Why is PAT important?

PAT is the testing of any portable electrical appliance that you may have in your home or business. This includes any items which plug into the mains supply such as charging equipment, microwaves and printers. It is a very important service as PAT testing provides the evidence of due diligence, especially if you are a business owner or a landlord as it ensures that all your equipment is safe according to the current Health and Safety legislation. By having regular tests you also guarantee that your insurance remains valid.

Some of the common electrical faults found by our PAT engineer are broken plugs, burnt-out plugs and overloaded sockets and extensions as seen below…


 



 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of these examples of electrical faults can be extremely hazardous in any environment as they can cause dangers such as electrical shocks and fires, both of which can be potentially fatal. Therefore it is very important to ensure regular Portable Appliance Tests to protect your business, employees, home and family – a service which we offer with a price plan to suit any home or business, just take a look at our PAT page for more details… http://morganselectrical.com/self-help-guides/portable-appliance-testing-pat/

We recommend that you have your appliances tested annually, so if you think your property or premises is ready for its PAT, give us a call on 01525 213103.  

Dangers of Cheap Phone Chargers

Are your device chargers safe to use?

Apple gadgets are so popular now that it is no surprise that there are also many cheaper versions of them. Cheap ‘Apple’ chargers are being produced in China for as little as the equivalent of 3 pence and although these may be a cheap alternative to buying the real thing, they carry a huge electrical safety risk. According to the Electrical Safety Council, during a period of 6 to 8 weeks, Buckingham Trading Standards seized more than 3600 unsafe chargers from retailers in 2009, yet despite recent efforts to reduce the amount of these products, many people each year are still putting their lives at risk by using them. The ESC investigated this problem by testing new and second-hand cheap chargers and they found that none of the chargers met the principle safety regulations set out by the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 1994.
Tim Gillooley from Cheshire received an electric shock from his daughter’s fake iPad charger as he pulled it out of the plug socket. He was thrown across the room and left with blackened fingers as a result of the shock.
These types of incidents are happening across the world as a result of fake chargers so don’t be caught out; always use the brand of charger that matches your phone so you don’t risk electrocution.

Sources:
http://www.electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/electrical-professionals/product-safety-unit/plug-in-chargers/
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2406185/Fake-Apple-Cheap-phone-chargers-burn-house.html

Plug Fuses

How much do you know about plug fuses?

Are you confused about which size of fuse should be in the plug for your household or office appliances? Well there are two main varieties of fuses in a plug – a 3A or 13A fuse and once you know the difference, it is not hard to know which fuse you need to use with your appliances, and it can make your home or workplace a lot safer!

• 3A fuses are needed for any appliances up to 700 watts (such as lamps, televisions, computers, fridges, freezers and blenders).

• 13A fuses are needed if your appliances are use over 700 watts (such as washing machines, dishwashers, microwaves, kettles and irons).

How do I check which fuse I have?

Checking which fuse you have is really easy! Some plugs will tell you on the casing, however if this is not the case, all you have to do is unscrew the casing and take a look at the writing on the fuse in the plug (the fuse is the cylinder part!)

Christmas Lights Safety

We all love to see lots of colourful lights at Christmas and we seem to be using more and more lights to decorate our homes each year.   However, please make sure your lights are safe!  You can make sure that you are not putting your family or your home at risk by following these simple precautions from the Electrical Safety Council:

 

ALWAYS:

  • Read and follow the manufacturers’ instructions
  • Check your Christmas lights are not damaged or broken before use and look out for loose wires
  • Use only replacement bulbs of the same type and rating as those originally supplied with the lights
  • Ensure all outdoor lights are conneted via a 30mA RCD protected socket
  • Replace failed lamps immediately to prevent overheating
  • Ensure plugs and transformers are plugged in indoors, even if the lighting is suitable for outdoor use
  • Switch your lights off and unplug them before you go to bed or go out
  • Keep lights away from flammable decorations and materials that can burn easily

NEVER:

  • Use lights outdoors unless they are specially designed for such use
  • Connect different lighting sets together
  • Connect lights to the supply whilst still in the packaging
  • Remove or insert lamps while the chain is connected to the supply
  • Overload sockets – try to avoid the use of extension leads or adaptors
  • Allow children or pets to play with Christmas lights
  • Attempt to repair faulty lights – replace them
  • Use lights that are damaged or faulty

Wishing you a safe & happy season of festive fun!

Free hot water from Solar PV panels!

Did you know you can use your Solar PV panels to get free hot water?

We often find that our clients are unable to use all of the free electricity they are generating during the day as they are out at work and don’t have many appliances running when they are not at home.   When you have a Solar PV system installed, you are paid for every unit of electricity you generate whether you use it or not (this is the Feed-in Tariff, currently 14.9p/kWh).  But what happens to the excess electricity when you can’t use it?  It goes back into the national grid and you are paid an export tariff of 4.64p/kWh.  However, this free electricity is worth more to you if you can use it because every unit you do use is one less that you are having to buy from your energy supplier.  So how can you use more of your free electricity when you’re out at work all day? Well, you can now use this free electricity to heat your hot water.  There are now a number of devices on the market and we recommend the Marlec Solar iBoost for domestic Solar PV systems.

 

Marlec Solar iBoost

About the Solar iBoost

The iBoost concept is to use to use the surplus photovoltaic energy generated at your home to heat the water in your household water tank and save you money.

The Benefits:

  • – Maximising the use of free solar energy generated at your property

  • – Cutting the cost of heating your water

  • – Reduced use of your boiler

Solar iBoost uses ONLY energy that would be exported.

 

 

It’s clever but simple!

  • Solar iBoost fits quickly and neatly into your airing cupboard, simply wired between the existing fused spur and the immersion heater.
  • It wirelessly receives information continuous from a sender device which activates the Solar iBoost to start water heating.
  • A single battery operated radio sensor clamps around the household mains input cable so there’s no need for expensive wiring. The sender monitors the flow of electricity and transmits this information to the Solar iBoost.
  • The Solar iBoost intelligently controls the amount of energy fed into the immersion heater using information from the sender. It adjusts the energy flow to the immersion heater as your home consumption varies ensuring that only excess power is used.
  • There’s no need to change your immersion heater as Solar iBoost works with any normal household immersion heater rated up to 3kW. Also suitable for use with dual immersion systems.
  • The digital display informs you how much energy has been saved both historically and in real time. The operating status is monitored and warning lights inform the user of any alerts.
  • Solar iBoost works in harmony with your Economy 7 or 10 utility tariffs via user programmable times.
  • A boost override switch with timed options gives the user complete control.
  • Dims: 260 x 130 x 64 mm
  • Weight: 505g

You can download a brochure here.  If you have a Solar PV system and would like to talk to us about the Solar iBoost, please call us on 01525 213103.

Overloaded plug sockets

Do you use a socket extension lead or adaptor somewhere in your home or business?  Most of us do these days because we have so many plug in appliances and often don’t have enough wall sockets to run everything.  However, how do you know if you are overloading a socket?  You may think that if you have an extension with 4 outlets that this means you can plug any 4 appliances into it but this isn’t the case and is widely misunderstood.  Our electricians often see multiple extensions/adaptors plugged into each other running all sorts of appliances including heaters, kettles and other such high power appliances.  It’s frightening when you realise that the original wall socket into which these extensions and appliances are plugged is only designed to take a load of 13 Amps.  An extension lead or adaptor allows you to plug more than one appliance into a wall socket but the total load of those appliance must not be more than 13 Amps otherwise you risk overheating and could possibly cause a fire.  A kettle is 13 Amps on its own so should never be run off an extension lead with other appliances being used off it at the same time.  Whereas PCs, printers, telephones, routers, etc. are generally low power appliances so it’s not a problem to have them running from one extension lead.  You can try the new electrical safety council ‘Socket Overload Calculator’ now available on our website to check the power rating and load of appliances you have plugged in together on your extension leads or adaptors … try it now, it’s really quite interesting!

 

 

Think I need a new fuse board…

One of the more frequent calls we receive here at Morgans Electrical is from home owners saying ‘I think I need a new fuse board…” and as one of our electricians is out there installing another new fuse board in Bedford today I thought it might be timely to talk about when and why you might want to replace your fuse board.

First of all, the terminology for a Fuse Board differs from the domestic world to the commercial world.  You may have heard of it being called the Fuse Box or Consumer Unit and in commercial installations it’s more often referred to as the Distribution Unit.  But they all do the same thing.  They distribute the incoming power across however many electrical circuits there are in the building and use circuit breakers (or fuses on older boards) to manage the load on each circuit.

To understand your fuse board in more detail check out our guide ‘Your Fuse Board Explained’

Improvements in electrical safety over the years has meant that over time, Fuse Boards have been improved with new technology.  Today’s most up to date Fuse Boards provide RCD protection to all circuits which means that in the event of a fault, the circuit will switch off instantly preventing possible fire, electric shock or even death.  However, changing your fuse board is not something you need or want to do every time technology and regulations change!  There are still fuse boards out there which have the old re-wirable fuses in them and a property can still function OK with these.  However, these old boards don’t offer the protection against fire and/or electrocution in the event of a fault.

So when should a fuse board be replaced?

When you are making changes to your property e.g. extension

In order to gradually phase out old, out-of-date technology, wiring regulations are amended regularly.  If you have an old fuse board and want to make changes in your property that involve adding new circuits then your electrician may advise you that you need to upgrade your fuse board at the same time in order to meet the requirements of building regulations.

To improve safety in your home or business

Every week someone in the UK dies in their home through an electrical-related accident and thousands of people are injured every year.  In addition to this, 50% of fires in homes (around 20,000) are attributed to electrical faults.  Almost all electrocutions in the home and 20% of the fires above could be prevented if RCDs were installed at the fuse board.  Half of the homes in the UK don’t have this RCD protection installed.  A new fuse board would give you RCD protection across all circuits.

If you think you need a new fuse board and would like more information including costs click here.  Alternatively, call 01525 213103 now to arrange a free survey.

 

Changes to Part P – April 2013

In a previous blog, I mentioned that there would be some changes to Part P in April.  Just to clarify first of all, Part P of the building regulations covers electrical installations in residential properties:

  • houses and flats
  • communal areas of blocks of flats
  • external areas of the above inc garages and outbuilding, garden ponds,etc
  • business premises which share the same meter as residential flats

Part P does not apply to business premises with separate metering to a dwelling.

Part P requires that all electrical installation work complies to the standard set out in the Building Regulations. It also requires certain works to electrical installations to be notified to the local authority and it’s the type of work that needs to be notified that has been amended:

  • installation of a new circuit (e.g. when having an extension)
  • installation of a new consumer unit
  • addition or alteration to a circuit in a special location (bathroom, shower room, sauna, swimming pool)

So additions, alterations, repairs or replacement of existing wiring, not in a special location, is no longer notifiable.

However, this does not mean that non-notifiable work can just be completed by anyone!  It is still a legal requirement that all electrical installation work is carried out by a competent person in compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations.  The best way to achieve this is to use a qualified electrician who is a member of a competent person scheme such as ELECSA.

If we can help with any of your home improvement projects, please give us a call on 01525 213103 to arrange  free estimate.

 

Insurance backed warranty for Part P work

At Morgans Electrical we offer a 6-year workmanship warranty on all of our work.  We have always been confident in the quality of our work and for our customers, it gives them the reassurance that we will look after them if they do encounter a problem with any work that we have done at a later date.   So whether you have something as simple as an additional plug socket or some new down lights fitted or something more substantial such as a new consumer unit or a rewire, our warranty covers our workmanship for 6 years.

From the 2nd April this year, all work that we notify under the Part P scheme will also be covered by the new ELECSA Insurance Backed Warranty.  (Please note that not all electrical work is notifiable under the scheme – see our guide to part P for details of what is and what isn’t covered).  This is cover lasts for 6 years and is backed by Hiscox Insurance. Morgans Electrical is a registered contractor with ELECSA.  Currently, when we notify a job we’ve completed for you on the ELECSA system, your local authority is notified and a building regulations compliance certificate is generated and sent to you.  Once the new warranty comes into effect the cover will be automatic upon notification and warranty details will be printed on the certificate.  It couldn’t be more simple!  You won’t have any paperwork to complete but you will have the additional protection of an insurance backed scheme.

So what does this new warranty cover?   It gives you protection if:

  • something has gone wrong with work that has been notified and
  • the work is found to be not compliant with building regulations and
  • the contractor is not around to correct the problem (e.g. retirement, ill health, ceased trading)

However, we hope that none of our customers ever have to invoke the policy!  The scope of work covered under the Part P competent person scheme is also due to change in April so I’ll be covering this in a future blog.  In the meantime, if you have any questions about Part P and what it covers, please call us on 01525 213103.