Wednesday, 19 December 2012

How to Save Money This Christmas

Saving money and Christmas don't go exactly hand in hand with each other.

However, Christmas doesn't have to be a huge big spending frenzy and it is possible to save money particularly on your energy bill this Christmas.

Fulcher Edwards electricians show you how you can save money on electricity and other energy in your home without going without – and your guests will never even know!

Don't get us wrong, we're the first in the queue for Christmas fun and parties and after a year of working hard helping our lovely customers with their electrical needs, we certainly know how to enjoy Christmas.

Here we have some handy tips on how to save energy in your home this Christmas – oh and we might even have some handy present tips for those last minute stocking fillers – ho ho ho!

Most of us have a houseful of guests at some point over the festive season – so our tips show you how to take advantage of the extra heat created by cooking simply by using the free body heat generated by your guests!

Tip 1: We say this often because it really is an easy low cost way to save a packet on your electricity bill. If you don't already have energy saving light bulbs in your home, you're missing a trick! Energy saving light bulbs are no longer bulky spirals and come in a whole range of sizes including the same shape as a regular incandescent light bulb. If you are thinking of adding a few festive lights outside, perhaps to light the way to your front door, you will be pleased to know that there is a growing range of solar powered Christmas lights which will cost you nothing to run and can charge up even in the smallest amount of sunlight we get at this time of year.

Tip 2: If you are buying electrical appliances and gadgets for loved ones this Christmas, did you know that many are now Energy A rated? Look out for the label on electrical items which show you how energy efficient they are. You need to be looking for Energy A as a minimum (there are also now A+ A++ and even A+++) this will mean that not only is the electrical item energy efficient it will also cost less to run.

Tip 3: Looking for a great idea for stocking fillers? The shops are filled with tacky presents which will either get lost or broken in no time, so why not give a Eco gift – its something different and will save money! How about buying Eco versions of hair dryers, coffee machines and kettles? Who wouldn't love a gift like that which is not costing them a small fortune every time they plug them in! There are also solar versions of mobile phone and laptop chargers, garden lights, toys and radios which require only the sun to power them – we also came across a brilliant watch that is powered by solar alone – no more dead batteries and over sleeping! For camping and outdoor enthusiasts we have discovered wind up torches and radios as well as water powered digital clocks. For techie types how about an instant sleep button for a PC and peripherals or an energy meter that tells them how much energy they use in their home?

Tip 4: With all the extra guests you may well have over Christmas, its a great time to turn your central heating down a couple of degrees. No one will notice – the heat from the cooking the turkey as well as the additional body heat will more than compensate for the heat reduction. You will certainly notice the difference on your energy bill though in the New Year!

Tip 5: For the eco conscious amongst us, there are other ways of saving energy when cooking the all important Christmas dinner. Turn off the ring before your vegetables have finished cooking. The heat from the water and the steam if the pan is covered will keep the vegetables hot for some time and is a great way of finishing them off completely free! Steaming is also a great way of healthy cooking and it uses less water and keeps the essential vitamins and nutrients within the food.

We hope these energy tips come in handy and we wish all our customers old and new a Very Merry Christmas and Prosperous New Year!


Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Will You Be Making Your Own Winter Wonderland?

Most of us are happy to settle for a select range of fairy lights in our homes – but for one person, putting up the Christmas lighting is a whole other story!

For Alex Goodhind putting his festive lights up involved taking 5 weeks off work and hiring a team of professional electricians. This is no ordinary display though, this is a true wonder wonderland with snow machines and in excess of 100,000 lights.

Barely recognisable as a family home, the house is completely covered in fairy lights and on appearance looks more like a fairy castle complete with light up turrets!

Outside the garden is packed with characters from the nativity, Christmas stars and Santas. It is every childs dream to see such an action packed display all for a donation for charity.

This is the reason Alex puts on this display year on year to raise money for the charity who cared for his dying Mother. Known as Festive Fantasy World, visitors come by the coach load to view the display.

Alex has been collecting lights for 15 years and each year adds new pieces to his collection. Festive Fantasy World requires so much power that an electrical upgrade is required to cope with the electrical demands of the display.

There has, in recent years, been increasing interest in collecting money for charity in return for viewing lavish Christmas light displays. It is a lovely idea and raises much needed funds for charities close to peoples hearts. Many streets are now springing up where the residents 'team' together with each house offering its own unique festive light displays.

Of course, it will take some beating to rival Alex Goodhind's display, however any household who is thinking of taking part in a festive display should consult a qualified, registered electrician beforehand particularly if a particularly lavish display is planned which involves the use of more lighting than you normally use.

In the majority of cases, it will be fine to use the Christmas lighting of your choosing as modern Christmas lighting uses very little electricity. It is always better to check, and if you have any doubt over the safety of your festive lighting, then do not use it. Festive lighting is a potential fire hazard if it places too much demand on your electricity system. Always ensure that you follow the manufacturers instructions for all electrical Christmas lighting and ensure that outdoor lighting is suitable for use outdoors. Also ensure that waterproof sockets are used outdoors and keep the use of extension leads to a minimum.

The festive season is a season of goodwill and giving and from us of us here at Fulcher Edwards Electricians we wish you the best of luck with all charitable festive lighting displays this year. Remember we are here to help if you need us.

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Essential Electrical Safety Tips for Christmas

We're well and truly in the festive spirit here at Fulcher Edwards. As thoughts are now turning to decking our 'halls' with an array of decorations and lighting effects (and maybe some boughs of holly!) we are receiving many calls of help to help source and repair electrical problems in Londoners homes and businesses.

We get a lot of calls in the run up to Christmas. We also find that in many of these cases, Christmas lighting has been installed incorrectly – with too much reliance on extension leads or adapters plugged into adapters.

Of course Christmas doesn't need to turn into an electrical nightmare, and don't forget all that electricity requires is a common sense approach. We thought we'd share with you some essential electrical safety tips to keep you and your family or business safe over the festive season.

1) Always purchase Christmas lights from reputable sources. We hear of many Christmas lights being sold second hand on nearly new websites and car boot sales. Buying second hand means you don't know if the item is safe to use or even if it works or not. Christmas lights don't need to cost a fortune but they do need to meet minimum electrical safety standards.

2) Use an RCD – if your home does not have an RCD installed already, it makes sense to use an RCD plug for your Christmas lights. It will immediately cut the electrical supply if there is a problem with the lights. If you are installing lights outside, ensure that they are suitable for outdoor use- the products will tell you whether they're suitable for outdoor use or not. Don't ever be tempted to use extension leads designed for indoor use outside. All electrical outdoor lighting should be connected to an outdoor socket.

3) If you need additional sockets either indoor or outdoor in your London home, consult a Part P registered London electrician who will be happy to help. Don't try to do this work yourself. There are more fires this time of year due to unsafe Christmas lighting than at any other time of year.

4) Always follow the manufacturers instructions on how to use the electrical lighting safely.

5) Think about where you are going to install your lighting – keep out of the reach of children – particularly electrical sockets and lighting on trees. A curious toddler will like nothing more than tipping your Christmas tree over to study the lights! Similarly ensure that other lights are situated out of the way of pathways, swimming pools, and ponds.

6) Select Christmas lighting with low voltage bulbs. Most modern Christmas lights are low voltage which means they won't heat up with continued usage. There have been many fires associated with old fashioned bulbs which have heated up and caught fire to Christmas trees. If you own a set of old fashioned bulbs, now is the time to replace them!

And finally, before you go the effort of hanging your lights, do make sure they work first and take care on any ladders you may have to climb!