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A Guide To Your Fuse Box

In these strange times, we are all spending a lot more time at home and in the garden (if we are lucky enough!)  So we thought we’d give you a mini guide to something we all have in our homes and probably take for granted that they’re keeping us safe.

Fuse Boxes – also known as Consumer Units – are used to control and distribute electricity around our homes.

You probably know where your fuse box is located in your home.  It is important in case we ever need to turn the electricity off in an emergency.

A fuse box contains three things:

  1. Mains Switch

This allows you to turn off the electricity supply, and so should be easily accessible.  Some homes will have more than one mains switch if there is more than one fuse box.

2. Circuit Breakers or Fuses

Most homes built after 1960 will have circuit breakers. These are automatic protection devices that switch off a circuit if they detect a fault.  Despite being a similar size to fuses, they offer more precise protection.  If they “trip”, you can reset the switch after finding and correcting the fault.

Fuses have a piece of special fuse running between two screws.  If a fault occurs, or in the event of an overload, the fuse wire will become hot and melt.  The melted fuse then breaks the circuit, disconnecting it and keeping you safe.

3. RCDs

RCDs (residual current devices) are switches that trip a circuit under certain conditions and disconnect the electricity supply.  If it detects an imbalance in current, or electricity flowing down an unintended path, it will switch the circuit off, reducing the risk of death or serious injury from an electric shock.

If you have a wooden back on your fuse box, a mixture of fuses and circuit breakers, or no RCD protection, then you might benefit from upgrading to a new consumer unit that would offer you more protection.  It is also worth considering if you are planning an extension or an improvement project or your fuse box is overloaded.

A professionally installed consumer unit by a certified electrician will improve your electrical safety as well as put your mind at rest by checking the integrity of the existing circuits in your property.

Fulcher Edwards carries out all types of electrical services, including fuse box replacement in homes in and around St. Albans. Why not give us a call us today for a free quotation on 01923 616985 or drop us an email on our Contact Us Page.

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Test It Tuesday St. Albans!

You may have noticed Fulcher Edwards like to remind you guys each week to Test It Tuesday aka #TestItTuesday via our Twitter, Facebook and our Instagram page. We do this EVERY Tuesday!

The reason we do this life can get in the way and its very easy to forget to test your smoke alarm and it could save your life.

We know with everything going on right now with Coronavirus is taking up a lot of our attention and rightly so, its a scary unusual time for us all. However, as most of us our working from home and schooling from home currently, its never been a better time to get into the habit of testing your smoke alarm each week.

Smoke alarms require very little maintenance but you want to know it will work should a fire break out at your property and you will only know if it will work effectively if it is tested regularly to make sure it’s working. A simple press of the test button on the alarm will show you instantly and could save lives.

If you don’t have any smoke alarms in your home or landlords property currently then why not get in touch and we can advise what you need, how many and where. All our electricians are Aico Approved Installers and can suggest the right ones for you. Quotations are free.

Though we are only carrying out essential works we can still provide you with quotations and discuss any requirements you may have

smoke detector of fire alarm in action, white background

. Just contact us via our website or give us a call on 01923 616985.

 

 

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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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Dont Let Electricity Ruin Your Exercise Goals!

The recycling bins are full, cupboards are empty, and my trousers are feeling a little bit too snug for my liking! All the signs that Christmas has well and truly been and gone. Despite the post-Christmas blues, we all ring in the New Year with good intentions of ‘healthy eating’ and ‘regular exercise.’ Therefore if like myself you’ve been brushing the dust off the Cross Trainer, remember to also check that your electrical exercise equipment is still safe to use!

Safety Checks To Follow

  1. Firstly, its a good idea to check the cables are in a satisfactory condition.  The cabling should be intact and not frayed or exposed. Furthermore, check that there is no damage to the plug top.
  2. If your electric exercise equipment has been stored in a damp area, remember to take extra care before re-energising. Shamefully my Cross Trainer has been residing in the Shed for the past couple of years! Therefore, I left it inside for 24-48 hours to dry out before I switched it on.
  3. If you need to clean down the exercise equipment, remember to keep water away from the sockets and power outlets.
  4. Like all electrical equipment, its a good idea to switch the machine off by the socket when not in use.
  5. If you’re looking to purchase electric exercise equipment, always buy from a reputable retailer. The reason for this is because the product would’ve undergone thorough safety checks. Also, the product will come under warranty if a problem occured.
  6. For extra reassurance, you could also get the exercise equipment PAT tested. Click HERE to find out more about Portable Appliance Testing (PAT).

When staying safe with electricity, its important to apply a level of common sense. However if you’re ever unsure then its always best to contact a local, registered and qualified electrician in London and Hertfordshire. Remember to never carry out D.I.Y electrical works!

For all your electrical needs in 2019, contact Fulcher Edwards HERE. Happy New Year everyone!

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Dont Let Your Electricity Give You a Fright This Halloween

Halloween is the season to be scary and each year it is turning into a bigger event in this country, so why not get into the spirit of things by adding some spooky lighting to your own haunted house!

There is some great spooky figurines and lighting ideas to be found on the Internet in preparation for Halloween that we have shared with you below, but it is still important to consider electrical safety when purchasing and decorating your home for Halloween to keep your trick or treater safe.

Ghostly Pathways

Add some dark & spooky scenes to your pathway by using floodlights as they cover a large area with colored light. The right color sets the mood for your display, so plan the look you want and choose accordingly. Blue floodlights add to the ghostly feel of a graveyard scene, while red lights enhance a naughty devil theme. Purple lights and red lights can also help set the mood for a vampire setting. Green lights bring a spooky-faced witch to life. Floodlights get very hot, so make sure they are set up safely away from children, pets and combustible material like dry leaves with no cables causing a trip hazard. It is important that any light you use outside are approved for outdoor use so always check before buying.

Webbed Doorways & Stairs

As recommend on lights4fun why not add novelty cobwebs to your Halloween displays, however keep them safe and choose only LED, low voltage or battery powered fairy lights.

Spooky Pumpkins

Don’t use candles in your pumpkin this year and put yourself at risk of a fire hazard, use battery operated tea lights instead. The beauty of battery operated LED candles is that you have the safety of a no naked flame, no fire risk, but a realistic animated effect. LED Tea Lights will never get hot and are perfect around home decorations, fabrics and furniture. Perfect around children and no re-lighting flames when the pumpkin is on the door step!We loved these at lights4fun.

No Haunting Overloads

If you need to use an extension lead when decorating your haunted house remember not to overload the circuit by plugging to many lights into it. This can cause the wiring to overheat which can be a potential fire hazard, instead spread the lighting load over different circuits or lessen the lighting load.

Frightful Extension Leads

Replace any cords that are frayed or show signs of wear, and avoid a trip hazard by keeping them out of the way of where people will be walking. Rain and ground moisture can affect their operation and could cause a dangerous situation as electricity and water do not mix, so keep them inside.

Always roll your extension lead completely out and never leave it partly on the coil otherwise it could suffer heat damage.

Prevent a Freakish Fire

Always turn off your lighting displays when your haunted evening is finished as a short circuit could easily cause a fire. Always make sure that any portable electrical equipment that is used in the garden are protected with an RCD.

If your electricity ends up playing tricks on you this Halloween, please do not hesitate to contact us!

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Burns Baby Burns!

Many household electrical appliances have the potential to cause serious burns and with the nights (and occasional days) suddenly having turned chillier, householders are now reaching for additional sources of heat.

Electrical items such as fan heaters, electric blankets, not to mention the usual suspects like irons, kettles and hair straighteners all have the potential to cause serious burns. It is bad enough receiving a burn as an adult but children suffer the worst from burns due to their skin being a lot thinner than that of an adult. In fact, hair straighteners misuse accounts for one tenth of overall child related burns in the UK.

The dangers that are present

Heated electrical appliances present a particular risk to children as they can often be mistaken as toys. The bright colours of hair straighteners, the moving components of electric heaters, pull cords and long cables all present a problem. A Childs fingers can become stuck in the grills of electric heaters causing severe burns and all this can happen even if you are watching your children. All parents will know where we’re coming from on this!

Burn hazards spotted this week by Fulcher Edwards

Over the past week we have spotted several ‘burning problems’ in households where we’ve been carrying out electrical work.

-Open fires left without any form of fire guard with a young child running about.
-An iron left to cool down unattended in a kitchen. A child could have easily grabbed the cord or switched it back on.
-Hair straighteners left switched on accidentally whilst the householder was out at work.

Top Tips for staying burn free this Winter

As electricians in Hertfordshire, we have unfortunately seen many instances over the years where electrical accidents and burns could have been easily avoided. It takes seconds for a nasty electrical burn to occur and years sometimes to try and sort it out afterwards.

One of the easiest ways to keep electrical appliances safer is to switch off and unplug when not in use. It is all too easy to leave appliances switched on after using them, but remember most burns occur from unattended appliances.

Hair straighteners make up a large proportion of household burns so why not consider a using a heat pouch? Not only will this protect against burns but will also stop damage occurring to surfaces from the heat and also fire. It is always awkward to know where to place hot straighteners after use, a heat pouch is a safe and easy option. We know for sure that two leading hair straightener manufacturers provide heat proof pouches as standard with their products. .

When you might need an electrician

The last thing you need is your electrical appliance malfunctioning when it’s in use, so keep a close check on what’s going on with your electrics. Signs that you need to call an electrician are singe marks on sockets, warm sockets after use, discolouration or hairline cracks on sockets, buzzing noises or odours coming from the socket or sparks when you switch it on or off. These are the main problems, there are more, so if you have any doubt about the safety of your electrics do not leave it to chance and call a qualified and registered electrician as soon as possible.

As electricians in Hertfordshire, we carry out electrical work across many homes including privately owned and rented properties and businesses such as letting agents.

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How to Avoid an Electrical Fire

Electrical fires are one of the main causes of fire starting in the home and very often the fire is caused by something that could have been prevented if fixed by the home owners.

It’s not just home holders that need to avoid electrical fires, it is business owners too. The same electrical recommendations apply whether in the home or work place.

There are two main components to electricity – that is the wiring itself in the property and electrical appliances. If either (or both) of these are defective, then the risk of fire is of course far greater.

To keep yourself, family and colleagues safe you need to look out for a few simple indicators, as well as follow a few common sense procedures to avoid an electrical fire.

Wiring

If you notice any of the following problems, then consult a qualified electrician at the earliest opportunity:

Hot plugs and sockets
Lights that flicker
Scorch marks on sockets, fuse boxes and switches
Fuses that blow for no obvious reason

Here at Fulcher Edwards we have vast experience in dealing with fire safety and not only do we offer a wide range of electrical services in Hertfordshire and London, we can also advise on fire safety both in the home and business. We can also provide a workplace fire training course.

Electrical Appliances

Some of these recommendation may seem obvious but it is not uncommon for us to visit properties and business premises and find electric heaters in bathrooms, towels covering electric heaters, and multiple adapters in plug sockets. Quite often, the householder is aware of the risk they are taking and because they haven’t yet experienced a fire assume that all is safe. It can take some time for a fire to occur, it doesn’t have to happen straight away!

Turn off and unplug all electrical appliances when you are not using them except those that are meant to be permanently switched on (like the fridge or DVD recorder).
Make sure plugs have the correct fuse for the appliance being used. If in doubt, refer to the manufacturers instructions
Use only one plug in each socket.
If you have to use an adapter, use a fused ‘in line’ type.
Avoid multi-way adapters and overloading electric sockets by using several adapters as they may overheat.
Don’t run leads or cables under carpets or rugs – you won’t be able to see if they become damaged.
Check for signs of loose wiring and faulty plugs or sockets (such as scorch marks or flickering lights) and have any problems you find fixed by an electrician.
Replace worn, damaged or taped up leads and cables.
Always use a proper ironing board and turn off the iron after use. Make sure the iron is left to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that may catch fire.
Always switch off hair straighteners/curling tongs after use and leave to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that can catch fire.

Checking regularly for faults with wiring and electrical appliances can help avoid an electrical fire. Electrical fires have caused devastation to homes and businesses across the UK as well as claimed lives. A few minutes of being vigilant on a daily basis could save your life.

Electrical Safety First also have a great system on their website in which you can check if any of your home appliances or electrical equipment have been recalled. A product will be recalled by the manufacturer if it is deemed not to be safe, and therefore increase the chance electrical fires. It is also a good idea to register your new appliances as that will enable the manufacturer to easily get in touch with you if your product is being recalled. You can register your appliances here!

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Workplace lighting got you feeling blue?

If you are a business owner, you will already be aware of the importance of the correct lighting requirements in the workplace.

Incorrect lighting has been the cause of many serious accidents in the workplace – in a production environment, it can cause obscurity of vision – an example of this would be a machine could appear stopped when in fact it is still moving.

Poor lighting in an office environment can lead to eye strain, fatigue and uncooperative staff. Staff working in front of screens all day need the correct lighting to ensure they do not endure health problems.

When considering lighting, it is important to think about the type of work that is going to be carried out – will it be close, accurate work or will it be for more general purposes such as corridor lighting? To ensure the right type of lighting will be installed in your business, consideration must be given to colour, glare, and contrast amongst many other factors.

This is why it is important to use a qualified electrician to design and install your lighting requirements in your business. Fulcher Edwards are lighting designers and installers in Hertfordshire and have been taking care of the lighting in many businesses over the last 37 years.

Deciding on the correct lighting in the workplace can seem like a technical and difficult task – this is why it is better to leave it to an electrician who understands the workplace lighting regulations and who can work with you to develop a great cost effective lighting solution for your business premises.

Recent studies carried out by the Health and Safety Executive have shown that employees like to control their own lighting and this increases job satisfaction and decrease stress in the workplace. For more information about lighting in the workplace including the problems associated with having inadequate lighting take a look here!

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What Would You Do In The Case of a Fire?

Would you a) Be alerted by your smoke alarm? b) I guess my smoke alarm would alert me but I don’t test it, or c) What smoke alarm, do I need one?

Does this scenario seem a bit daft? It will if you have smoke alarms fitted in your home and you test them on a weekly basis – if this is you – then you are in the MINORITY of people who have a smoke alarm in their home AND test it regularly.

If you are a landlord or business  – are you staying legal?

The Regulatory Reform Fire Safety Order 2005 (FSO) is the primary legislation for all non-domestic premises in England and Wales, including the common parts of blocks of flats and houses in multiple occupation (HMOs). Failure to comply with the FSO is an offence punishable by hefty fines or imprisonment.

So where do you start particularly if you are a new landlord? The good news is that you are in safe hands with Fulcher Edwards.

We can take care of the whole fire safety requirements and legalities of your rental properties and business premises in London and Hertfordshire.
We don’t come and install whats needed and then leave, we design each system for every client to ensure its effectiveness in the event of fire. It is then installed by an expert team of compliant, qualifed electricians to current British Standards and then tested. This is all part of our standard service.

Our service does not end here……we also offer maintenance services – you can rely on Fulcher Edwards to not only install your fire system, but to also maintain it – we’re proud to continue to put our name to our installations long after the first install. We also provide fire warden training as well as fire extinguisher installation and maintenance.

We have many clients in London and Hertfordshire, both big and small – and our guranteed high standard of work is ensured across each and every installation whatever the size.
We also work with many domestic customers who are keen to ensure their home safety. Fire safety goes much further than a cheap battery alarm, give us a call to discuss your requirements – Fulcher Edwards can install a great fire safety package in your own home – without all the annoying beeps that keep you up all night.

For more information about our fire safety services we offer click HERE

You will also find information about the complimentary services offered by Fulcher Edwards including emergency lighting services.

Don’t compromise your safety – choose Fulcher Edwards for all your fire needs.

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Maintain Your Emergency Lighting!

A week rarely goes by without the team at Fulcher Edwards being slightly concerned by the lack of interest some companies have in maintaining there Emergency Lighting in their building, yet it plays such a major part should an emergency like a power failure occur. Though some companies will happily take our advice as they were not aware of there full responsibilities before, some do just push it to one side.

The British Standards (BS5266) recommends that emergency lighting systems be regularly serviced by ‘competent’ persons, which means these being persons with the necessary knowledge, skills and training to undertake emergency lighting servicing procedures.

The Purpose of Emergency Lighting?

1) To illuminate escape route signs in a building to allow for safe movement and evacuation in a emergency such as a mains failure

2) They ensure that fire alarm call points and fire equipment provided along the escape routes can be readily located and used

3) To permit operations concerned with safety measures

Regular testing in your premises ensures that your emergency lighting system remains reliable at all times and should an emergency occur then this type of lighting ensures that people can evacuate a building safely.

How Regular is Regular?
The British Standards recommends routine testing should be carried out as follows and recorded in a log book:

Daily
This requires a visual check to ensure that emergency lighting systems are operating correctly and that indicators are working. This should be carried out by the ‘responsible person’ delegated by a company. Any faults should be logged and corrected ASAP.

Monthly
All luminaries should be checked for signs of damage or disrepair. All emergency lights should be briefly tested to ensure that they operate in the event of mains electricity supply failure. This will usually be carried out by the ‘responsible person’. Again any faults should be logged and corrected ASAP.

Annually
A full 3 hour system inspection and duration test of the emergency lights should be performed by a ‘competent person’ who will log the details, rectify any faults and provide your company with certification for your fire safety records.

Who is a Competent Person?
This is a person who has the necessary skills, training and knowledge to perform emergency lighting maintenance and servicing. They are qualified, experienced in emergency lighting, registered with a government approved body(such as NICEIC) and comply with the British Standards. Your chosen electrical services company or electrician will also be able to advise if all lighting and exit signs are up to date with current legislation and are adequate for the purpose intended.

Who is a Responsible Person?
This is a designated member of staff in a company who can quickly and easily perform monthly checks and record information in a log book. They also need to be punctual with their tests each month and report any faults immediately to the chosen company who manage your emergency lighting system.

Why is it so Important?
Maintaining your emergency lighting and arranging regular testing in your company, ensures your emergency lighting remains fully functional during an emergency where an electrical failure may occur, lights up exit routes and signs for the specified duration.

We maintain emergency lighting for a number of commercial clients in Herts and London as well as charities, landlord’s properties, rail depots, shops, restaurants & bars. Our aim with this blog post is to make businesses aware of how important it is to maintain their emergency lighting. It plays such an important role for people entering your premises who are unaware of the layout during an emergency; it really could be a lifesaver!

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