed the garden elves who are now taking revenge! Seriously thought, there must be a trail back to a power outlet or a separate fuse box. We have a small one in the garage that controls the garage electric plus the outside sockets and the unused fountain pump.
If you're sure it's the sprinkler but can't find the power source, try switching off the power and then the water completely. If that doesn't work, is next door's power/water bill rather higher than they'd hoped??

MyLlamasGoneBananas Wed 22-Jun-16 11:17:51

We have something similarly odd too. Moved here just before Xmas.

Whilst digging my raised borders i the garden I kept finding a black cable. Eventually DH took a look and we found built in sunken lights on the inside wall of the raised borders. They face towards the back wall - they are built into the front wall of the borders but facing the borders. I can only imagine that they are supposed to illuminate what ever is growing in the borders. The wiring also seems to lead to a broken water feature which we know about. There is a tinyhole in the back of the house where someone has just cut the wires off - it looks like the same cable runnig through the borders.

We also had to lift a few planks of decking to make repairs. More cut off black cable leading to unworking outside lights.

No idea where the cable in the wall goes. It dissapears totally.

We also have double switchs in the kitchen and dining room. No matter which combination with flick the switches we can only have lights on or off in both rooms. Weirdly its not always the same switch to switch on and off. DH works with electrics but not a qualified electrician is completely baffled. We have his brother who is an electrician coming up to stay with us soon to try and resolve it and take a look (and probably condemn our electrics too). He has advised all sorts over the phone but nothing has worked or shed any light on the electrical issues he is baffled and intrigued to come and see what the hell the bodge it previous owners have done.

anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 22-Jun-16 12:18:58

Supersoft The pipes leading from the main stock cock to switch off the house water supply are in the under stairs cupboard and believe me, they are uncovered and audible!

We have found the tap to stop the water supply to the sprinklers, still searching for power source....

The house is in France and quite frankly, the electrics are terrifying and there is barely a lagged pipe in the house!!! Despite EU regulations, standards are not the same across Europe!!!

anotherdayanothersquabble Wed 22-Jun-16 12:22:17

We also have what can only have been wiring for garden lights, concrete slabs at regular intervals down the garden which when lifted reveal a bundle of wires. Finding out where they are wired to hasn't reached the top of the priority list as yet though I am glad I found them before ploughing through with my petrol driven tiller!!!

AlfrescoBalconyWanker Wed 22-Jun-16 12:52:55

We had a switch in the kitchen that didn't seem to do anything. Months after we moved in, DH happened to flick it as I was sitting in the living room - two rooms away. And the light in the living room went off. Why?

Draylon Wed 22-Jun-16 13:44:29

My house is only 18 years old, estate stylee. Many rooms have, alongside a electrical socket plate, a similarly sized 'blank' plate. Unscrewing it reveals a curl of white covered wire, in each case. The odd corner of carpet, when lifted, reveals said cable tacked along skirting boards, disappearing under the skirting, and so on.

A built in wire tap??!

A neighbour who's been here since the estate was built came up with the best answer; the house was used as the sales office during this release, so it was probably an intercom system!

What we can't understand, though, is several places with strips of badly patched plaster like where something heavy was attached to the wall, but was pulled off or removed..?

Qwebec Wed 22-Jun-16 13:46:57

Alfesco: it's a way to signal to reluctant teenagers that supper is ready.

Palomb Thu 23-Jun-16 18:23:31

I love things like this. My house has its very own air raid siren but thankfully the vendors told us about it before we moved in. It works by pulling a cord on either the kitchen or the bedroom.

We haven't mentioned it to the kids 😂

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