Fulcher Edwards Ltd is an established family run company with 30 years experience in electrical services. We are NICEIC, Part P, Trust Mark & SafeContractor approved and work to current British Standards which gives you peace of mind that we are capable in helping with your electrical requirements however big or small. Covering London and surrounding areas.
electrical safety is an important matter regardless of age, but as we
get older, possible electrical dangers can become more apparent due
to memory or mobility problems. If you have an elderly relative, it
may be worth your while checking their home electrics. Ageing
electrical wiring can pose a problem for an elderly person and they
may be unaware of it's danger until they receive an electric shock or
we know that persuading an older person to consider their electrics
(and anything else for that matter!) is easier said than done. There
are many older people who are perfectly happy and are able to make
decisions about electrics themselves. However, if you are aware of
any electrical danger in their home, it is worth mentioning it to
them. You never know, they might be unaware of the real dangers.
electrical dangers might be lurking around
Older people are often more at risk of electrical accident and injury
because of old or poor quality housing and faulty appliances. At
Fulcher Edwards we carried out an electrical visit to a lovely man
who was attempting to use an ancient vacuum cleaner. Every time he
used it, it blew the fuse plug! Thankfully no electrical accident or
shock occurred, but he did cause damage to his wiring because of it.
Luckily we were able to persuade him to part with it, before an
electrical accident occurred.
Modern facilities that we are used to in our own homes simply do not
exist in some older homes. From basic kitchens to the flowered wall
paper and carpets, it is easy to tell how modern a home is from just
looking around. However the hidden electrical dangers can
potentially make things far worse.
Checking the age and condition of some essential electrical fittings
will give you an idea of the level of electrical safety in the
property. Look out for:
All fuse boxes should have a mains switch (a way of being able to
switch it on and off) and a full set of breakers or fuses. If all
seems fairly modern then that is a good sign. Look out for fuse
boxes with wooden backs, cast iron switches or a mix of fuses or
breakers. If there is evidence of these things then a call to a
qualified and registered electrician would be a good move. Fuse
boxes of this type are very much out of date and would benefit from
Similarly, if a more modern fuse box appears to be tripping often or
fuses are regularly blowing, then it would be a good idea to contact
your local electrician. As electricians in South East London, we get
calls of this nature on a regular basis. We can often put right a
simple problem cost effectively as long as the householder does not
leave it too long before contacting us.
Ideally, an RCD protected house is the safest one. Fuse boxes (known
as consumer units) fitted within the last few years should have RCD
protection as standard. Have a look on the consumer unit for a T or
Test button. If it has one press it to ensure it is working as it
should. An RCD cuts the power in a fraction of a second if an
electrical fault develops, an appliances malfunctions or someone in
the house accidentally touches a live wire.
An RCD is great peace of mind, however it is not essential. If the
cost of replacing an otherwise safe fuse box would be too costly,
then some RCD sockets or plugs would be a good alternative to ensure
the safety of high risk appliances such as kettles, lawn mowers and
Plugs and sockets
Potential electrical danger can
often be spotted by taking a closer look at the sockets and switches.
Cracks and breaks are an electrical danger and affected sockets or
switches need to be replaced. Look out for singe marks (where the
shape of a plug can be seen) and discolouration. Both of these are a
sign of over heating. Buzzing and crackling when the socket is in
use and 'green goo' coming from below the socket are also signs that
you need to call in an electrician to take a look.
The type of plugs and sockets will
give you an idea of the age of the wiring in the property. Look out
for round pin sockets and sockets fitted on skirting boards, these
are signs that the wiring is over 50 years old and should be checked
by a qualified electrician.
Look out for signs of cracking or burn marks around light fittings.
This is a sign that all is not well. If you spot this, stop using
them immediately and contact an electrician. Further signs that all
is not well include curled labels on flex, discolouration and
scorching. If a switch sparks when you switch it on then this is
also something that an electrician should look at.
Braided flex hanging from ceiling light fittings is another sign that
the wiring is very old.
Take the time to inspect the cable condition of appliances that are
being used. Look out for cuts, wear and tear and ensure that no bare
cable can be seen. Check that plugs are securely on the end of the
cable. Damage to the cable would need to repaired by replacing the
cable and plug or alternatively replacing the appliance.
Never use PVC tape to repair cable and avoid trailing cables over
carpets and under rugs as these can present a trip hazard.
Check the smoke alarm
Having a working smoke alarm can prevent a serious house fire.
Electrical fires are currently the biggest cause of a house fire in
the UK. Smoke alarms save lives, and are low cost or free to fit.
Local fire services can fit smoke alarms to eligible households free
of charge. If you are looking for mains powered smoke alarms, then
these will need to be installed by a qualified electrician. Here at
Fulcher Edwards we are fire alarm specialists in South London.
else you can do to help
If the home is rented, then some of the electrical concern can be
alleviated by asking the landlord to carry out an EICR on the
property. It is recommended that an EICR is carried out once every 5
years or with every change of tenancy. Responsible landlords ensure
this is carried out and certainly if the property is rented to an
older person, this responsibility becomes more justified in our
If the home is owned, a full electrical check is recommended once
every 10 year to check all is working as it should be. Ask an
electrician to carry out an EICR report to determine the condition of
for Government Support
Such is the concern for electrical safety for the elderly, that the
electrical safety charity Electrical Safety First has asked for
Government support to ensure older people live in safe homes. The
initiative is backed by several care charities including Contact the
Elderly and the Carers Trust.
Carrying out a good deed for an elderly relative or neighbour could
be a life saver.
the New Year, we have been particularly busy here at Fulcher Edwards
with call outs relating to charging problems with e-cigarettes. We
have been repairing some alarming electrical damage caused by
e-cigarette chargers – not to mention the frustration caused to our
poor customers who have unwittingly purchased an incompatible charger
for their e-cigarettes.
this if you use e-cigarettes
E-cigarettes are amongst the most popular option when quitting
smoking. In recent years, the number of people using them has risen
dramatically. However amongst the popularity, there has been an
increase in the number of chargers available on the market that can
cause significant damage if they're not compatible with your type of
To date, there has been over 100 house fires alone caused by
e-cigarettes across the UK. Using a charger that is not designed to
use with your e-cigarettes can cause it to explode – quite
literally. We don't need to tell you what the outcome of that can
be, however it seems like people are buying spare chargers which are
not designed for use with their particular e-cigarette.
kind of electrical damage e-cigarette chargers can cause
As electricians in South London, we have seen first hand the
extensive damage caused by e-cigarettes in 2015 alone. Many
e-cigarette users will leave them charging unattended whilst they
sleep or go to work. However, incorrect chargers can quickly
overheat causing fire not only to the e-cigarette but also to the
wiring within the socket. This can quickly spread to the wiring
inside your walls and in severe cases can cause a serious fire.
If the problem is not discovered, it can lead to the explosion of the
e-cigarette which could cause serious injury and damage.
Unfortunately the cost to replace wiring and sockets damaged by the
charger can be quite costly and will far exceed the cost of a genuine
sure you know what charger you should be using
Here at Fulcher Edwards, we recommend that you purchase only genuine
chargers and accessories for your e-cigarette. Although retailers of
'universal' chargers will tell you it will work, we recommend that
you do not use the safer option as there is no guarantee that it will
work. We know how handy it can be having an additional chargers,
however only purchase genuine chargers that are designed for use with
The problem with e-cigarette chargers is a growing problem and as
such, the electrical safety charity Electrical Safety First have
compiled a video demonstrating the danger of e-cigarette chargers.
If he resembles you (and we're definitely not suggesting you are
actually clueless ;)) then you may need to think twice about your
you used the wrong charger and concerned about your home electrics?
It is better safe than sorry as electrical fires can start unnoticed
inside walls. If you have been a user of a universal charger, then
it would be a good idea to call a qualified and registered
electrician to check if any damage has been caused. They're likely
to suggest an EICR which will involve inspecting the wiring in your
home to see if any damage has occurred.
When it comes to dodgy e-cigarette chargers, it is better to be safe
that another New Year has been and gone, those sparkling new gadgets
that you received for Christmas will now be a part of your life! How
do you know that they'll carry on providing you with a great service?
Even the best quality products can develop faults and it is
essential that you are made aware if this is the case.
out for that little card in the box!
You may well have overlooked a small card in the box which mentioned
registering your appliance. Now you would be easily forgiven for
ignoring the advice for fear of receiving relentless amounts of junk
mail as a result of filling it in. However this card is not actually
for this purpose. It is there for your own protection and peace of
mind. In general the card serves two purposes:
To guarantee the product
To inform you of any product recalls
may well have a guarantee in place from the retailer but
manufacturers guarantees often last far longer and it is well worth
your while registering for additional guarantee on offer. Perhaps
what is far more important is that the manufacturer will be able to
contact you in the event of a product recall.
it! But what about my older appliances I've forgotten to register?
a customer realises the importance of filling in that all important
card, panic can quickly set in when considering the whole multitude
of other appliances in the home that were never registered. Luckily
there is help at hand. A brilliant website known as Register My
Appliance allows you to register the details of all electrical
products in your home. In turn you will be made aware of any product
recalls, safety repairs and upgrades that are available for your
you should register your appliances on this website
you've had some electrical items a number of years or even if you've
recently moved, you probably hadn't thought of contacting the
manufacturer to change your address (there’s enough of those
already!) With Register My Appliance you are able to receive any
notices directly via email wherever you are living.
My Appliance is supported by the Department for Business, Innovation
and Skills and ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention of
recalls are easily fixed
of the main problems faced with product recalls is the ease of which
potential problems can be rectified if the customer gets in contact.
However leaving an item currently under recall can cause all manner
of problems including electrical shock, fire and even explosion.
a product fixed under product recall is often very simple. Normally
a technician will visit your home and carry out the repair at a time
that suits you. It makes sense to register your products so that
manufacturers can contact you if necessary.
electrical appliance malfunction
electricians in South East London, we often receive call outs after
an electrical appliance has malfunctioned. In many cases it is
misuse by the customer that has lead to the problem occurring. Make
sure you follow these safety tips when using electrical appliances:
Ensure you have working smoke
alarms in your home
alarms can alert you quickly to a problem. If an appliance has
overheated and a fire has occurred you may not be aware until the
fire is out of control without a smoke alarm.
Don't overload extension
Here at Fulcher Edwards, We have lost count of the amount
of times we have seen overloaded extension leads. There may be four
spaces on a lead, but together the products used on it should not
exceed 3000 watts of energy. Overloaded extension leads can cause
overheating and fire.
Keep electrical appliances
common mistake that is often made is having electrical appliances
located in areas that are not 'household temperature'. We have seen
freezers in outhouses, washing machines in garages and tumble dryers
in conservatories. The problem is the temperature. When the
temperature drops it can cause malfunctioning. The cold weather can
affect sensitive electric components which are only designed to
operate in ambient temperatures.
Use an RCD socket if
necessary when using electrical products outside
If your home is not protected by
an RCD then we highly recommend you use an RCD socket or plug when
carrying out work outside. Electrical items designed for outdoor use
are more susceptible to electrical dangers. Water that may have
leaked onto the item, damp grass, accidentally chopping through the
cable are all real dangers when using electrical equipment outside.
Take care with appliances
with no on/off switch
Electrical appliances which do
not switch on or off such as irons, need to be unplugged when not in
use. Accidentally leaving these appliances on can lead to
overheating, fire and damage to upholstery or carpets.
Keep instruction manuals
Instruction manuals can be a
godsend should you need to refer to them at some point. If there is a
power cut for example, it can be useful to find out how to reset the
clock! Instruction manuals can also help if you sell the product or
if you rent your home.
Only use appliances for what
they are intended for
Never take risks with appliances
by using them for an alternative purpose. Electrical accidents can
However you choose to register
your product, please make sure you do it, your life could actually
depend on it!