Thursday, 23 October 2014
Electrical DIY remains a big danger in the UK with electricity killing 1 person every week and injuring 1000's others. Many people die needlessly by taking dangerous risks with electricity which could have been dealt with safely by a qualified and registered electrician.
What is electrical DIY?
Electrical DIY by it's very name can mean anything from changing a socket to bigger, riskier jobs such as rewiring parts of your home. Most electrical work in your home is subject to Part P regulations which means that it is illegal to carry out work in your home without being Part P registered.
As a general rule, you can carry out basic electrical jobs like changing your plug sockets for like for like, however if you are considering electrical work in your home, we recommend that you do not attempt the work yourself. Here at Fulcher Edwards we see every week the problems that DIY work cause. Even a simple job can cause damage to the wiring within your home which would lead to expensive repair work and this alone could become more costly than a qualified and registered electrician doing the job in the first place.
The dangers of DIY
DIY electrical work worries us for several reasons. Firstly it's the safety aspect. Many people assume that just because the lights are working that everything must be ok. In many cases this is not the case. Electrical fire is currently the biggest cause of house fires in the UK, and in many cases it is bad electrics that are the cause. DIY electrical work is often blamed for these fires because of the way the fires begin.
A common cause of electrical fire is the overheating of cable where the wrong sized cable has been used. Cable has also been positioned incorrectly and the heat from it can cause fire in lofts, joists and inside walls.
The other concern is the lack of testing that takes place beforehand. Work carried out by an electrician is tested to ensure it is safe before it is switched on. There is no way of knowing if DIY electrical work is safe. DIY or bad electrical work doesn't always kill you instantly either. It can be a number of years before the result of bad electrics catches up with you, and the fact of the matter is you don't know when that will be.
Are you worried about DIY electrical work you have done?
The first thing to know is you are not alone and we won't preach to you about how dangerous it is! As electricians in South East London we rectify DIY jobs on a daily basis and ensure your property is left electrically safe.
Of course it can be difficult to know exactly what you have done electrically over the years, so a good starting point is for a qualified and registered London electrician to come and carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any areas in your home which are an electrical risk.
As a householder, you will then be making an informed decision about repairing DIY electrical work.
If you get into difficulty with DIY work
Stop working immediately and contact a qualified and registered electrician. It is better to do this sooner rather than later as electrical damage can be costly to repair if it is badly damaged. Never attempt to make 'bodge' repairs just to get the lights back on. This will leave you and your family at risk of electrical fire, injury or worse.
An electrician will inspect the work, and carry out the necessary remedial works to ensure your home is electrically safe.
Tuesday, 7 October 2014
Many household electrical appliances have the potential to cause serious burns and with the nights (not to mention days) suddenly having turned chillier, householders are now reaching for additional sources of heat.
Electrical items such as fan heaters, electric heaters of all types, not to mention the usual suspects like irons, kettles and hair straighteners all have the potential to cause serious burns. It is bad enough receiving a burn as an adult but children suffer the worst from burns due to their skin being a lot thinner than that of an adult. In fact, hair straighter misuse accounts for one tenth of overall child related burns in the UK.
The dangers that are present
Heated electrical appliances present a particular risk to children as they can often be mistaken as toys. The bright colours of hair straighteners, the moving components of electric heaters, pull cords and long cables all present a problem. A Childs fingers can become stuck in the grills of electric heaters causing severe burns and all this can happen even if you are watching your children. All parents will know where we're coming from on this!
Burn hazards spotted this week by Fulcher Edwards
Over the past week we have spotted several 'burning problems' in households where we've been carrying out electrical work.
- Open fires left without any form of fire guard with a young child running about.
- We were PAT testing in a room which had several electric fires. Although the fires were electrically safe, they had been left plugged in and a child could easily have switched them on and burnt themselves as a result.
- An iron left to cool down unattended in a kitchen. A child could have easily grabbed the cord or switched it back on.
- Hair straighteners left switched on accidentally whilst the householder was out at work.
Top Tips for staying burn free this Winter
As electricians in London we have unfortunately seen many instances over the years where electrical accidents and burns could have been easily avoided. It takes seconds for a nasty electrical burn to occur and years sometimes to try and sort it out afterwards.
- One of the easiest ways to keep electrical appliances safer is to switch off and unplug when not in use. It is all too easy to leave appliances switched on after using them, but remember most burns occur from unattended appliances.
- Hair straighteners make up a large proportion of household burns so why not consider a using a heat pouch? Not only will this protect against burns but will also stop damage occurring to surfaces from the heat and also fire. It is always awkward to know where to place hot straighteners after use, a heat pouch is a safe and easy option.
The great news is that two leading hair straightener manufacturers have just confirmed to the Electrical Safety Council that they will be providing heat proof pouches as standard with their products. This is great news and hopefully this will be the start of reducing burns from hair straighteners.
When you might need an electrician
The last thing you need is your electrical appliance malfunctioning when it's in use, so keep a close check on what's going on with your electrics. As electricians in South East London, we carry out electrical work across many homes in London including privately owned and rented properties and businesses such as letting agents.
Signs that you need to call an electrician are singe marks on sockets, warm sockets after use, discolouration or hairline cracks on sockets, buzzing noises or odours coming from the socket or sparks when you switch it on or off. These are the main problems, there are more, so if you have any doubt about the safety of your electrics do not leave it to chance and call a qualified and registered electrician as soon as possible.