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10 Years of Service at Fulcher Edwards Ltd

Claire Fulcher-Powell Electricians in St Albans, Hertfordshire and London

Claire Fulcher-Powell

Fulcher Edwards Ltd prides itself on being a family business. Our director Michael Fulcher, operates the company alongside his wife and 2 daughters. His eldest daughter, Claire Fulcher-Powell celebrated her 10 years of service with the company on the 1st June! Therefore, in celebration of Claire’s long service with Fulcher Edwards Ltd we thought we would ask Claire a few questions about her time in the company:

Amy: ‘Congratulations on working at Fulcher Edwards for 10 years! What does your role entail?
Claire: ‘Thank you! I am the Operations Manager for the company. Therefore, I am in charge of booking in works, client liaison, ordering materials, and office management. However I am also responsible for all aspects of HR, Health and Safety, and audit management. Its a busy role for sure!’

Amy: ‘Wow it sounds it! What would you say the biggest challenge is of working for the family business?’
Claire: ‘One of the biggest challenge is trying to keep a healthy balance between family and work life. Its important to not always talk about work when spending time as a family! Also, there are higher expectations of you. I also find it difficult not to get emotionally involved with the company. As a family business, you have a personal attachment to it and therefore its hard not to take it personally if things go wrong which are sometimes out of your control.’

Amy: ‘That’s completely understandable. What would you say your greatest achievement has been in the last 10 years?’
Claire: ‘Due to the economic climate, there has been a lot of difficult changes which have happened over the past 10 years. We have lost big clients due to a change in their circumstances, which then massively impacted us! I’m proud to say though that we have always managed to pull through and keep the company running. Also, when I first joined the company I very much created the marketing role. I got Fulcher Edwards onto social media and started looking at ways to further advertise the business. We also got featured in a couple of magazine articles which I was pretty proud of!’

Amy: ‘Yes that is certainly something to be proud of! What is your favourite aspect of your role?’
Claire: ‘Most definitely winning a job and getting new clients! Also receiving positive feedback is really great. It makes all the hard work worthwhile.’

Amy: ‘Okay great. Finally, what’s next for Fulcher Edwards?’
Claire: ‘We’re not 100% sure what lies ahead at the moment, especially with Brexit on the horizon. We have already noticed a slight decline in work due to people being cautious with their money. For this year, I think we have to just batten down the hatches and see what the outcome of Brexit is. I would also like to keep slowly growing the business and gaining more clients in the Hertfordshire area.’

For all your electrical needs, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Apprenticeships Within The Electrical Industry

 

Electrical apprenticeship in London, Herfordshire and St Albans

Electrical apprenticeship in London, Herfordshire and St Albans

Research conducted by the Electrical Contractors Association (ECA) shows that only 8% of school leavers are being advised to seek apprenticeships! Due to this, employers feel that schools are not preparing students with the correct skill set to pursue an electrotechnical/engineering career.

At Fulcher Edwards Ltd we fully support apprenticeships and have hired a number of apprentices throughout our 38 years of service. Our Managing Director completed a City & Guilds apprenticeship back in 1975 and has been the owner of his own company since 1981. Therefore, it goes to show how far an apprenticeship can take you! Unfortunately, apprenticeships are often perceived as the ‘easy’ and ‘low-paying’ career route.

According to the Electrotechnical Skills Partnership (TESP) over half of employers said that apprentices often had unsatisfactory attitudes, a lack of knowledge, and qualifications. Employers also expressed concerns that schools are not teaching students basic electrical principles within their physics lessons. Furthermore, this lack of electrical theory and knowledge could be discouraging students to pursue a career within the electrical field.

School leavers also appear to be lacking in basic maths skills, oral and written English communication, and having a decent work ethic. Therefore they show a lack of respect to employers through poor timekeeping.

The ECA and TESP are aiming to encourage students into the electrotechnical sector by launching a series of programmes. This will include enhancing the electrical careers website, promoting work experience opportunities, and encouraging industry experts to become part-time lecturers. They aim to close the gap between education and the electrical industry through engagement with employers and local schools.

There is a lack of good candidates applying to train within the sector, therefore its important to start eliminating this stigma surrounding apprenticeships. University is not the route for everyone, and working as an electrician can be a rewarding, fulfilling, and well-paying career. Furthermore, apprenticeships give young people the opportunity to gain work experience, recognised qualifications, and even more importantly to earn some money!

What are your thoughts on apprenticeships? Do you think electrotechnical should be recognised as an academic subject?

If you require any electrical assistance, please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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10 Dangerous Electrical Mistakes

Electrical mistakes can happen easily and it’s every day mistakes that quickly land homeowners in deep water.

According to recent research, more than 80 million accidents happen in British homes each year causing injury or property damage due to unnecessarily risky behaviour.

Simple Electrical Mistakes That Endanger The Lives Of Homeowners

As electricians in Hertfordshire 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 at risk of electrical danger. 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:

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

For further electrical safety advice within the home, check out one of our recent blog posts HERE.

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

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Mental Health Awareness Week

This week is mental health awareness week. Mental health is a subject particularly close to my heart, and everyone can suffer with mental health issues. Generating more awareness of mental health helps eliminate the stigma which constantly surrounds it.

The Electrical Industries Charity (EIC) provide support and advice to those who work in the electrical industry. On their website they have a mental health calendar where they focus on key tops which could affect your mental health. They also offer mental health awareness training, and mental health first aider training. According to the EIC, 1 in 4 people are now diagnosed with a mental health disorder. There is also alarming rates of attempted suicide.

Signs and Symptoms

Early intervention is extremely important when diagnosing a mental health disorder. The EIC recommend you be aware of the following signs and symptoms:

  • Exhausted and tearful
  • Frequent headaches and stomach upsets
  • Change in sociability
  • Less confident and disinterested in life
  • Poor performance or time-keeping at work
  • Moody or uncommunicative at work

This is only to name a few, and signs and symptoms can vary depending on the individual and disorder. You can find out more HERE.

Improving Your Mental Wellbeing

  1. Relax – Life can be hectic, however amongst the chaos its important to take some time out for yourself. Whether that be going for a walk, reading a book, or catching up on your favourite TV programme, its important to switch off sometimes. Meditation is also supposed to be very beneficial for your mental health. Apps such as Headspace and Calm are highly recommended when beginning meditation.
  2. Exercise – Being active is hugely beneficial to your overall wellbeing. The release of endorphins helps improve your mood, and also decreases stress levels. Not all of us enjoy exercising, however it can be as simple as going for a walk or a bike ride. I personally find that getting fresh air really helps clear my mind. With exercise classes such as Zumba, Clubbercise, and BOUNCE, exercise can be a lot of fun! Need exercise which is low impact on your joints? Try swimming, yoga, or walking.
  3. Healthy Lifestyle – Your overall lifestyle contributes to your mental health. Having a healthy diet, plenty of sleep, and exercising can all have a positive impact. However we all have the odd late night, drink to much alcohol, or overindulge in chocolate and takeaways. This is nothing to feel guilty about, life is all about balance at the end of the day!
  4. Socialise – Socialising with friends and family is extremely important. One of the biggest causes of depression is loneliness. Therefore do make time for others in your life, as talking alone can be really beneficial when you are feeling upset or anxious. If you are feeling lonely and have nobody you can confide in, Mind have helplines you can get in contact with. They can also suggest local groups where you could meet new people.  A pet can also be a great companion.
  5. Hobbies – Starting a new hobby or learning a new skill can be perfect at taking your mind off things. Hobbies help you focus on the task ahead, and you get the satisfaction of learning something new or creating something from scratch.

Getting Help

We are by no means mental health professionals, however we know how difficult life can be at times. If you’re struggling then make sure to confide in a friend, family member, or even a work colleague. It is also important to seek help from a health care professional. Your doctor can provide you with advice, and also offer counselling or medication if required. Mental health is alarmingly common and there really is nothing to be ashamed or embarrassed about.

If you or someone you love is suffering with a mental health disorder, Mind list several helplines HERE where you can gain support and advice for various issues.

At Fulcher Edwards Ltd, electricians in St Albans, we always encourage good mental health and like to eliminate any pressure from our clients. If we can provide any electrical support or advice then please do not hesitate to contact us HERE.

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Lighting Design Ideas For Your Home

We spend majority of our free time at home, and our homes lighting can have more of an impact than you think on our emotional and physical wellbeing. Therefore its important your homes aesthetics and lighting are to your taste. Below we provide lighting design advice for the different rooms in your home.

The KitchenLiving room lighting design and installation in London, St Albans and Hertfordshire

The kitchen is often referred to as the heart of the home, and good lighting is vital for food preparation.  Depending on the layout of your kitchen, under-cabinet lights are ideal for lighting up your worktops when preparing food. A beautiful chandelier or swanky pendant lighting works well over an island or kitchen table. LED spotlights can provide even lighting to other areas within your kitchen. Alternatively, LED strip or rope lighting can create a more modern design. Cool white lighting creates a crisp and modern ambience, which is ideal for social and stimulating environments such as the kitchen.

The Living Room

The living room is often the cosiest room within the house and therefore its important for the lighting to create a relaxing ambience. Wall lights, floor lamps, table lamps, and spotlights all work well within the living room. Directional spotlights are perfect for focussing in on photos or art work which you may have hanging on the wall. Floor lamps are ideal for lighting up reading chairs. We always recommend having lighting on a dimmer, then you can adjust as required. If you would like a more modern feel to the standard dimmer switch, you could have a lighting control panel installed instead. Warm white lights produce a yellow glow which creates a relaxing and cosy atmosphere.

The Bedroom

Similarly to the living room, we want our bedrooms to evoke feelings of relaxation, especially before bedtime. Therefore dimmers should definitely be a consideration. You can have your lights turned up brightly when getting ready in the evening, and dimmed when winding down for bed. Bedside table lamps and wall lights are perfect around your bed as reading lights. We recommend having spotlights above your wardrobes in order to effectively light up your clothes when choosing an outfit. If you have a large bedroom, a chandelier or pendant light in the centre of the room can be a nice feature. Once again, warm white lights are ideal for this type of environment.

Bathroom lighting design and installation in London, St Albans and HertfordshireThe Bathroom

Neutral white lighting is ideal for brightening up your bathroom. Spotlights work well to provide even lighting throughout the bathroom. Vanity lighting over a bathroom sink and mirror could also provide a nice feature. Make sure your shower is well lit with recessed lighting overhead. Larger bathrooms could benefit from having a small chanderlier or pendant light, especially over the bathtub. If you have an en-suite bathroom, make sure the lighting coordinates well with the bedroom lighting.

Hallway/Staircase

We all admire those houses with a grand staircase and large chandelier hanging overhead. If your house is large enough then a chandelier can be a great feature. However if chandeliers aren’t your style or your house is of a smaller size, stair wall lights can provide a modern and stylish feel. Furthermore, you can continue the stair wall lights throughout your upstairs hallway. Ceiling spotlights and wall lights are perfect in hallways for evenly lighting up the path. If you have furniture within your hallways, then you could utilise these by putting table lamps on top. If you have a variety of different lighting you can then adjust to the type of ambience you would like. Neutral white lighting also works well within the hallway and staircase.

We don’t class ourselves as interior designers, however we do happen to know a thing or two about lighting! One of our friendly electricians would be more than happy to provide lighting design ideas and tips for your property during a site visit. LED lamps are the ‘fashion’ nowadays, they’re also energy efficient, last longer, and are cheaper to maintain. As mentioned above, we also recommend dimmer switches or panels as its provides you with flexibility for your lighting.

Please do not hesitate to contact us HERE if you would like us to assist you with the lighting design in your property.

Interested in lighting up your garden? Take a read of one of our previous blog posts HERE where we provide advice on garden lighting design.

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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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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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