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The Wettest Winter Ever

It's official - this winter is the wettest on record.

I suspect everybody has worked that out, especially when we are watching news footage of river levels at some poor soul’s door knocker, but now we know for sure. Of course people are aware how important it is to ensure their electrics at home or work are safe, and fit for use. The only problem however is usually affording that luxury.

A professional electrician does cost money, as do all other trades. This winter, during the wet and windy weather unexpected outgoings have come in the shape of leaking roofs, blown off tiles, knocked down fences and much more. This may have led to the neglect of the electrical system due to finances.

So I want to help you make sure your electrics are safe, but at low to zero expense. Here are my top five tips.

  1. The best way to find out how safe your electrics are is to have an electrician come to your house and carry out an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR). This really isn’t going to break the bank. A typical three bed semi shouldn’t cost more than £150 to fully inspect and test. If any problems are found then this may cost more to repair, but the likelihood is that a few problems will be found and will be low cost to make the installation much safer.
  2. Look at the fuse board or consumer unit – especially if it is accessible to children. Is there any holes or gaps big enough to fit a finger through. A common fault here is a spare way in the consumer unit where a circuit breaker (MCB) could be installed but isn’t, and the gap left is not properly blanked off. A blank to fit this hole will cost pence but if in any doubt, consult a professional electrician.
  3. Have a look at the visible wiring, can you see any coloured insulation called basic insulation. Mains wiring should always have a barrier between you and the basic insulation, usually a sheaf over a cable, or trunking and conduit. If basic insulation is visible, it is dangerous. Again this problem can usually be solved at low expense. An example of this problem may be a four way extension lead, we all have them dotted around our house and when they get pulled around the flex can be pulled back revealing the basic insulation. Simply by unplugging it, taking it apart, and reconnecting the flex will solve the problem, and increase the safety of the installation dramatically.
  4. Overloaded sockets. This is easy to check for and everyone should because overloaded sockets are very dangerous. Usually an extra socket can be fitted next to the existing one at a low cost by a professional electrician. Do not attempt to carry this work out yourself unless you are competent to do so.
  5. Location of sockets and switches around the house should be looked at. Are there any socket outlets too close to the hob, or light switches too close to the bath? Are the downlights in the shower cubical safe to be there, are they water proof? Simply by looking around you can make judgement on the safety of these electrical points by applying common sense. If that Socket outlet is too close to the hob, a blanking plate would cost less than a quid, and if you are competent enough, you could carry this repair out yourself. However, if in doubt, contact a professional electrician.

So there you go. My top five tips to making sure your electrics are safe, and fit for use by the people you love and care about. If you have any queries on these tips, please contact me for free advice.

Thanks for reading, and make sure you join me next time where I’ll be discussing training and qualifications, and how to make sure the electrician you hire is a professional and is competent to be working in your home.

Ashley Boxall
Progressive Electrical Solutions