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.
house is always a stressful time – whether you rent or own your
home, finding your next home can be a bewildering choice. Most
people have a tick or wish list of what features their next home must
have, but how much notice do you take of the electrics? Sure you
might have a cursory look at the sockets – a little knowledge will
tell you if they're in need of replacing.
in the cost of electrical upgrades will be necessary in many homes,
so before you buy or agree to rent, make sure you are happy with the
electrics or provision is made to upgrade them to suit your needs.
beyond the location and window frames!
A house in the best location and with excellent kerb appeal, may be
hiding a multitude of electrical sins under it's wings. Don't fall
for the looks alone, scratching more below the surface when viewing
could uncover electrical problems that you may not have been aware of
until you had already moved.
Lack of electrical sockets
Many homes in the UK were built when reliance on electricity wasn't
so huge. It is not unusual to see homes built in the 1960's or
1970's have just a couple of single sockets in the living room and
perhaps one double socket in the kitchen. When you consider how many
electrical gadgets we own – from TV's to games consoles, sky boxes
to cordless telephones, it is quickly obvious that two single sockets
would be nowhere near enough to cope with the demand!
The reality is, many people are living in households with not enough
sockets for their needs. In turn this is creating a reliance on
extension leads. This in itself is not the crime of the century,
however extension leads used in locations such as a kitchen where
most powerful household appliances are located, are when dangerous
electrical issues such as overheating, fire and electrical shock or
injury could occur due to unintentional extension lead misuse.
What needs to change: If
purchasing a house which appears to have had no electrical updates
carried out recently, it is a good idea to ask a qualified and
registered electrician to carry out an Electrical Installation
Condition Report (EICR) to ensure the wiring is safe. You can
request an EICR prior to purchase so you know what you dealing with.
If the wiring is sound, it would be a good idea to ask the
electrician to install additional sockets where they will be needed.
As electricians in East London, we bring many owned and rented homes up to
modern living standards by simply installing extra sockets in prime
locations such as the kitchen and living room.
Age of electrical accessories
Signs that the property needs electrical attention sooner rather than
later is the age of electrical accessories. As electricians in South East London we still come across homes that have not had any
electrical work carried out since the 1920's! So when we say old
accessories we really do mean old! Look out for round switches and
sockets rather than square. The pins and switches will also be
round. Additionally look out for old style sockets installed in
skirting boards rather than on the wall and take a look at the light
fittings – if you don't see a PVC cable hanging down into the light
pendant, this means that the wiring may well be outdated and needs
attention from an electrician.
What needs to change:
Electrical accessories of this age will need to replaced as chances
are they're going to be unsafe. Using an electrical installation of
such an age will be putting you and your family at risk of electrical
shock and injury. The property may well need a full rewire, so make
sure you factor in the cost of this in the offer you make on the
property. Ask an electrician as soon as possible to advise on the
A common problem we see in homes
here at Fulcher Edwards is the condition of internal home wiring.
Many householders assume that because the sockets and switches seem
modern that the wiring will be fine too. Unfortunately we have seen
too many times shocking wiring systems that are either out of date,
have been tampered with or are showing signs of deterioration due to
age. Many home owners want to upgrade their switches and sockets
from white to chrome for example only to find out from the
electrician that the wiring is in a dangerous condition.
needs to change:
Old wiring in itself is not necessarily a safety issue so long as
there is no sign of tampering and it is being kept as it is. However
wiring of this age would not allow for upgraded electrical
accessories. Wiring that is found to be dangerous would require a
full or partial rewire dependant on the overall condition of the home
electrical system. This is why as electrical contractors in London,
we advise that an EICR is carried out to ascertain what condition the
electrical installation is in your London property.
people assume that because the sockets and switches seem OK that
everything else is. If you rent your property, ask your landlord for
the EICR certificate. If there isn't one, what are they trying to
Look out for DIY electrical
signs of electrical DIY are obvious, others less so. One of the
easiest methods of looking out for substandard or DIY electrical work
is to look for cables that are situated on walls in a haphazard way.
A prime example of this is cable running up the centre of a wall that
has been covered with wallpaper. You will be able to see the cables
underneath the wallpaper. Whilst this does not automatically mean
the installation is unsafe, it gives you a good idea of the
standards, and the fact that someone thought this was acceptable.
the seller or landlord mentions that electrical work has been carried
out recently, ensure that you see the Part P certification for the
work as this is a legal requirement. Without it, you have no way of
knowing if the work is even safe.
maintained property electricals are a valuable property asset
(rewires are pricey.) They also provide you and loved ones with peace
of mind day to day.
needs to change: Signs of DIY
electrical work and uncertified recent electrical work will need to
be corrected by a qualified and registered electrician. If no EICR
has been carried out on the property in the last 10 years (or 5 years
in a rented property) then this should be carried out as a priority
to ascertain what condition the electrics are currently in.
How old is the fuse board or consumer unit
If you are looking for a swift answer as to the likely condition of
the property electrics, then take a look at the fuse board/consumer
unit. The age of the fuse board does not automatically deem the
electrics safe or unsafe, but it will indicate how likely it is that
you need to spend money on upgrading the electrics. Fuse boards
with a wooden back could have been installed as long ago as the
1950's and chances are will need to be upgraded to ensure electrical
safety. Older fuse boards may still be safe so long as they are
checked over by an electrician to ascertain this fact. However, if
you are looking for the highest standard of electrical safety in your
property, the consumer unit should be fitted with a working RCD. The
presence of an RCD is normally marked clearly on a switch located on
the consumer unit itself as either RCD or T (for test.) Sometimes
the RCD can be separate but either way will be clearly identifiable.
needs to change: A fuse board
with a wooden back needs prompt attention by an electrician, older
fuse boards or consumer units without an RCD would benefit from
testing for safety by a qualified electrician. As far as electrical installations in London go, we would not necessarily recommend a
consumer unit upgrade if the householder didn't want to spend the
money as long as the consumer unit was safe as it currently stood.
However, to obtain the recommended level of electrical safety, it
would require a consumer unit upgrade if no RCD was present.
consumer unit upgrade can cost a fair chunk of money – make sure
you account for this in your purchase price!
Check the earthing to the property
This is something that is nearly always overlooked by house buyers
and almost always by tenants. Correct earthing in a property is
essential to avoid serious electrical injury and shock from the lack
of earthing. Lack of earthing to a property can cause items such as
taps, boilers and other metallic surfaces to become live without
warning. If you touch such items, you then act as the earth with the
electricity passing through you. A very scary prospect.
You can check for earthing by looking at the gas and water pipes to
the property. You should see the earthing conductors clamped to the
pipes. If you don't see anything like this, then you should contact
an electrician as soon as possible to rectify this problem and avoid
an horrendous electrical shock taking place.
Electrical Safety will always be important
Leaving electrical safety to chance is never a good move and if there
is a problem it won't just go away. This 'Think Electric' video was
used by Electrical Safety First back in 2008. The principles still
have not changed, so for more information or to recap on our blog
post, give it a click!
you are planning a weekend of loving this weekend, make sure that the
flames of love do not spread to your home undetected.
are we talking about?! Well it's none other than a timely reminder to
test your smoke alarm! Special occasions such as Valentines Day
actually puts you at greater risk of a house fire occurring. From a
forgotten steak catching fire in a frying pan to getting carried away
with electrical impulses of another kind ;) the last thing you need
to deal with is an unexpected fire – and your skills with a fire
extinguisher may not be as impressive as you hope! ;)
your home even fire safe?
might consider yourself careful when it comes to fire safety, however
we don't need to tell you that fires, particularly electrical fires,
can start without you realising. You could be asleep in bed getting
some post Valentines Day rest when a fire breaks out. The only way
of getting out of your home in one piece is to have a working fire
alarm that is located correctly.
Fulcher Edwards we see all kinds of fire alarm 'situations' in
peoples homes. The classic one, I've pulled the battery out, is very
much alive and kicking. There are also the 'well meaning people' who
have brought their fire alarms and now they're sitting in their box
in the garage where they might be fitted in the next year or
so....then there's the people who don't really like the look of fire
alarms so they'll put it out of the way in a windowsill or on a
shelf. And finally (phew!) there are the people who have a nicely
placed fire alarm, but never test it!
I've never fitted a fire alarm so mine is on a shelf!
a fire alarm is thankfully easier these days and you don't need to
opt for screws. However, where you place the fire alarm is important
so that it alerts you to a fire at the first opportunity.
form of smoke alarm is better than no smoke alarm at all, however it
is important that you place your smoke alarm in a better place (like
the ceiling) as soon as possible. There are two options:
Consider having mains powered smoke alarms fitted in your home.
These need to be fitted by a qualified and registered electrician.
Not only will they be expertly placed, but you won't be reliant on
just batteries. As electricians in South London we fit fire alarm
systems for home owners and businesses in and around the city.
Contact your local fire and rescue. In many areas there is the
opportunity to have a fire safety inspection of your home and if
eligible, you can have free smoke alarms fitted in your property.
got smoke alarms fitted what should I be doing now?
Once fitted and regardless of whether they're mains or battery
powered, your fire alarms will need to be tested once a week. You do
this by simply pressing the test button on each smoke alarm and hold
it in for a few seconds. It should produce a loud beep so cover your
It is easy to forget to do this, so we support the 'test it Tuesday'
campaign that reminds people to test their fire alarms on a Tuesday.
The campaign has lead to many fire alarms being fitted and tested
weekly in UK homes.
Having a working fire alarm ready for Valentines Day means your home
is being taken care of, leaving you free to enjoy a night with that
special someone ;)
home is for life so they say and isn't an Englishman's home his
castle? Perhaps that's enough of the history lesson for today (it
was never our strong point!) ;)
homes in Britain are becoming out of touch with todays modern living
standards – from problems with compatibility of renewable energies,
to low energy efficiency there is yet more doom and gloom on the
horizon which suggest many homes would be of limited use as we get
older or develop a disability.
The Lifetime Homes Standard is actually not a new concept, it was
developed in the early 1990's by a group of housing experts and was
designed to make homes more accessible and inclusive to address the
changing needs of individuals at different stages of their life.
From wider car parking spaces to level thresholds, wider door space
and walls strong enough to support a grab rail, these living
conditions make sense to most people. From families with young
children, to coping with special needs or illness, you don't need to
be elderly to benefit from a home designed with flexibility and
adaptivity in mind.
With this in mind, it makes sense to be building all new homes with
the Lifetime Homes Standard in mind. Unsurprisingly, it is never
that easy with adaptation of the standard slower in rural areas than
within urban areas. This is because there are more older homes in
rural areas and less demand for new future proof housing.
does electrical work comply with the Lifetime Homes Standard?
Aside from the physical features of the standard, home fixtures and
fittings need to also meet the Lifetime Homes Standard. Of course an
integral part of any home is the electrics and easy access to
switches, sockets and the consumer unit is essential particularly to
people with limited mobility or who use a wheelchair.
As electricians in South East London we are very aware of using the
latest technologies when carrying out electrical installation and the
fitting of fire alarms. We are very experienced in working in
environments where adaptations are required and this includes
adapting the fitting to suit the needs to the individual.
Criterion 16 of the Lifetime Homes Standard states that switches,
sockets, ventilation and service controls should be at a height
usable by all. This is a height of between 450mm and 1200mm from the
floor. Basically speaking this means that sockets should be located
within the height criterion (rather than near the floor ) and
switches should be located at a similar height.
Consumer unit switches and associated devices like separate RCD are
known as service controls and also need to be located within the
height criterion. It is essential that electricity can be switched
off in an emergency and switched back on in the event of a switch
We often install consumer units in a cupboard which prevents children
from playing around with the switches.
Here at Fulcher Edwards we are often involved with installing adapted
electrical installations and fully support the requirements of the
Lifetime Homes Standard.
practice – looking to the future
If you are looking for an electrician to install electrical fittings
for a person with changing needs, it is a good idea to identify what
needs might occur in years to come such as a requirement for a stair
lift, automatic window controls for inaccessible windows, additional
lighting for any knock out panel area, and task lighting for
underneath kitchen units if not already installed.
It is far more cost effective to anticipate the needs for such
measures now, by asking your electrician to install capped off
electrical outlets or fused spurs at the relevant locations.
Remember, never attempt to make electrical modifications yourself.
Always ensure you use a qualified and registered electrician to carry
out the work.
new home is not required to meet the standard
There is no need to consider moving house in order to meet the
Lifetime Homes Standard, it is possible to modify existing homes to
meet the standard. Your electrician will be able to advise of the
electrical aspect which should be possible to achieve in most homes.