Free Electrical Advice
Electricity is used everywhere in our homes and we would find life very difficult without it. Imagine no light, no heating, no kettle or hairdryer - how would we cope? Although electricity is fundamental to life as we know it, it is also potentially very dangerous. Therefore it is important that we are aware of the safety precautions we need to take to make sure we are using it safely.
Plugs, Sockets & Cables: Things to watch out for that could spell danger
hot plugs and sockets
fuses that blow for no apparent reason
scorch marks on sockets or plugs.
These are all signs of loose wiring and/or other problems. If a plug or cable becomes damaged or broken in any way THROW IT AWAY do not tape it up and continue using it.
Ensure that you DO NOT plug too many appliances into an adaptor as you could overload the socket, which can lead to overheating.
It is better to use a bar adaptor on a lead, rather than a block adaptor.
Don’t plug adaptors into adaptors. Only use one adaptor per socket.
Don’t allow the total current used by the appliances plugged into the adapter to add up to more than 13 amps of current altogether - or 3,000 watts of power. So, for example, you could have two 2 amp appliances and one 5 amp in an adaptor.
That means you should never run more than one appliance that uses a lot of current, such as a kettle or television, from one socket.
Badly Wired Plugs
If any wires are sticking out of a plug, not only could they be pulled loose but water, dust or debris could get inside the plug and become a potential fire hazard.
The fuse is designed to stop overheating. If the wrong fuse is fitted and there’s a problem, a fire could occur. The following indicates the correct fuse that should be used depending on the wattage of the appliance in question:
appliances that use up to 700 watts: 3 amp fuse
appliances that use 700 to 1000 watts: 5 amp fuse
appliance that use 1000+ watts: 13 amp fuse
If in any doubt check the appliance handbook.
The Danger of Water & Other Liquids
Don’t let cables or plugs get wet. Keep ALL liquids away from electrical appliances. For example don’t put a vase on top of the TV and don’t fill the kettle up when it’s plugged in.
All About Part P
Part ‘P’ and what it means to you. If you are planning to extend or alter the electrical installation in your home, such as providing extra sockets in the kitchen, or adding new ceiling lights, don’t attempt it yourself. Ensure you employ a competent electrical contractor or electrician.
The Government introduced a new law in January 2004 which demands that most electrical work in UK households is only carried out by a ‘competent’ person ie. registered with an approved domestic installers scheme eg. NICEIC, Elecsa, ECA, Napit, Etc.
What is Notifiable with Building Control ?
2.5 Electrical installation work that is notifiable is set out in regulation 12(6A).
12.—(6A) A person intending to carry out building work in relation to which Part P of Schedule 1 imposes a requirement is required to give a building notice or deposit full plans where the work consists of—
(a) the installation of a new circuit;
(b) the replacement of a consumer unit; or
(c) any addition or alteration to existing circuits in a special location.
—(9) In this regulation “special location” means—
(a) within a room containing a bath or shower, the space surrounding a bath tap or shower head, where the space extends—
(i) vertically from the finished floor level to—
(aa) a height of 2.25 metres; or
(bb) the position of the shower head where it is attached to a wall or ceiling at a point higher than 2.25 metres from that level; and
(aa) where there is a bath tub or shower tray, from the edge of the bath tub or shower tray to a distance of 0.6 metres; or
(bb) where there is no bath tub or shower tray, from the centre point of the shower head where it is attached to the wall or ceiling to a distance of 1.2 metres; or
(b) a room containing a swimming pool or sauna heater.
2.7 Regulation 12(6A) sets out electrical installation work that is notifiable. All other electrical installation work is not notifiable – namely additions and alterations to existing installations outside special locations, and replacements, repairs and maintenance anywhere.
2.8 Installing fixed electrical equipment is within the scope of Part P, even if the final connection is by a standard 13A plug and socket, but is notifiable only if it involves work set out in regulation 12(6A). For example: a. installing a built-in cooker is not notifiable work unless a new cooker circuit is needed b. connecting an electric gate or garage door to an existing isolator switch is not notifiable work, but installing a new circuit from the consumer unit to the isolator is notifiable.
2.9 Installing prefabricated, modular wiring (for example for kitchen lighting systems) linked by plug and socket connectors is also within the scope of Part P, but again is notifiable only if it involves work set out in regulation 12(6A).
What is the electrical safety law?
Electrical safety requirements have been included in a new Part P of the Building Regulations. The Building Regulations deal with the health and safety of people in and around buildings by providing functional requirements for building design and construction.
The law states that anyone carrying out fixed electrical installations in households in England and Wales must ensure that electrical installations are:
Designed and installed to afford appropriate protection against mechanical and thermal damage, and so that they do not present electric shock and fire hazards to people.
Suitably inspected and tested to verify that they meet the relevant equipment and installation standards.
What is a fixed electrical installation?
Many improvements carried out in the home include some form of fixed electrical installation.
For example, a new kitchen may require your electrician to install additional sockets, extra lighting and appliances. A fixed installation is the wiring and appliances that are fixed to the building, such as sockets, switches, consumer units (fuse boxes) and ceiling fittings.
Who is responsible for ensuring that the electrical work carried out in my home meets safety requirements?
You are. It will be a legal requirement for homeowners and landlords to be able to prove that all fixed electrical installations and alteration work have been carried out and certified by a competent person. That is, by an electrician registered with a Government approved body such as the NICEIC,Napit, STROMA, Etc.
How will I benefit from the electrical safety law?
You can expect to have safer, better quality electrical installation work because all electrical contractors will be working to BS 7671, the national safety standard.
You will also be further protected against unsafe work as all electrical contractors are now required to offer their customers the option of additional protection through an insurance-backed warranty.