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New Changes for Installation of RCD Protection.

In the new edition of BS7671 Chapter 41 examines the use of RCD protection on socket outlets.

single-rcdThe regulation now requires RCD protection in accordance with regulation 415.1 for socket outlets up to 20A and for mobile equipment with a current rating not exceeding 32A for outdoor use for all installations.

The only exceptions are, for socket outlets up to 20A, where the socket outlet is specifically labelled, or where a documented risk assessment determines that RCD protection is not necessary.

Chapter 61 makes a new reference to ‘skilled person (electrically only)’, which has the added condition of the person being competent in inspection, testing and certification work. It also notes that supplies up to 100 amps have a new, more detailed schedule of inspections.

Additionally, for installations greater than 100amps, a model list of items that require inspection during initial verification is provided in Appendix 6. This list, along with a documented risk assessment of any permitted exceptions to the list must be appended to the Electrical Installation Certificate and the declaration signed. Here at Intelec Electrical Contractors we take these recommendations into account when we carry out electrical installation safety reports, and carry out the necessary risk assessments and produce the reports required.

Van StuIf you require your electrical installation checking call us to discuss your needs further on 01274 299876.

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A Not Very Competent Person Getting into Hot Water!

I have seen many things over my long career as an electrician, some good some bad and some so scary it makes you think, what is deemed as a competent person.

The Call Out

It was on one evening when I was called to a premise with a problematic immersion heater. Usually when it comes to these sorts of calls it’s the heater element that has burnt out and the customer is left with no hot water at all. On this occasion it was quite the opposite. It was reported that the heater was over heating causing the water to boil back up into the header tank.

Upon further investigation I located the problem.

The Problem

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Who ever had carried out a previous repair when the element was not heating up had decided to remove the over heat thermostat. Not only had they removed a vital safety feature which would cause the unit to remain on constantly, but they had gone on to misplace the cord grip to prevent the cable from being pulled away & the terminal cover for the unit.

It’s been many years since I had last encountered the use of a Stork SB margarine tub for an I.P. box! But this was a new one. The water heater element terminal cover had been replaced with the bottom of a putty container! Competent person? It would only have taken a small nudge from a child to expose live terminals and cause serious injury.

The Repair

Needless to say I isolated the supply immediately to eliminate the risk of electric shock until a full repair could be carried out. Element, Thermostat and flex changed and now one very safe happy customer.

Make sure no matter how small a repair, use a competent electrical contractor.

If you need any electrical repairs avoid the horror stories and call Intelec Electrical Contractors today on 01274 299876.

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Electrical Installations & How it Affects You

On 31st July 2015 the electrical industry faced some changes to the consumer units which are currently being installed (Plastic).
The Boffin’s over at the EIT have allowed a period of 6 months for all contractors to start installing to the new standards. The new standard will then be mandatory from the 1st of January 2016.
It is important that installers and home owners a-like understand what the amendment is and how it will affect their choice in selecting which type of mains consumer unit to install and comply.

Why is this Happening?

House fires involving consumer units have increased to approximately five incidents each week. It was revealed that the main cause of fires was loose connections within the consumer units. These new requirements will directly improve the personal safety and reduce the risk of residential fires. However you must still ensure the work carried out is by a suitably trained competent person and all work has been notified to building control to fully comply.

17th Edition Changes

What this Really Means?

Amendment 3 will require switchgear assemblies ( including consumer units ) to have their enclosures made from a suitable non-combustible material, or be installed in a cabinet or enclosure comprised from a suitable non-combustible material, for example steel.  This is all covered within Chapter 42 with the addition of regulation 421.1.201. Electrical Safety First, BEAMA and other industry organisations have had to make edits to Amendment 3 to ensure the interpretation of non combustable has been fully understood.
The mandatory changes to the consumer units, using metal enclosures, are now available and are now our main choice of installation here at Intelec Electrical Contractors.

Don’t be a Another Statistic

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It was lucky they had working smoke detectors, Have you checked yours recently?.
If you are considering a consumer unit change don’t hesitate to give us a call 01274 299876.
(Amendment 3 was published on 5th January 2015 and will apply to all Electrical installations designed after 1st July 2015; however Regulation 421.1.201 will not be mandatory until 1st January 2016.)

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Taking Shortcuts

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 As well as being an electrical installer we are often asked to carry out Electrical Safety Inspections.

With over 20 years experience in the electrical sector we have seen lots of installations which have been made worse as a result of a so called electrician carrying out repairs or  additions. It never fails to amaze me how many potentially dangerous installations there are where so called electricians have worked on an installation or repair with little or no regard to safety or current regulations.

Expose Live Terminals

On one particular occasion I arrived at a location to carry out a full fixed wiring inspection and was instructed that everything I needed was in the basement. When i eventually located the room with the incoming supply in, I found the room had no working lights. Armed with my trusty torch I quickly located the mains-board and to my horror was greeted with two domestic boards stacked on top of each other. Not usually a problem but on this occasion there was no mains-cover and nothing to prevent direct contact with the live terminals.

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To make matters worse, the cables which were connected to the mains had not been routed through the cable knock outs but instead wired through the front of the board where the cover should go. Needless to say, this installation was condemned until the immediate improvements could be carried out.

Choose Carefully

This could have ended very differently. Live terminals are bad enough, but combined with no lighting in the same room, it is, simply, an accident waiting to happen. Whereas a lack of adequate lighting could almost be forgiven, exposed live terminals cannot. Choose your electrician wisely. Qualifications do not account for experience so always ensure your electricians are competent to carry out your electrical work safely.

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Choose Your Electrician Carefully.

Everyone wants or even needs to save every penny they can. So, it’s no surprise, that many self-confident DIYer’s will have a go at doing some kind of electrical work either for themselves or for friends. That’s fine if it’s replacing a blown fuse in a plug or finding which one of those pesky lamps in the Christmas tree has actually blown. The thing is, in many cases, it doesn’t stop there, and as success breed’s confidence, larger and more complex jobs are attacked with gusto. The odd additional 13-amp socket, wall lights in the lounge, a sub-main to the new, very expensive conservatory.

The DIYer.

 

Like most diy jobs, these will possibly work straight off the bat, initially anyway. But how have you protected that sub-main? What size cable have you run? What will happen if you get an earth fault or overload/short circuit? The old adage that a little knowledge is dangerous has never been so adequately proven. If you get it wrong one of three things can happen,

1. The breaker goes out and stays out.
2. There’s a fire.
3. You get electrocuted

Each year, on average, around 10 people die and 750 are injured in accidents involving unsafe electrical installations in the home. In addition to this, around 2000-2500 house fires are typically caused by faulty electrical installations in any given year.

The shame of it is, is that you never really saved that much anyway so you could have engaged a suitably qualified Electrician to do the work in the first place.

The Accredited Contractor

 

That’s all well and good, but how does one find that elusive suitably qualified Electrician? There are a few tips you can follow so that you are more likely to get a reliable, qualified and good value electrician. Look for Customer Reviews or ask for referrals. Customer reviews are one of the best ways to spot a rogue trader from a reliable tradesman. You should ensure that they are members of the NICEIC (National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting) or ECA (Electrical Contractors’ Association).

By choosing an accredited company, it ensures that the work of the electricians you engage meet all legislative standards. Inspectors audit these companies on an annual basis. The main benefits of using a registered contractor that is that it provides you with the peace of mind that the electricians are conscientious about safety and competence, their work will comply with building regulations and their work is backed by Insurance Warranty to protect consumers from non-compliant work.

Your contractor should also have what is called Part P (Of the building regulations) because this affects all electrical work carried out in dwellings. The rules of Part P have been designed to ensure that electrical work is safe. A high standard of service quality is expected from contractors which means complaints regarding poor quality workmanship should be resolved to a satisfactory outcome.

Communication

 

An equally important quality in your electrical contractor is the ability to communicate well. They should be friendly, courteous and prompt when replying to any questions and queries you may have. They should be totally transparent with prices giving you an idea of costs before they begin, along with an estimate of how long the works will take.

At Stuart Manuel Electrical Contractors you are our priority. We offer very competitive rates and a very high level of service, which, we believe, is second to none. But you don’t have to take our word for it, we are happy to provide you with references to put your mind at rest. Give us a call now and get started.