Tuesday, 14 July 2015

Too embarrassed to ask an electrician for their credentials?

There are many things that can be embarrassing in life, for example, you would never dream of asking how much money someone had in their bank account or what type of underwear they favour – there is also the very British manner where we are just 'too polite to ask'.

So when it comes to having an electrician come around to carry out a quotation, being the polite nation we are, we rarely ask an electrician to prove that they are who they say they are. Most people know they should be asking, but never speak up! It is only once work commences that doubt creeps in – it is at the point of no return where a job does go wrong – if it's going to.

Generation Awkward

Research carried out by Electrical Safety First found that 18 million Brits are too embarrassed to ask an electrician if they are registered to carry out electrical work in their home – this leaves an awful lot of risk taking and somewhere along the line, someone will get caught out unfortunately.

Faring a little better is the number of people who ask for proof that an electrician is registered. One in five people ask to see evidence of registration from their electrician. This still leaves a startling four in five people who rely on say so and don't actually check for themselves that an electrician is registered. Registration numbers can be faked, and anyone can say they are registered.....it is another matter proving it.

Using an unregistered electrician increases risk of electric shock, injury and house fire. Here at Fulcher Edwards, our most popular electrical service in London remains the repair of electrical jobs that have gone wrong. This could be as a result of the home owner carrying out DIY or someone who knows a bit about electrics trying to do the job. We have seen shoddy and dangerous workmanship countless times and every week we see poor electrical work which will eventually cause electrical injury or damage to the property concerned.

Is asking if an electrician is registered really such an awkward question?

As a leading electrical contractor in London, it is actually quite rare to be asked to prove our registration. Naturally we are more than happy to show any prospective client our electricians qualifications and registration details and we wish more of you asked us :)

We would definitely encourage people to never be afraid to ask. If you don't ask, you don't get! If you find an electrician is not keen to show you or makes excuses, then don't use their services. All electricians should carry details of registration when at your property.

Take a look at this amusing video below produced by the Electrical Safety Council showing a whole range of terribly awkward questions faced by the random participants in the video :) It reminded us of an episode of Little Britain......remember that?!

Avoiding the mediocre

Mediocre is everywhere, and when having electrical work carried out in your home, it is essential that a high standard of work is carried out. Here are some further tips on how to find an excellent electrician in South London:

  • Make sure the electrician is aware of the electrical standards they need to work to. In the UK electrical work must be carried out to BS7671 17th edition and in line with the IET wiring regulations. If your electrician doesn't appear to be familiar with this terminology, find another one!

  • When asking for registration details, be direct. It is better to ask the electrician at the start of their visit then it is over and done with. Something along the lines of “before we get started I just need to see proof of your registration documents” will be fine.

  • Don't wait until you are at the point of accepting a quotation before asking for credentials. Ask at the quotation visit, as it will help you with your selection. No credentials....no work. Simples....as the meerkats would say!

  • Be insistent. If for some reason the electrician doesn't have their documentation, ensure you have seen it before work commences. Electricians are human and do occasionally forget their documents – however never allow work to begin without having seen proof of qualifications and registration.

  • All registered electricians are aware of their obligation to be qualified and registered if they are advertising their services as a Part P registered electrician. Most electricians are very passionate about spreading the word about credentials and hate unscrupulous electricians as much as you do ;) The only type of electrician who would take offence at being asked to prove their credentials is an unregistered one. So take this hint and move on to the next real electrician :)

We hope our article today will cement into your mind that asking an electrician for proof of their qualification and registration is not a question you should feel embarrassed to ask.

Now ask us about asking a queue jumper to move to the back of a queue.....that a whole different matter ;)

Tuesday, 7 July 2015

How do you know if an electrical item in your home is under product recall?

Lets face it, it is not every day when we consider if the electrical products in our home are safe to use. Most of us rely on essential electricals and don't give a second thought about switching on and using any others.

Would you know how to find out about a product recall notice and has it ever crossed your mind about whether the electrical items in your home are safe to use? Many products under a product recall notice are prone to overheating which in turn can lead to house fire. Think about how many electrical items in your home that are left switched on constantly or overnight.....

Do you think product recall notices happen to others?

Potentially dangerous problems with electrical products can be identified at any time. It doesn't matter whether the item was cheap or expensive, it still has the same chance at becoming subject to product recall. It is important to act on a product recall notice on an electrical item. Not doing so leaves you at real risk of electric shock, injury or serious house fire. It can also cause expensive electrical damage in your home.

At Fulcher Edwards we have been asked to look at many a electrical installation in London which has been damaged by electrical items that have overheated. Signs of overheating include warm or discoloured sockets. If you spot anything like this in your home, contact a qualified and registered electrician as soon as possible. Leaving a potential electrical problem to get worse will make it more expensive to fix in the longer run.

Do you have a Homebase 10 litre dehumidifier?

If the answer is yes and you purchased it between June 2006 and December 2008, then you need to return it to Homebase for a full refund. This problem was spotted by one of our eagle eyed electricians when carrying out electrical testing in London last week.

Our customer was in the process of having a new bathroom installed and the builder had advised the use of a dehumidifier to help the plaster to dry. The dehumidifier had been in constant use for two days but thankfully had been turned off overnight. The photo in our blog post shows a recalled dehumidifier that had overheated, smoked and caught fire. In the office here at Fulcher Edwards we are very keen to keep up to date with the latest in electrical product recalls so we can look out for dangerous products in use in homes and businesses across London.

If you become concerned that an electrical product is not working as it should be, turn it off immediately and do not use until it has been checked by the manufacturer.

How to check if any electrical products in your home are under product recall

Many product recall notices are issued but never discovered by product owners. This is because electrical products historically have rarely been registered or people move addresses and the manufacturer is unable to make contact.

Thanks to the electrical safety charity, Electrical Safety First, a 'one stop' place is now available where every recalled electrical product since 2007 is listed. The average success of a product recall notice is just 10-20% which leaves millions of potentially dangerous electrical items still in homes.

To check to see if you have any potentially dangerous electrical items, please visit the product recalls page.