Nexelec passed it’s NICEIC Domestic Installer annual assessment once more. A “Good standard of Testing and Inspection” was noted.
Recent fault I attended to in a small block of flats. When the outside light by the front door was switched on, all the remaining lighting in the home was switched off! It was dark at the time I attended which made it even more of a surprise. Someone previously had decided to repair a broken plastic back box on the outside light switch with end result that wires were put in the wrong connections on the switch! All the time the outside light was not used there was no problem with the in home lighting.
Owners of certain electric cars will likely to have a “Get Me Home” cable which can be plugged into a standard domestic 13A socket. Useful if visiting friends or relatives and you have misjudged the power in the car batteries needed to get you home.
Take a little care with these charging cables because they often need a fairly continuous 10A of electricity while plugged in. A 13A socket is designed to provide 10A of electricity but be aware this socket could be on the primary downstairs sockets circuits of a home which is designed for 32A maximum. Where this same circuit could have high energy use tumble drier, washing machine, portable heaters or similar. Maybe in a busy home with guests present so more occupants than usual as well. So suggest apply some common sense to enquire as what you are planning to plug a Get Me Home Lead into.
Also if the property at which this lead is being plugged in happens to be an old small terraced house or flat that has not been renovated of late, be aware there are still quite proportion of old electrical services that are rated at 60A maximum for the whole house, and old Consumer Units (Fuse Boxes) with a maximum limit of 60A for the whole house. More modern installations will have 100A capacity for a whole house.
OK, sure electricity for heaters on a normal day rate is expensive compared to say using gas energy, but electric heating does have it proper place in many homes. However if an unsuitable heater, or heaters, are installed in the wrong place then annual running costs can be very expensive and/or the results for warmth may not as expected.
As an example, in my experience the heating systems that stand out most that have surprised tenants in rented homes are systems that have “wet” electric radiators where the circulated water is heated by electric energy on normal day rate prices. These systems look the part when viewing a home to rent but when the winter energy bills come in then tenants begin to look at their exit clauses. For these systems even the Energy companies can underestimate what monthly direct debits needed which makes the situation even worse still for tenants. On a lessor scale I have seen: large wall heaters plugged into normal power ring sockets which overload the circuit, and internet connected “smart” wall heaters that are connected to an off peak electricity supply only which means they can only be controlled from a smart phone between midnight and 7am! For an all electric energy home there is even a risk of overloading the electricity supply into the house!
To avoid wasting money and causing inconvenience I suggest that if a homeowner is looking for a new or replacement heating solution then ask a suitably experienced independent electrician for advise, to either choose the heaters or at least suggest options for heaters that would be suitable. Most of the likely heaters a home needs can be sourced by tradesman direct from normal electrical wholesalers at very good prices. Note that if a complete electric home heating solution is required then some heating manufacturers will offer a design service free of charge to electrician installers.
I was recently called out for a reported minor electric shock incident. Discovered a Double Socket Outlet plastic front had been incorrectly replaced by a DIYer. Worse still the DIYer must have been colour blind and or had bad eyesight because the wiring into the back of the socket was exactly wrong; The live wire was screwed into the Earth terminal! Luckily no one was injured, including me. It was a quick job to repair and test. All safe now.
Merry Christmas to my customers and all. wishing you and happy and prosperous new year for 2018.
Oh, also please take care to stay safe with electricity in your homes.
In Residential use if you want to avoid the ugliness and hassle of having that power lead trailing from your under the garage door or out of a window to your Electrical Vehicle, then how about installing a proper EV charging point. If you are starting out and have a requirement for only a 16A (3.6Kw) powered point then I would seriously consider installing a 32A (7.2Kw) capable circuit. One reason being is the extra costs for a larger 32A cable and protection accessories are relatively small compared to the overall installation labour cost to run a cable from the home Consumer Unit (Fuse Box) through the house to a charging point. Also your next vehicle or a change of use might benefit considerably with a 32A powered point so an upgrade would be less disruptive on the house and cheaper.
If you are thinking about the Tethered or Non Tethered choice, then certainly Tethered is convenient. No wet grubby cable to tidy up and keep in the boot. But if you change vehicles often or have guests to stay with other types of vehicles to charge, then Un Tethered has its benefits.
Some designs of Charging Points have an outside grade 13A socket built in as well. Useful for vacuuming the car or powering that lawnmower.
Another year passed and another NICEIC assessment/audit for Domestic Installer status successfully completed last week.
For anyone thinking of installing a few of these widely available combined USB and 13A double sockets around the home, please be aware that electricians when testing circuits in home will often need to know where USB sockets are and may need to disconnect/bypass them for the duration of any testing. It would be useful to keep a note/list near the Consumer Unit (aka Fuse Box) of where they are installed. This is similar to smoke alarms, if a list is of where smoke alarms are located is kept near the Consumer Unit then it saves time if there is ever an electrical fault in the home.
When choosing you new low energy lamps it is well worth making sure you have the shade of white that suits the room and the type of lighting you want. Take the trouble to look on the box to see what you are thinking of buying. Generally the colour of white can be bought in the range from 2700K to 4000K.
2700K is a warm white colour that replicates halogen and old style incandescent lamps. This might be what you would need if mixing new LEDs with order style lamps or for use in relaxation rooms such as a lounge or bedroom.
3500K is a noticeable whiter shade than 2700K which may suit a bathroom or kitchen.
4000K is a bright clear white that may suit a white brightly decorated bathroom or kitchen. It offer a very clean modern look.
4000K and upwards to 5000K is sometimes called “daylight”.
While looking at the label on these new lamps you will notice they are rated in Lumens as opposed to Watts. This is something we will all have to get used to because simply buying an old 100 Watt bulb is not something you can do now.
For any spot light lamps such as GU10s and downlighter take care to check the beam width specification as well. They can vary for example between 35 degrees to 60 degrees. Importantly a wider beam width means you can use less downlights for a given size of room, but take care to ensure the end result gives the desired level of light because wider beam width usually means a lower lumen output compared to a narrower beam width. Hence getting an electrical contractor who has experience with light level design is important.
Often places that sell these lamps will have a few on demonstration side by side so you can see the difference. I usually carry a few in my stock so I can demonstrate to customers the differences.