RCD

Your Fuse Box Explained

All homes have a fuse box, otherwise known as a consumer unit. It is our homes electrical hub as it controls and distributes the electricity around the home. Your fuse box is your first point of call if you need to turn your electricity off in an emergency. Or if the electricity in your house suddenly stops working.

We would hope that you all know where you fuse box is located, but how many of you understand what each switch does?

Understanding Your Fuse Box

At an initial glance you fuse box can look complicated. Therefore we hope the following explanations will help you feel more comfortable managing your fuse box, especially in an emergency.

  1. The main switch: The main switch will enable you to instantly turn off your homes electrical supply. This will be the switch to flick off in the event of an emergency. However beware that if you have electric storage heaters you will have a separate fuse box for these. Therefore they will have their own main switch which you would also need to turn off to cut all electricity in your property.
  2. Residual Current Device (RCD): The RCD is the main safety feature within your fuse box. RCDs are a sensitive switching device that quickly turn off electricity when danger arises to reduce the risk of death or serious injury. RCDs turn off electricity in a fraction of a second. Last year we did a blog about the importance of RCD protection, therefore you can read that blog post HERE to find out more.
  3. Circuit Breakers: Circuit Breakers will automatically switch off a circuit if it detects a fault. By looking at your fuse box you would be able to see if a circuit breaker has ‘tripped’ as one or more of the switches would be flicked down. You can easily reset the switches yourself by flicking them back up, however its important to first identify the initial fault.
  4. Fuses: Older fuse boxes may have fuse wiring in place of circuit breakers. Similarly to circuit breakers they switch off a circuit if a fault is detected. However it does this by the fuse wiring overheating and melting which then switches off the circuit. Fuse box replacement in St Albans, London, Hertforshire

The above photo shows a modern fuse box which I have labelled accordingly. As explained above, older fuse boxes would have fuse wiring in replace of circuit breakers. We recommend all family members have familirisation with the workings of the fuse box.

Older homes might still have a fuse box which dates back to the 1960s. This can be identified if there are cast iron switches, a wooden back, and fuses. We would highly recommend you get this updated to a modern fuse box.

If you would like further advice or think your fuse box needs updating, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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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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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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