Archives for FE Domestic

Deck The Halls Safely This Christmas!

 

We’re well and truly in the festive spirit here at Fulcher Edwards, your local, reliable and trustworthy electricians in London and Hertfordshire. As thoughts are now turning to decking our ‘halls’ with an array of decorations and lighting effects (and maybe some boughs of holly!). We are receiving many calls to help source and repair electrical problems in homes and businesses in London and Hertfordshire.

In the run up to Christmas we get a lot calls and find that in many of these cases, Christmas lighting has been installed incorrectly – with too much reliance on extension leads or adapters plugged into adapters.

Of course Christmas doesn’t need to turn into an electrical nightmare, and don’t forget all that electricity requires is a common sense approach. We thought we’d share with you some essential electrical safety tips to keep you and your family or business safe over the festive season.

Electrical Safety Tips

1) Always purchase Christmas lights from reputable sources. Many Christmas lights are sold second hand on nearly new websites and car boot sales. Buying second hand means you don’t know if the item is safe to use or even if it works or not. Christmas lights don’t need to cost a fortune but they do need to meet minimum electrical safety standards.

2) Use an RCD – if your home does not have an RCD installed already, it makes sense to use an RCD plug for your Christmas lights. It will immediately cut the electrical supply if there is a problem with the lights. If you are installing lights outside, ensure that they are suitable for outdoor use- the products will tell you whether they’re suitable for outdoor use or not. Don’t ever be tempted to use extension leads designed for indoor use outside. All electrical outdoor lighting should be connected to an outdoor socket.

3) If you need additional sockets either indoors or outdoors, consult a Part P registered electrician in London or Hertforshire. Don’t try to do this work yourself. There are more fires this time of year due to unsafe Christmas lighting than at any other time of year.

4) Always follow the manufacturers instructions on how to use the electrical lighting safely.

5) Think about where you are going to install your lighting – keep out of the reach of children – particularly electrical sockets and lighting on trees. A curious toddler will like nothing more than tipping your Christmas tree over to study the lights! Never situate your lights in the way of pathways, and ponds.

6) Select Christmas lighting with low voltage bulbs. Most modern Christmas lights are low voltage which means they won’t heat up with continued usage. If you own a set of old fashioned bulbs, now is the time to replace them.

Lastly, don’t forget to check your lights work before hanging them up! Also take care on any ladders.

We cant promise to arrive in a one-horse open sleigh, but please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for any assistance with your electrical needs this Xmas.

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How to Save Money This Christmas!

Saving money and Christmas don’t go exactly hand in hand with each other. However, Christmas doesn’t have to be a huge spending frenzy and it is possible to save money, particularly on your energy bill this Christmas.

Fulcher Edwards – your local, reliable and trustworthy electricians in London and Hertfordshire, tell you how you can save money on electricity and other energy in your home without going without – and your guests will never even know!

electricians in London and HertfordshireDon’t get us wrong, we’re the first in the queue for Christmas fun and parties, and after a year of working hard helping our lovely customers with their electrical needs, we certainly know how to enjoy Christmas.

Here we have some handy tips on how to save energy in your home this Christmas – oh and we might even have some handy present tips for those last minute stocking fillers – ho ho ho!

Tip 1

We say this often because it really is an easy low cost way to save a packet on your electricity bill. If you don’t already have energy saving light bulbs in your home, you’re missing a trick! Energy saving light bulbs come in a whole range of sizes, including the same shape as a regular incandescent light bulb. If you are thinking of adding a few festive lights outside, you will be pleased to know that there is a growing range of solar powered Christmas lights which will cost you nothing to run and can charge up even in the smallest amount of sunlight we get at this time of year. Also why not consider buying an energy meter for your home? Its a great way to keep track of the energy you’re using in your household.

Tip 2

If you are buying electrical appliances and gadgets for loved ones this Christmas, did you know that many are now Energy A rated? Look out for the label on electrical items which show you how energy efficient they are. You need to be looking for Energy A as a minimum (there are also now A+ A++ and even A+++) this will mean that not only is the electrical item energy efficient it will also cost less to run.

Tip 3

Looking for a great idea for stocking fillers? The shops are filled with tacky presents which will either get lost or broken in no time. Therefore why not give an Eco gift? Its something different and will save money! You can buy eco versions of hair dryers, coffee machines and kettles.  There are also solar versions of mobile phones, watches, laptop chargers, toys and radios which require only the sun to power them. For camping and outdoor enthusiasts you can discover wind up torches and radios as well as water powered digital clocks.

Tip 4

With all the extra guests you have over Christmas, its a great time to turn your central heating down a couple of degrees. No one will notice – the heat from the cooking the turkey as well as the additional body heat will more than compensate for the heat reduction. You will certainly notice the difference on your energy bill though in the New Year! Furthermore, underfloor heating is great energy efficient way to heat your house! There is an initial expense with the installation, however you will find it distributes heat more evenly which makes your house nice and cosy, and you wont even have to have your radiators on! One of our customers even removed some of the radiators in their house after having underfloor heating installed, leaving more room for Christmas decorations!

Tip 5

For the eco conscious amongst us, there are other ways of saving energy when cooking the all important Christmas dinner. Turn off the ring before your vegetables have finished cooking. Heat from the water and the steam will keep the vegetables hot for some time and is a great way of finishing them off completely free! Steaming is also a great way of healthy cooking and it uses less water and keeps the essential vitamins and nutrients within the food.

For all your electrical needs in the New Year, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE

Call us now on: 020 7922 1101 for your local electrician in London  |  01923 616985 for your local electrician in Hertfordshire

 

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Fire Alarm Maintenance is Your Business!

 

Responsibility to fire safety doesn’t just end once you have had a  fire alarm fitted on your premises. If you are a Business Owner or Landlord in London or Hertfordshire, it is also your duty to make sure the fire alarm system is being maintained correctly.

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO) states that the ‘responsible person’ has the duty of maintaining the fire alarm on your premises. The FSO is the primary legislation for all non-domestic premises in England and Wales. Therefore failure to comply with the FSO is an offence punishable by hefty fines or imprisonment.

A non-domestic premise includes workplaces and commercial premises, public premises, and common areas of multi-occupied residential buildings.

Who is the Responsible Person?

You’re if the responsible person if the following applies:

  • You’re the owner of a business
  • An employer
  • An occupier
  • The Landlord of a premises
  • You’re the Facilities Manager, Building Manager, Risk Assessor, or Managing Agent

You can have more than one responsible person on the premises and therefore those two people will have to work together.

What are the duties of the Responsible Person in my Company?

  • Plan for a fire emergency
  • Provide staff with information, training, and fire safety instructions
  • Conduct a fire risk assessment and review it regularly
  • Make staff and representatives aware of any risks which have been identified
  • Ensure there are appropriate fire safety measures in place and then maintain them

How often should my fire alarm be tested?

We recommend that you test your fire alarm weekly and then keep record of the tests in a log book. Furthermore, British Standard 5839 recommends that your fire alarm is serviced every 6 months by a ‘competent person.’ If your premises is very large then quarterly might also be best.

Who is a competent person and do we need one?

A competent person is somebody who is fully trained and qualified to inspect your Fire Alarm. This is a service we can provide at Fulcher Edwards. As your chosen contractor we would be able to give you advice and provide relevant in-house training. We would also carry out a high level of fire alarm maintenance that your premises requires.

To discuss your fire alarm in London and Hertfordshire needs further, or for a free quotation, please contact us HERE.

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Electrical Fire Safety Week

This week is Electrical Fire Safety Week which is a great initiative promoted by Electrical Safety First. They work closely with the Home Office and Fire and Rescue services across the UK to help raise awareness on the dangers of electrical fires. Statistics they have collected show that “over half of all accidental house fires are caused by electricity. And nine out of ten electrical fires are caused by electrical products.”

At Fulcher Edwards we also consider ourselves to be advocates for electrical safety and put it at the forefront of what we do. Therefore we would like to share with you our tips and advice on how to stay electrically safe at home and in the office!

PAT Testing

PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) ensures your electrical items are safe to use. A PAT testing engineer will carry out visual inspections and tests to confirm the safety of the items. PAT testing should be carried out annually and is particularly important in the workplace or if you’re a Landlord.

EICR 

The British Standards recommended that all homeowners have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) maximum every 10 years. Offices or rented accommodation should be every 5 years. EICRs establish how safe the electrics are in your building and will identify any potential hazards which could cause a fire. Following the electrician carrying out a thorough investigation, you will receive a report and recommendations which will keep your home in optimum electrical safety.

RCD

We always recommend RCD (Residual Current Device) protection to our customers. If you currently have no RCD protection, this will form as one of the recommendations in the report following your EICR. RCDs are a sensitive switching device that quickly turns off electricity when danger arises to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. RCDs turn off electricity in a fraction of a second and are far quicker and reliable than breakers and fuses.

Tradesman

Quality workmanship is all part of our service here at Fulcher Edwards. We are NICEIC registered electricians which means we will always be compliant to the highest standards of Part P building regulations. If you use an NICEIC registered electrician, you will be sure of a safe standard of work from a person who takes genuine pride in what they do.

Other things to consider:

  • Always turns off electrical items when not in use! If an item if plugged into a socket, turn the socket off and remove the plug to be extra safe.
  • Don’t overload your sockets or extensions leads. We understand that its unrealistic to have a plug socket for each item, however just be aware of putting to many high voltage items in one extension lead as this could result in a fire. Electrical Safety First have a brilliant interactive socket calculator which can be found here.
  • Carry out visual checks. If any cables, sockets, or plugs appear faulty or damaged it is best to contact an electrician.
  • Following on from last weeks blog about counterfeit items, always ensure you’re purchasing legit electrical items. A counterfeit may have not undergone thorough safety checks and therefore it could be faulty or possibly even deadly! Some products will also have the BSI Kitemark  on them which is the recognised symbol for quality and safety.
  • Its always a good idea to not carry out electrical D.I.Y. A simple job which goes wrong could ultimately cause severe and expensive damage. Or even worse it could cause a fire. Therefore it is always best to contact a qualified and registered electrician.
  • If worst comes to worst and a fire does start within your home, make sure your fire alarm is working! We always recommend you check your fire alarms weekly to ensure they’re still working correctly.

Join in with the Electrical Fire Safety Week conversations on twitter with hashtag #EFSW. For all your electrical needs including the ones mentioned above, please do not hesitate to contact us here!

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Dont Let Your Black Friday Bargain Be a Counterfeit!

Friday 23rd November is Black Friday which means one thing, Christmas shopping galore! Also a cheeky present for yourself possibly? Though if like myself you want to get a good deal but also want to avoid the Black Friday madness in the shops, online shopping is the best way to go. However, what if an electrical item you order online turns out to be counterfeit, faulty, or even possibly deadly?

Research conducted by Electrical Safety First found that nearly 1/3 of people in the UK have become victim to counterfeit scams when doing online shopping, that’s around 18 million people! Furthermore, they also found that 1 in 7 Brits have experienced loss or serious damage from an electrical item which they purchased online.

What should you look out for when buying electrical items online?

We fully support these tips and advice provided by Electrical Safety First:

  • If the price seems to good to be true, it probably is! Fake items are likely to be sold at a cheaper price than the high street value.
  • Don’t always believe seller and buyer reviews! Some reviews could be fake, especially if the reviewer isn’t verified.
  • Be aware of where a supplier is based. Fake products produced overseas are likely to not have undergone safety tests. We always suggest buying from recommended retailers.
  • If a seller states their item is ‘real’ or ‘genuine’ there is a good chance it isn’t either of those things. A reputable retailer does not need to sell their products like this.
  • Always look out for the padlock symbol when filling in your payment details online. It would be wise not to make payments on websites without this symbol. We also recommend PayPal as a safer way to pay as they provide buyer protection on purchases.

What are the tell tale signs of a fake item?

  • A legit electrical item will always have a safety certification on its label. Ensure the item you purchased has the certification on both the packaging AND the product itself.
  • If you purchased the item in the UK, double check that the electrical item comes with the three-pin UK plug and charger.
  • Is the packaging of a good quality? Check the packaging material is of a good standard and there is no grammatical errors or spelling mistakes.
  • A legitimate electrical item should come with all the parts, a manual, or a product registration card.

On arrival of the item it is important to thoroughly inspect both the packaging and the electrical item itself. Taking all the above into consideration, it should be fairly easy to spot a counterfeit product. If you’re still not sure, do not initially use the item and spot check it against the same item bought off the high street.

So it turns out you have bought a fake item, now what?

If you are unfortunate enough to have bought a fake item then we recommend you carry out the following steps:

  • Contact the supplier immediately who you bought the item from
  • You will have a legal right to a refund. However as mentioned above, it is always recommended that you pay via PayPal or Credit Card for that added protection. If the seller refuses to give you a refund, then go above them and contact the company in which they are selling through e.g. eBay or Amazon.
  • Leave accurate feedback to help alert future shoppers.
  • Report your faulty item to Trading Standards so that they can take action against the seller.

If you have any stories about counterfeit electrical items we would love to hear from you! Or if a faulty item causes you any electrical problems in London & Hertfordshire then please do contact us HERE.

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Dont overload your extension lead or wall socket this winter!

Now that the chilly weather is definitely upon us, thoughts are now turning to how we can keep warm over the Winter. Sometimes our heating needs a boost and the electric blankets and electric heaters start to make a return appearance once again.

Despite all this, it is mindful that a household electrical system is only designed to cope with so much. Unfortunately increasing numbers of households are overusing extension leads and in some cases actually overloading them with the wrong types of appliances.

What appliances could overload an extension lead?

It is actually smaller appliances such as kettles, toasters, and hair dryers which actually consume far more power than what you might imagine. In fact it is recommended that kettles and toasters actually have their own socket and are not used on extension leads at all. This is because a kettle alone would use the maximum electrical load on a 13 Amp extension lead which renders the rest of the extension lead useless!

Electric heaters can provide a great way of providing quick and effective heat into winter chilled rooms, they are great in a living room when plugged into an extension lead along with a laptop, printer and a router but be wary of using them with a hair dryer. An electric heater and a hair dryer plugged into a 13 Amp extension lead will overload it leading to risk of overheating and fire.

As a general rule, no more than 3000 Watts of energy should be plugged into a 13 Amp extension lead. Of course we don’t expect you to calculate how much energy each appliance uses, just be mindful of more power hungry appliances such as kettles, hair dryers and electric heaters which should ideally have their own socket for your own peace of mind.

What appliances will be ok to plug into an extension lead?

Appliances which consume less power will be better used in an extension lead. Such appliances include televisions, computer monitors, hard drives, laptops, wireless routers, mobile phone chargers, and games consoles etc. Even items which you would imagine might use more power such as electric blankets and hair straighteners are ok to use in an extension lead.

However before you plug in, it is important to check the Amps on your extension lead. We have based our post today on a 13 Amp extension lead. The capabilities of a lower Amp extension lead (like a 5Amp) will be much lower.

There is an interactive socket overload calculator which allows you to find out if you will overload your 13 Amp extension lead with a wide variety of household appliances. Take a look here

Where are extension leads suitable for use?

We recommend that extension leads are restricted to living areas and bedrooms within your home. In kitchens, appliances such as washing machines, tumble dryers and dishwashers would cause a 13 Amp extension lead to overload if more than once appliance was used at the same time. Of course extension leads should never be brought into bathrooms and WC areas in your home.

The Safer Way

In an ideal world, extension sockets should not be used at all. To maintain optimum safety levels in your home, you would plug each appliance into it’s own socket, however we do understand that in living rooms in particular it would not be practical to have a socket for every single thing!

In rooms such as kitchens, it is a good idea to ask a domestic electrician in your area to install extra sockets if you are finding it difficult to manage with what you have. In recent years, there has been increasing demand for additional kitchen sockets, and here at Fulcher Edwards we are often asked to fit additional sockets into our clients home. The installation of additional sockets should always be done by an electrical contractor who will ensure that they are safely installed and tested for your peace of mind.

Conclusion

A good time to consider your household needs for extra sockets is when you carry out home improvements in London and Hertfordshire. Redecorating a home often leads to replacement sockets for something more fitting with the theme. It is a great idea to ask your electrician to install additional sockets if you’re using extension leads currently. In fact all good NICEIC electricians in St Albans will ask you about your current electrical needs to ensure that you have enough electrical sockets.

Give us a call now on: 020 7922 1101 / 01923 616985 or send us a message HERE.

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Electrical Safety When Working From Home

Most of us wish we had the option to work from home in London and Hertfordshire from time to time, well I do anyway. The thought of being able to roll out of bed a little later, to have a leisurely breakfast, hey maybe cook myself some scrambled eggs on toast and then casually turn on my laptop in my PJ’s, all in the privacy of my own home sounds oh so great to me!

For those of you that do have that privilege of working at home, the team at Fulcher Edwards, your local, reliable and trustworthy Electricians in London and Hertfordshire, wondered how many homeworkers with electrical equipment provided by there employers, have some type of electrical maintenance in place or if there just left to get on with things? You know the ‘well it works’ attitude that some companies tend to suffer with unfortunately.

Although the home is the responsibility of the homeworker, they are only actually responsible for their own equipment which is purchased by themselves.

Employers should have steps in place like the ones below which are recommended by the HSE to keep their homeworkers safe and prevent harm or injury:

1) Check that plugs are not damaged
2) Check the domestic electrical systems are adequate for electrical equipment
3) Check plugs are correctly wired and maintained
4) Check that the outer covering of the cable or wire is gripped where it enters the plug or the equipment
5) Check that the outer corner of the equipment is not damaged, for example look for loose parts or screws
6) Check leads, wires or cables for damage to the outer covering
7) Check for burn marks or staining that suggests overheating
8) Repair electrical equipment that may cause harm or injury to the homeworker
9) Check that there are no trailing wires; if there are, tuck them out of the way,
for example under a desk or table to prevent accidents

The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 (HSWA) places duties on employers, self-employed people and employees. Under this law employers have a duty to protect the health, safety and welfare of their employees, this also includes homeworkers. The safe use of electricity at work is covered by the Electricity At Work Regulations 1989.

Although homeworkers have a slightly different set up, their safety is equally as important as workers in an office environment and electrical maintenance needs to be in place regarding their equipment such as portable appliance testing. The type of maintenance procedures employers have in place will depend on whether hazards are low or high risk.

If you work from home then why not speak with your employer about what procedures are in place? As maintaining your electrical equipment is important for a number of reasons, mainly to avoid electrical faults as they can cause a fire.

If you are a homeworker in London or Hertfordshire, as professional electricians in London and Hertfordshire, we would love to hear what electrical safety procedures your employer has in place?

Give us a call now on: 020 7922 1101 / 01923 616985 or send us a message HERE

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