Tuesday, 31 March 2015

10 most dangerous electricity mistakes

Mistakes with electricity can happen easily and it's every day mistakes that quickly land householders in deep water.

Take a look at the list below to see what mistakes you could be making in your home. Any of these things could quickly land you in deep water and put you at serious risk of electric shock or injury.

Simple mistakes that endanger the lives of householders

As electricians in South East London we come across these problems on an almost daily basis in peoples homes. If you are making any of these mistakes you are putting yourself in electrical danger.

More than 80 million accidents happen in British homes each year causing injury or property damage due to unnecessarily risky behaviour, according to new research.

1. Drying clothes on an electrical heater

2. Repairing an appliance while it is still plugged in

3. Leaving a hair straightener on unattended

4. Taking batteries out of smoke alarms to silence them

5. Drilling through wires in the wall to hang pictures

6. Trailing cables under a rug or carpet to keep them out of the way

7. Trying to dry objects that aren’t food in the microwave

8. Overloading electrical sockets and adapters

9. Using damaged electrical sockets that have burn marks on them

10. Using unregistered tradesmen

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

New laws for landlords on their way

There has been a lot of coverage recently in the media regarding the condition of some rental properties with reports that tenants live in conditions which could endanger their lives. Electrical safety is no exception to this rule, yet many landlords chose to ignore the condition of their property electrics and seemingly wait for something to happen.

The decision of whether to make compulsory a requirement to provide an EICR at least once every 5 years is yet to be made, however a law is due to come in later this year that will keep tenants safer in their properties.

What is the new law?

From October 2015, landlords will be required to by law to fit working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in their properties.

Alarmingly 26 deaths and 670 injuries occur every year in UK rental properties where neither of these items were provided. In many rental properties, it is found during property inspections that tenants have actually fitted their own smoke alarms and provided their own carbon monoxide detectors. It is fortunate for the landlord that the tenants have taken this approach as many do not.

The decision has received strong support from a private consultation held about the condition of property in the private rental sector. There is also support expected from all 46 fire and rescue services across the UK many of whom will provide free services to fit and install fire alarms.

The law is designed to bring properties in the rental sector in line with existing building regulations in particular the fact that new build properties are required to have a hard wired smoke alarm system installed. Landlords will be required to fit a smoke alarm on every floor of their property and a carbon monoxide alarm in the vicinity of any fuel burning appliances such as gas boilers, log burners, coal fires etc.

Are you a landlord affected by these changes?

As electricians in South East London we are aware that most landlords already comply with the upcoming law as they already supply smoke alarms in their properties. Landlords of properties of multiple occupancy will already be familiar with the current laws surrounding smoke alarms, however the new law will require all landlords to provide working smoke alarms in their properties, however it will be the responsibility of the tenant to ensure that the smoke alarm continues to work by testing it regularly.

As fire alarm specialists here at Fulcher Edwards we are currently working with several landlords in the London area to ensure their rental properties are going to meet the required standard. It is not as simple as giving your tenants a couple of smoke alarms and expecting them to fit them themselves, it will be your responsibility as a landlord to make sure that they are fitted correctly in the right areas of your property.

By opting for the security of mains powered smoke alarms and not reliant on battery power alone, you will have maximum peace of mind as a landlord. At Fulcher Edwards we design, install and commission fire alarms systems in properties of all sizes. It is even possible to combine smoke alarms and carbon monoxide testers in one unit so both requirements are being met in one go.

Households without any working smoke alarm are 4 times as more likely to die in a house fire as against households that do.  

Tuesday, 10 March 2015

Are you in danger of electrical shock or injury?

Electricity is very often taken for granted and it is only when something goes wrong that many people realise the true potential of electricity. When electricity goes wrong it goes wrong in spectacular style.

In fact electricity kills 7 people every week and injures 1000's more. It is often silly mistakes that leads to electricity injury rather than knowingly taking risks with electricity. Do you really know how electrically safe your home is? The truth is many homes in the UK are actually electrically dangerous and whether or not you own or rent your homes makes no difference. 

Unfortunately many people think that because their electrics are working then they must be safe. Don't wait for something to happen to your home electrics before you get them checked out.

Who should check your electrics?

The checking of your home electrics should be carried out by a qualified and registered electrician. Anyone offering electrical services in London should be qualified and registered to carry out work and electrical investigations within your property.

Unfortunately we have heard several stories of landlords, well meaning friends or unqualified individuals making assumptions on the condition of home electrical systems. Remember that electricity can kill and if you have any concerns about your electrics, you need to contact a qualified and registered electrician.

Working on your home electrics is mostly illegal

Did you know that carrying out work yourself on your home electrics is actually mostly illegal? You can replace like for like but like the vast majority of our clients here at Fulcher Edwards, you'll be looking for something different – perhaps an upgrade to chrome sockets or new lighting.

People who carry out DIY electrics are not only putting themselves at risk of electric shock but also their family and friends. You might think you know what you are doing but the truth is many people are quite literally shocked when they realise that what seemed like a simple job wasn't quite as straightforward as they hoped.

Also how safe is your work? Does it meet todays standard. Substandard electrical work can lead to house fire and expensive damage to other parts of your home electrical system. As electricians in East London we see the result of DIY electrical work on a daily basis. Our advise to you is not to attempt it and contact an electrician to do the work for you.

Are your home electrics keeping you safe?

The main reasons for needing an electrician to assess the safety of your electrics are:

  • Not having them checked for more than 10 years (or 5 years in a rented property.)
  • Carrying out DIY electrical work
  • Having a wooden backed fuse box

Having an electrical safety inspection (known as an EICR) is highly recommended during these time scales to ensure your home electrics are working as they should and provides you with peace of mind. An EICR can save you from an expensive electrical job further down the line.