Tuesday, 24 June 2014

How an Electrical Safety Certificate can save you more than just money

With England now out of the World Cup, the National Grid can now relax after reports of potential power outages were publicised if England were to win the World Cup! Unfortunately luck was not on our side....maybe next time in Euro 2016!

Whilst we're on the subject of power outages, also known as power cuts or 'blackouts', when did you last have the wiring checked in your own property? Power cuts can happen in your own home from faults in your electrics. If you suffer from regular tripping or power cuts whilst your neighbours seem blissfully unaware, it is time to have some electrical testing carried out in your home.

Electrical testing which has an official name of an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) has to be undertaken by a qualified and registered electrician. As electricians in London, we work closely with home owners across South East London and beyond ensuring that an EICR is carried out in accordance to the recommendations.

Why you should have an EICR carried out

All properties whether owned or rented should have an up to date EICR carried out. It is better to have an EICR carried out before any electrical problems become apparent. This way, early detection of electrical problems ensures the cost to put it right will be the lowest possible. Unfortunately many home owners do not inform us of an electrical problem until it becomes a nuisance. By this time the cost to repair the damage caused is far higher.

Most importantly, a satisfactory EICR gives you peace of mind that the wiring and electrical fittings in your home are safe and there are no nasty surprises lurking in the depths waiting to make their appearance!

Would your home pass an EICR?

You might be aware that electrical fires are currently the biggest cause of house fire in the UK. In many cases, they could have been easily prevented. Electrical appliance misuse and dangerous wiring often in hidden spaces such as lofts and inside walls often cause these fires. An EICR would detect potential fire risks and at an average cost of £120k per house fire, save you a lot of money and heartache.

An EICR involves lengthy electrical installation testing in your home to detect electrical problems and also to advice on updates which will protect you and your family from electrical injury or worse. Here are a few basic pointers which will give you a good idea of the electrical safety level in your home:

  • Do you have an RCD?
One of the many things we look at when carrying out domestic electrical testing is the fuse board otherwise known as the consumer unit. If you have had a consumer unit upgrade in recent years, chances are you have RCD protection already which is great. Having a working RCD in your home is the best protection you can currently obtain from the dangers of electricity.

  • Do you have broken electrical fittings?
Sockets and switches which are broken are dangerous. Even an innocent looking hair line crack in a socket can leave you at risk of electrical shock. Sockets which are discoloured or have a 'shadow' where a plug has been are also a cause for concern.
  • Do you carry out DIY electrical work?
Here at Fulcher Edwards we see evidence of DIY electrical work on many properties. DIY electrical work can cause damage to internal wiring systems which can be costly to replace. Over time damaged wiring can become a fire risk and cause further deterioration to the home electrical system.

  • Have you had an EICR carried out before?
The current recommendations are for home owners to have an EICR carried out on their property at least once every 10 years. Cables can begin to break down and deteriorate after this time and if you have carried out additions to your electrics during this time then it is important to keep your EICRs up to date.

Increasing numbers of mortgage lenders now insist on an up to date EICR being carried out on a property prior to purchase. Having an up to date EICR certificate will enhance the sale value of your property.

Have an EICR carried out if......

  • You are a home owner and haven't had one done in the last 10 years
  • Suffer from nuisance tripping, flickering, buzzes or smells from your electrics
  • Planning on selling your property
  • Have carried out DIY or unregistered electrical work
  • Feel something is not right with your electrics but don't know what

An EICR is your only way of knowing how safe your home electrics really are, so don't delay in getting one carried out if you haven't already.

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

How Fulcher Edwards can help your industrial business

We talk a lot in our posts about how we help house holders with their electrics, but did you know that Fulcher Edwards are also industrial electrical contractors in London? We are just as at home working in industrial areas such as factories, warehouses and car plants as we are working in offices and our clients homes.

Our team of expert and highly experienced industrial electricians work in a variety of industrial areas carrying out electrical maintenance, commissioning and testing of new installations and ensuring the workplace remains not only electrically and fire safe but also safe from a Health and Safety aspect.

What do we do?

You'll normally find one of our industrial electricians busily carrying out testing, repairing or maintenance of machinery. It is one of the core reasons London businesses ask for our services. Fully operational machinery is integral to business success and here at Fulcher Edwards we are committed to keeping operational downtime to an absolute minimum. Of course we will talk to you, our client, in full detail about what to expect whilst we carry out electrical work on your behalf, and to this end we are happy to work at a time that suits you. This includes evenings, weekends and even overnight if required.

Expert advice from London's leading electrical contractors

At Fulcher Edwards, we go much further than simply carrying out industrial electrical work. We work with our clients designing and installing electrical installations that not only save money on energy costs and maintenance but also work to promote employee comfort and essentially Health and Safety. One of the key projects we worked upon recently was in a printing factory replacing the outdated flickering 'tube' lighting. The main requirement during the factory refurbishment project was to find a lighting solution to overcome the outdated florescent tubes which were distorting the movement of machinery. The flickering of the lights made dangerous components of the printing press appear as if they were moving, when in fact they were still. (There were no ghosts involved!!)

The new lighting also produced dramatic energy savings and far improved performance.

How to find a good industrial electrician

We often get asked the question what is the difference between an electrician who works in peoples homes to one that works in office or factory settings. The rough answer is quite a bit! It is very important that when you hire an industrial electrician that they have experience working in an industrial environment. Unfortunately we have seen evidence on industrial jobs of domestic electricians attempting industrial work which they have no experience of. For example, we often come across PAT testing stickers on industrial machinery. PAT testing is for small electrical appliances. Industrial machinery cannot be tested properly using PAT testing equipment.

If you are looking for an industrial electrician in London, always satisfy yourself that they either specialise in industrial electrical work or they have sufficient experience to undertake the work.

Industrial electrical work advice

If you have an industrial electrical project coming up, and you'd like some advice, please do give us a call. We are always happy to discuss your best and most cost effective options.

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Electrical Safety Matters – focus on extension leads

Many of us like to think we are electrically safe in our homes, however it can come as a shock to realise that there are many hidden dangers and electrical mistakes that can be easily made that may leave you at risk of electrical shock or injury.

Common electrical mistakes

We see electrical errors being made on a daily basis here at Fulcher Edwards. We carry out electrical work in homes in and around London and the types of electrical dangers we come across range from the downright ridiculous to an easily made mistake.

With electrical fires being the biggest reason for fire brigade call outs, it is important to ensure you have the basics of electrical safety ticked off as being safe in your home.

Overloading of extension leads

The overloading of extension leads is perhaps the most common of all electrical mistakes made at home. Commonly we find that extension leads are unknowingly overloaded by plugging in too many high powered appliances into one extension lead. An example of this is a washing machine. Recently we went to a home where the householder was using an extension lead to power a washing machine. The householder didn't realise it was possible to overload an extension lead and was at serious risk of electrical shock or injury.

This is because the extension lead was rated at less than 10Amps which meant it became overloaded when only the washing machine was plugged into it. Upon further inspection, the plug was fitted with a 13A fuse which we were told had been purchased like that from a well known grocery outlet. This situation is not uncommon. We are all too aware of extension leads being fitted with the incorrect fuse.

Using the extension lead in this way left the householder at serious risk of electrical shock or fire. Luckily neither happened as we were able to advise in time.

There is a simple solution to this problem – the best solution is to have additional sockets fitted. This must be done by a qualified and registered electrician such as an electrician in South East London. We highly recommend that kitchen appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers, kettles and toasters have their own individual socket to avoid overloading extension leads.

Using extension leads safely

  • If you do use extension leads, try to keep their use to a minimum. Before using, ensure you know the Amp rating. This should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead or failing that, the manufacturers instructions.

  • Do not exceed the Amp rating. Appliances such as TV's, sky-boxes, games consoles and telephones would not normally exceed the Amp rating, however, do not assume that you can plug any combination of items into an extension lead. Hair-dryers for example, use up to 10Amp of power and should not be plugged in with anything else.

  • The safest type of extension lead is a bar adapter. Plug adapters put additional strain on the socket leading to increased risk of overheating and electrical fire.

  • Check extension leads regularly for signs of damage and stop using immediately if you suspect overheating or feel something is not right.

Dangerous uses of extension leads we have come across

We have seen very dangerous uses of extension leads in the past including these. If you use extension leads in this way, you are in serious danger of electrical shock.

  • Plugging extension leads into other extension leads

This is also known as 'daisy chaining' where householders attempt to obtain more electrical sockets by plugging extension leads into one another. This is extremely dangerous and is likely to lead to an electrical fire or worse. Remember that there is only one plug socket providing the power to the extension lead. Overloading the plug outlet is very dangerous and many house fires are caused by overloading sockets. One of the worst instances of this we have seen is where the householder was using power tools in multiple extension leads when carrying out DIY work in his garage. Luckily, no one was injured!

  • Using plugs incorrectly

Another disturbing incident we came across recently was the use of a standard UK plug earth (the top part) being inserted into the top of the plug sockets on the extension lead and non-UK 2 pin plug appliances being used in the socket outlets.

Always use UK appliances in extension leads, or at least use an electrical adapter. We recommend using only UK appliances particularly in extension leads to improve your electrical safety.

Installing additional sockets

As electrical contractors in London, we install additional sockets and provide electrical safety advice to householders across London. We also carry out electrical testing in London for home owners and landlords who suspect electrical problems with any aspect of their property electrical installations.