Tuesday, 28 January 2014
Many homes around the UK have been affected by the recent poor weather conditions which seem to be showing no signs of going away any time soon. At the start of 2014, it was estimated that half the country was underwater and some communities in Somerset are still only accessible by boat.
Electricians in South East London
At Fulcher Edwards we have been carrying out electrical work in London that has mainly involved changing consumer units that have been water damaged and testing electrical installations for safety before they're switched on. It is a dreadful situation for householders to face and we are committed to helping home owners, landlords and business owners across London to get back to normal as quickly as possible.
It is a worrying situation but worse still, there is further flooding expected as rain continues. If you have been unlucky enough to have been affected by floods, it is important to ensure your home is not only free of water before you return to it, but also that the utilities are safe to use. Many electrical systems, gas pipes and other utility supplies have been dangerously affected by water and unfortunately are dangerous to use.
Check for danger first
Keen to get back to normal, understandably householders are not thinking about checking for water damage before switching on light switches, plugging in appliances such as vacuum cleaners and generally attempting to get back to normal.
Check your fuse box
Before you begin cleaning up after being flooded, you need to ensure your electrical installation is safe. It is all too easy to switch on a light or boil the kettle without thinking about it, so make checking your fuse box the first thing you do when you return to your home.
Checking your fuse box safely
Switch off the electrical supply at the fuse box. You may need a torch to do this in poor light. You need to find the big red switch and switch it into the 'off position'.
You will now be able to inspect your fuse box safely. Use a torch to visually check your fusebox for water damage – look for evidence of water inside the fuse box or signs of arcing or overheating where water may have been.
If you spot any of these signs or you're just not 100% certain, call a qualified and registered electrician such as an NICEIC electrician in London to take a look before switching it back on. Never take a chance on electrical safety – always be 100% sure it is safe to switch your electricity back on before doing so.
What an electrician will do to help
An electrician will not only check your fuse box but also other aspects of your electrical installation in your home such as the wiring and sockets. This is known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR.) The report will highlight areas which need attention. If there is only minor damage from flooding, the wiring might just need to be dried out and switches, plugs and sockets replaced.
For more serious damage, the worst affected parts of your home may need to be rewired. If this is the case it will be well worth asking the electrical contractor if they can raise the height of the fuse box and sockets to above water level to prevent electrical flood damage in the future.
Check electrical appliances for damage
Large appliances affected by water will need to be replaced. The safest way of ascertaining appliance safety is to have them PAT tested. PAT testing is more than just appliances though. You also need to ascertain the electrical safety of items such as electric cookers, boilers and storage heaters. It is worth keeping portable appliances out of the reach of potential flood water if possible.
Cleaning flood water before an electrician checks your electrics
If you are attempting to clear flood water before it is practical to have your home electrics checked, take extra care when cleaning around electrics. Never touch any exposed wiring as it may be live and only clear up if it is safe to do so.
Remember to take photographs of the flood water and the damage caused for insurance purposes.
Only ever use genuine qualified and registered electrical contractors in London to carry out electrical work in your home. Unregistered electricians prey on householders affected by the floods so don't forget to check their credentials before you allow an electrician to work in your home.
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
Tricky isn't it?
With so many directories and registers available to find a trades person to work in your home, it is little wonder that it very quickly becomes a stab in the dark when it comes to searching for an electrical contractor in London.
With mass media coverage at present on the dangers of unregistered electricians and 'cowboy' tradespeople, it is understandable that people are struggling to know who to trust to carry out work in their homes.
We decided to put together some hints and tips on the best places to start to look for a reputable electrician – that is one who is registered and qualified. Whether you are looking for an NICEIC electrician in London or are looking for more general electrical services, then our handy guide will help you to narrow down your search for a good electrician.
Where to begin
Many people start by asking people they trust the most in their lives – friends and family. This is a brilliant way of seeking recommendation for an electrician. In fact, the majority of electricians get the majority of their work through recommendation. However before you use the electrician be sure to check their registration and qualifications. It will also be worth asking to see other examples of work done for other people or their portfolio.
Tip: Always be certain that your electrician is able to do the job you need doing. Friends and family recommendations are always well meaning, be sure that the electrician is too.
- Trustmark – Government Endorsed Standards
Here at Fulcher Edwards, we are proud to be Trustmark registered electricians. This means that we comply to Trustmark's Government endorsed standards. To be accepted onto Trustmark, electricians and other trades people have to work to a consistently high standard and be assessed against these standards.
In 2013, 14,567 licensed trades people across 32 trades joined Trustmark. It is an extra re-assurance of quality which is held optionally in addition to standard registration that all electricians need to have.
Tip: Search for a local Trustmark approved electrician in your local area by entering your full postcode and select 'electricians' from the trade drop down box.
- On-line recommendation services
There are many on line recommendation services for trades people out there, you may have heard them being advertised on the radio or television. Such services include checkatrade.com, ratedpeople and trustatrader. We would advise using these services with caution as electricians have been known to 'fiddle' recommendations from their own family and friends. However saying all of that, using an on line recommendation service is a far better alternative than picking up a phone directory and searching at random.
The electricians listed on recommendation sites do have to pay to be on there, and you do have the option to read feedback on the trades person before getting in touch. The other advantage is that you can obtain an idea of price before the trades person visits your home by requesting a price on-line.
Tip: Do not take what these sites say as 'gospel truth'. Remember that the electricians on there are effectively customers of the site and they do not carry any kind of endorsement.
Three golden rules to follow before hiring a trades person
- Obtain 3 written quotes
Don't just settle for 1 price even if you think it sounds good and you're desperate for the work to begin. Ask 3 different electricians for a quote and always check what you are getting for the price. Remember many cheap quotes will not include the cost of materials or certification, and by the time these have been added to the overall cost, it becomes more expensive. Always be certain the electrician has visited your home to view the job before accepting the quote.
- Ensure the work carries a guarantee
If your electrician is registered then the work will carry a lengthy guarantee of at least 12 months. This means that should a problem develop after the work has been fitted then it will be rectified free of charge.
- Do not pay upfront for work
You can agree 'staged payments' with electricians where payment is made as the job progresses, however, ideally payment does not need to be made until the job is finished to your satisfaction.
Using these starting points will help to narrow down the hundreds of electricians who work in your area. It will go some way to identifying who seems to be reputable.
However always check qualifications and registration as well as following the three golden rules above to ensure you are hiring a great electrician.
Tuesday, 7 January 2014
With Christmas and the New Year well and truly behind us, life is returning back to normal. Many people have with renewed goals on living a better life in 2014. One of the most popular New Year resolutions aside from eating a better diet and getting fit is to do up the home.
Of course it is not possible to do up an entire home without using some outside help from qualified tradespeople and using an electrical contractor in London for your home electrics is an absolute must. When looking for a domestic electrician in London, ensure they are qualified and registered electricians.
Don't assume that just because someone has told you that they're an electrician that they really are!
It sounds awful to say but you mustn’t make the common error of taking what people say at face value. Just because they have an advert in the local paper saying they're an electrician or they drive around in a van with the NICEIC logo on it, it doesn't mean for certain that is the case.
Always check credentials
Are they really an niceic electrician in London?
Before proceeding with any work in your home always ask to see your electricians qualifications – in particular check when they qualified as this will give you some idea of their level of experience.
Equally as importantly, ensure they are registered with an electrical registration scheme such as the NICEIC, NAPIT or ELECSA. You can search on the electrical safety register or the electric safe register or contact the registration schemes directly – you will find all the information easily on the internet. Always check the registration number given to you by the electrician is still valid.
Why are we telling you this?
Last month the Electrical Safety Council said there were 20,000 unregistered electricians working in peoples homes. In many cases house holders have unwittingly used someone whom they believed was a bona-fide electrician. Unregistered electricians can come in many guises so it is important to know what to be aware of so you don't end up being caught out.
- Use an electrician based solely on someone else’s recommendation. They may have done a great job elsewhere but have they really? Electrical accidents account for over 50% of house fires and one person dies every week as a result of an electrical accident. Always check qualifications and registration to ensure the job is carried out safely
- Agree to use someone as they know a bit about electrics. Well meaning friends and people willing to help out may seem like a good turn at the time. Never compromise your property or your family for a cheap job. You get what you pay for, never take the risk. What can seem like a simple job can quickly turn into a nightmare with the cost
- Allow other tradespeople to choose an electrician for you. If a tradesman claims to be a 'one stop shop' and can do every trade then this should be a concern. Equally if a trades person offers to get their own men in to do certain aspects such as electrics, do not automatically accept. As a householder you should have freedom of choice over who works in your home – always carry out your checks first. A third of electricians have seen an increase in dangerous or sub-standard work carried out by one stop tradespeople and unregistered electricians carrying out work for them.
Opting for a cheap trades person is never the right answer. Remember your safety depends on the person doing the work. A genuine electrician will always be happy to show you qualifications and registration details.