Posts by Amy Fulcher

Electrical Safety In Your Garden

The long weekend is in sight and the weather report is predicting sunshine and blue skies. This can mean only one thing for us Brits…BBQ time! If you’re planning on doing a spot of gardening, lighting up the BBQ, or just lazing around in the sun, make sure your garden is electrically safe!

Electrical Safety In Your Garden

  1. Majority of us keep our garden tools in a shed. Before you turn them on, firstly check them for water damage or cable damage by pests. Its a good idea to keep any garden tools in a dry, safe place. Most importantly, switch off and unplug all electrical items before cleaning or checking them.
  2. Make sure you have an RCD (Residual Current Device). If you don’t already have one in your fuse box, we recommend you invest in a RCD plug. RCDs protect against equipment fault or even accidentally chopping through a cable while gardening. An RCD cuts power in a fraction of a second which could save your life!
  3. We recommend you don’t take electrical equipment such as TVs or radios outside. All it would take is a few unexpected drops of rain, a spilt drink, or water from the sprinkler system to cause sparks to fly!
  4. Extension leads should never be used outside. Also make sure you have outdoor sockets installed. When using connectors, always make sure they are compatible to the actual equipment you are using and that they are designed for use outdoors.
  5. After bathing in the swimming pool (or paddling pool) ensure you are completely dry before handling any electrical equipment. This includes switches and sockets.
  6. If you want to install outdoor lighting for those warm, summer evenings. Make sure the lighting is suitable for outdoor use and is also weatherproof.
  7. Only buy garden tools from reputable manufacturers as they will have undergone thorough safety checks.
  8. Be aware of where cables are in your garden. It could be extremely dangerous if you accidentally cut through one while gardening. However if worst comes to worst, this is where RCD protection would step in.

There is nothing better than spending time in your garden on a sunny day. However its important to treat electricity with respect both inside and outside your house! If you’re ever unsure of anything then its always best to contact your local, registered electrician in St Albans, Hertfordshire and London.

We hope everyone enjoys the long Easter weekend. Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

Planning on working inside the home instead this weekend? Then check out our blog post all about electrical DIY!

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Keeping Your Child Electrically Safe This Easter

With the Easter holidays well underway, your little monkeys will be spending more time at home than usual. Especially with the unpredictability of the English weather, days out are not always an option! Therefore, now is a good time to check your home is electrically safe for not only your little ones, but also their friends during play dates. During this blog post we will outline a few simple steps to help minimise the risk of electrical accidents.

Keeping Your Child Electrically Safe

  1. Make sure you have RCD protection in your house. A modern fuse box will have an RCD built within it. RCDS turn off electricity in the fraction of a second to reduce the risk of death or serious injury.
  2. Turn off electrical appliances when not in use. Especially hot items such as irons, hair straighteners and curlers. Not only could these overheat and potentially cause a fire, they could also burn your child if they touch the item.
  3. Keep drinks away from electrical items. Also make sure your child is completely dry after a shower or bath before they touch an electrical item.
  4. Extension leads and sockets should not be overloaded! This is to avoid a build-up of heat which could potentially cause a fire. Electrical Safety First have a socket calculator which you can use to check your sockets HERE.
  5. Don’t leave any electrical cables trailing on the floor, or appliance cords in arms reach of a small child. A young child may be tempted to put the end of the cord in their mouth, or could trip over any untidy cables.
  6. If your child has an electrical gadget, make sure they turn it off when not in use. Furthermore, make sure they are using a branded charger to charge the item on a hard surface. Using fake chargers and charging the item on a unsuitable surface e.g. under a pillow, can be a major fire risk.
  7. For younger children you can use socket blanking plugs. Modern day sockets are generally not a serious risk, however socket blanking plugs can be used for extra peace of mind.

Its important to educate older children on electrical safety, especially when they are old enough to be left home alone. For younger children its important to take extra measures to keep them safe from electricity. Carry out visual checks on the sockets and cables in your house. If something doesn’t look right or if there is exposed wiring/burn marks present then contact your local, registered electrician.

We hope everyone enjoys their Easter! Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Fulcher Edwards Ltd – Your Industrial Electrician

Industrial electrician in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire

We talk a lot in our posts about how we help house holders with their electrics, but did you know that Fulcher Edwards are also industrial electrical contractors? We are just as at home working in industrial areas such as factories, warehouses, and car plants as we are working in offices and our clients homes.

Our team of expert and highly experienced industrial electricians in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire, work in a variety of industrial areas. Carrying out electrical maintenance, commissioning, testing of new installation, and ensuring the workplace remains not only electrically and fire safe, but also safe from a Health and Safety aspect.

What do we do?

You’ll normally find one of our industrial electricians busily carrying out testing, repairing or maintenance of machinery. Fully operational machinery is integral to business success and here at Fulcher Edwards we are committed to keeping operational downtime to an absolute minimum. Of course we will talk to you, our client, in full detail about what to expect whilst we carry out electrical work on your behalf, and to this end we are happy to work at a time that suits you. This includes evenings, weekends, and even overnight if required.

Expert advice from Hertfordshires leading electricians

At Fulcher Edwards, we go much further than simply carrying out industrial electrical work. We work with our clients designing and installing electrical installations that not only save money on energy costs and maintenance, but also work to promote employee comfort and essentially Health and Safety. One of the key projects we worked upon was in a printing factory replacing the outdated flickering ‘tube’ lighting. The main requirement during the factory refurbishment project was to find a lighting solution to overcome the outdated florescent tubes. As they were distorting the movement of machinery. The flickering of the lights made dangerous components of the printing press appear as if they were moving, when in fact they were still. (There were no ghosts involved!!)

The new lighting also produced dramatic energy savings and far improved performance.

How to find a good industrial electrician

We often get asked the question what is the difference between a domestic and industrial electrician? The rough answer is quite a bit! It is very important that when you hire an industrial electrician that they have experience working in an industrial environment. Unfortunately we have seen evidence on industrial jobs of domestic electricians attempting industrial work which they have no experience of. For example, we often come across PAT testing stickers on industrial machinery. PAT testing is for small electrical appliances.  PAT testing equipment is not suitable for testing on Industrial machinery.

Industrial electrical work advice

If you have an industrial electrical project coming up, and you’d like some advice, please do contact us HERE. We are always happy to discuss your best and most cost effective options.

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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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Electrical Safety In The Home

For the past 38 years we have provided electrical services across Hertfordshire and London. As I’m sure you can imagine, we have encountered some electrical horrors and very near misses over the years! This could be due to incompetent tradesman, electrical DIY, or faulty electrics.

Our most recent discovery was this socket outlet in a house in Kensington. The tradesman who installed the fridge had left the socket outlet in this condition from over 4 years ago! This was highly concerning for our engineer to discover as electrics like this can be fatal. There was risk of electric shock to the resident, but also electrical sockets like this could’ve caused the appliance to become very hot and potentially explode!

Electrical Safety Tips

Electricity was a brilliant discovery for the human race, however its important to be cautious with electricity as it can cause fatal injuries if mishandled. We recommend the following tips to optimise electrical safety in your home:

  1. Always use registered electricians. NICEIC, Elecsa, and NAPIT are UK registering bodies for electrical contractors. They will carry out thorough audits to assess the electrician is competent and works to the highest standard of safety and quality. The electrician will also have to work to the latest British safety Standards.  Electrical Safety First have a register in which you can find a local, registered electrician HERE.
  2. Do not carry out electrical DIY! According to Electrical Safety First, DIY causes half of electric shocks in UK households. The safety factor is a major concern, therefore its best to always use a registered electrician to carry out the works. Many DIY electrical incidences are caused by cutting through a power lead, not turning off electrical devices before working on them, and drilling into wiring. Always seek advice from a professional, and if you’re not sure then do not carry out the DIY works.
  3. Use Part P registered electricians in St Albans. As mentioned above, if you use a registered electrician they are likely to also meet Part P requirements. Part P is a building regulation which ensures the electrical installations within dwellings are safe. Majority of electrical works within a dwelling will be Part P affected. Therefore the works needs to be notified and inspected by a building control body to ensure they meet building regulations.
  4. Have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on your property. The EICR will highlight any internal wiring defects, as well as visual defects to your sockets or wiring which could cause a fire.
  5. Have a common sense approach with electricity. Do not overload sockets, do not leave electrical items charging while unattended, and contact an electrician if you notice any visual defects with your sockets or wires.

Its important to treat electricity with the utmost respect. Sometimes you can follow all the above advice and an electrical incident could still occur. However its important to eliminate the risk as much as possible.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for all your electrical needs or for further electrical advice.

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Keeping Your Pet Electrically Safe

Apparently it was national ‘Love Your Pet’ day on February 20th (who knew!). At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we’re big animal lovers and believe that every day should be ‘love your pet’ day. Therefore what better way to show your love than caring for their safety?

During the working day our pets are often home alone. Therefore it’s important to make sure there are no potential electrical hazards in the house which could cause a fire in your absence.

We recommend you take the following measures to eliminate the risk of harm to your pet:

• Don’t leave any electrical items charging while you’re not in the house.
• Be aware that some pets do like to chew on cables. Therefore it’s a good idea to keep your cables tidy and not trailing on the floor. If your pet chews through the cables insulation it could result in them electrocuting themselves.
• Ensure extension leads and sockets are not overloaded. This is to avoid a build-up of heat which could potentially cause a fire.
• Don’t leave portable heaters or electric fans on while unattended. Both of these items could injure your pet.
• Carry out visual checks on your sockets and cables. If burn marks are present or there is exposed wiring, it is best to call an electrician! Electrical Safety First has this great visual inspection app which you could use around your home.
• Don’t forget to make sure your hair straighteners and curlers are turned off and taken out of the socket. Not only could these burn your pets, but they could also cause a fire.

Many people consider their pet to be their baby. Therefore reflect on the electrical safety measures you would take for young children and relay those onto your pets. Don’t let them suffer for your carelessness!

For any electrical assistance in your home or workplace, speak with your local registered electrician in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire or please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Emergency Lighting Remedial Works

Following on from last weeks blog post, we thought this week we would discuss remedial works for if your emergency lights do fail during a test.

According to BS EN 1838:2013, Emergency Lights should stay luminated for a minimum of 1 hour. However this does vary between the size and complexity of a premise. For example, 1 hour duration should only be used in premises which can be evacuated immediately. 3 hour duration emergency lights should be used in premises which will not be evacuated immediately e.g. sleeping accommodation. A risk assessment should determine the required duration.

What Are Remedial Works?

Remedial works are required if there is failures in any part of the system during testing. Failures would include; a luminaire completely failing to luminate or not staying luminated for the required duration. A competent person should carry out the repairs to the system. The responsible person of the premises should consider alternative procedures until the system is repaired. Alternative safety procedures could include the following:

  1. Issuing torches to all occupants
  2. Inform occupants to be extra vigilant until the system is repaired
  3. Carry out extra safety patrols
  4. Limit use to parts of the building

The competent person should also update your log book with the repairs which have been carried out. Here at Fulcher Edwards, your local, reliable and trustworthy electricians in London, St Albans and Hertfordshire, we also issue certificates of repairs to show due diligence.

This week we have carried out emergency lighting remedial works in a restaurant in London. Their 3 hour testing highlighted 30 failed luminaires! This could have caused potentially serious visibility issues during the event of an emergency. We hope this emphasises the importance of testing your emergency lights, but also carrying out repairs if necessary.

If you require assistance with the testing of your emergency lights or remedial works then please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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School Emergency Lighting Testing

Last week our Electrician Barry spent 2 days carrying out emergency lighting testing in a school in North West London. We carry out maintenance works for a variety of schools across London and Hertfordshire. Our Electricians are DBS checked and can attend during school holidays if preferred.

What is Emergency Lighting?

Emergency lighting is a legal requirement for all businesses and organisations as defined by the Fire Regulatory Reform Order 2005 and British Standards BS 5266 Part 1: 2016 (Code of practice for the emergency lighting of premises) and BS EN 1838.

Emergency lighting is a back–up for when the main power supply cuts out, resulting in darkness. This could present a danger to the occupants of a building. Therefore emergency lights must operate automatically in all circulation areas and escape routes. They must also be adequate for people to see clearly enough to navigate obstacles and find a way out of the building safely.

Emergency Lighting should be inspected and tested at regular intervals. A monthly function test should be carried out in-house or by a professional. A full 3-hour duration test should be carried out annually by a professional. A certificate should also be issued for your records.

Emergency Lighting testing needs to be documented into a logbook. An Emergency lighting logbook provides the facility to record alterations, repairs, maintenance, and inspection and testing of emergency lighting installations. It will also provide details of the certification issued. The maintenance company carrying out the yearly emergency lighting testing should supply you with a logbook.

If you require emergency lighting testing at one of your properties then why not contact us HERE for a free quote? If you choose Fulcher Edwards to carry out your emergency lighting installation or maintenance in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire,  we can provide you with a logbook, certificate for your records and training if required. We can also assist with any remedial works that may be necessary to keep you compliant with British Standards.

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What Is There To Know About Lot 20?

Last Friday we saw students across the country take part in a global campaign for action on climate change. It was inspiring to see children of all ages walking the streets urging the government to declare a climate emergency. Equally, it’s disappointing that students feel they have to miss out on their education time in order for the government to take action. Especially as they are suffering for the previous generation’s mistake.

Despite the fact that majority of the harm has already been done, most of us are trying to take little steps forward to slow down the damage which is being done to our planet. Electric cars are all the rage with Audi most recently revealing their first electric model – the E-Tron. Within our homes we are reducing our plastic usage, using energy efficient lighting, and an initiative which has most recently come to my attention… Lot 20.

What is Lot 20?

As of January 2018, a new EU legislation was put into effect called Lot 20. Lot 20 aims to reduce energy which is produced from sources which use electricity, gas, or liquid fuels to heat our homes and work spaces. According to Ecodesign half of the energy used within a household goes towards heating the space and water. Therefore improving on energy efficiency within these areas should drastically reduce our carbon footprint.
Lot 20 will affect the following products:

  1. Direct acting heaters
  2. Radiant heaters
  3. Storage heaters
  4. Underfloor heating
  5. Portable heaters
  6. Gas fires
  7. Electric fires
  8. Infra-red heaters

Therefore as of January last year, manufactures will no longer be able to produce the above products if they do not meet the new energy efficient standards. Products produced before this time period will still be able to be sold and used. Eventually that stock will sell out and only new compliant models will be available.
According to Ecodesign, new compliant heaters will have the following smart technology built within them:

  1. Electronic time and temperature controls
  2. Open window sensing technology
  3. Predictive start functionality
  4. Remote app based control

I think it’s great to see that more and more companies are making changes to assist with carbon reduction and hitting energy targets. If you’re a supplier, installer, or customer you can check whether your product is compliant to Lot 20 HERE.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE for assistance with electric heater installation in St Albans, London and Hertfordshire, or any other electrical services which we provide.

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New Rules for EICRs in Rental Properties

In recent news, the Housing Minister has agreed to tighten up electrical safety rules in rental accommodation. These extra measures will provide greater protection to the tenants, but also to the Landlords.

Landlords have an obligation to ensure their rental accommodation is meeting electrical safety standards. The British Standards recommend that Landlords have an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) every 5 years OR at the change of tenancy. However up until now there has been no legal requirement to ensure that the inspectors they use for the EICRs have specific qualifications or a certain level of competence. Therefore, the Housing Ministers will also now be publishing guidance which highlights the minimum level of qualifications and competence required of the inspectors. This provides extra reassurance to both the Landlord and Tenants.

What is involved in an EICR?

An EICR involves a skilled person carrying out inspection and testing to ensure the installation is of a satisfactory condition. The process is mainly a visual inspection to ensure there are no exposed wires, damaged sockets etc. Electrical tests will also be carried out to confirm disconnection times in the event of an electric shock.  The main purpose of an EICR is to test the internal wiring of a building. The inspection should highlight any defects which could potentially cause a fire or affect the safety of persons.

At Fulcher Edwards we take pride in always providing a high standard of electrical safety. This is why each year we undergo rigorous audits to meet NICEIC, SafeContractor, and BAFE accreditations. However not all Electricians put the same level of importance on electrical safety and standards. Therefore these extra measures will provide assurance to the tenants that their home is safe, but also their will be a material improvement to the Landlords property. Failing to comply with these new measures will result in financial penalties for the Landlords.

If you are a Landlord or Tenant and would like to have an EICR carried out on your property. Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

 

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