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Power cuts

If you power is off and you think others in your street are too then you’ll have to call North-West Electricity if you’re in our area – Carnforth, Lancaster, Morecambe, South lakes.

Here is the website and telephone number:

http://www.enwl.co.uk/ 

0800 195 4141

Even if your next door neighbour’s power is on, it may still be a power cut.  Houses next door to each often don’t share the same electricity cable.

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RCD keeps tripping

RCD imageA customer in Horby called us to tell telling us that the RCD in her home kept on tripping and they had total loss of power. The RCD is the protective device that protects from shock.

Two switches inside the device are held by magnets.  If a small amount of electricity is lost, then the magnets become unstable and aren’t able to hold the switch on thus switching it off.  This in turn stops any more electricity going to where it was originally lost, i.e. you or someone else.

RCDs are sensitive enough to stop the electricity when it gets to dangerous levels, but not too sensitive to turn off due to natural low level earthing of electricity which does happen and is safe.   If your RCD is tripping regularly, then its worth getting checked out.  Our customer was near to Carnforth in Lancashire and within where we worked so we went out.

In the end we carried out various checks and tests and found one circuit to be at fault.  We isolated this circuit and restored power to the property in around 2 hours of arrival and made safe the installation.

If you have similar problems with your RCD (and you’re in the Carnforth, Lancaster, Morecambe, South Lakes area), then please contact us for help and we’ll send an electrician to you.

 

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Installed a new consumer unit

Our customer in Morecambe west end, required an RCD for their newly installed loft conversion.  We advised our customer that if a new consumer unit was fitted, then the whole house could be protected by and RCD.  We installed the unit and fed the cables from the loft conversion.  We powered up the system after checking and testing the circuits.  Installed, Certified, tested and building control notified in line with current regulations.

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Loss of power – what to do?

Sometimes loss of power in your home won’t need an immediate electrician call out.  An older lady who lives on her own (and happens to know us) contacted us wanting help.  Her power was off all together and she didn’t know what to do.  We talked with her on the phone what to do.

TOP TIP! A friend of mine in the Morecambe gave me this tip when I was checking his consumer unit.  Keep a charged torch in where the fuse box / consumer unit is.  “Why didn’t I think of that?”

  1. Locate the fuse box.
  2. Look at all of the switches.  Are they in the on position?  At this point if they’re all on, then you’ve likely got a power cut. See the power cuts post.
  3. If the main switch or RCD is off, then try turning it on again.
  4. If it won’t stay on, then turn all of the other switches off on the board.
  5. Then try turning the RCD or main switch back on.  Now at this point, if it stays off, then you’ll have to call an electrician.  Faults like this have to be isolated because RCDs are sensitive.
  6. If you’re RCD or main switch stays on, then turn on all of the other switches one by one. At this point everything may restore or you’ll find the system turns off when you get to the circuit with the fault.

Things to look for…

  • Have any of your sockets got too many items plugged in?
  • Do you smell burning?
  • Have any bulbs blown?
  • Have you had a water leak near electrics?
  • Have you hammered a nail anywhere?  Floors,walls or ceilings.
  • When the power went off, where you using an electrical device?

Answering these questions will help you find the fault.  In many cases, you’ll be able to solve the problem yourself safely.  Well installed electrical installations that follow the regulations are safe even if your DIY or appliances aren’t.  If you’re not sure of the safety of your system then why not book an electrical condition report from £99 for homes and from £59 for static caravans.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Earthing Problems

IMG_3907IMG_3904IMG_3903We inspected a rented property and found that the earth fault loop impedance reading was over 1600ohms.  This type of property has a metal rod in the ground which will take dangerous electricity from the home if anything goes wrong.

In this case the reading should have been less than 200ohms.  The electrics had an RCD which many people think will be fine if there is a fault.  Well in this case (and in many) the RCD couldn’t operate because the reading was too high.

We decide the best course of action was to fit a new earth rod.  We did so and got the reading to 97ohms.  And guess what… the RCD started working again.   The system went from potentially life threatening to safe in the space of a few hours.  The sad thing is that many of the properties on this row didn’t have earth rods so had no safety in their homes.  If you’re not sure, then call for an inspection of your home.  Just because the electricity works, this doesn’t mean the system is safe.

Plugged In Electricians offer safety inspection reports from £99 for a small home.  We detail the current state of your electrical installation and offer recommendations for safety and more convenient electrics for your home.

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Towel Heater timer

Our customer the Morecambe Bay area asked us to fit a timer for their towel heater in the bathroom.  It was initially installed with only a switch so they had to manually choose when it was on or off.  We installed a fused timer with battery backup which had a 7 day programmable timer, manual override and boost mode on those colder days.  Installed, tested and checked.

Now our customer enjoys warm towels on those winter mornings.

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Advantages of 240 V on board

Want to run loads of appliances on your yacht that you use at home? Then you need 240V installed.

There are three ways of getting a 240V supply:

  • Having a generator
  • Having an inverter
  • Through a Public Distribution Network (shore power)

Appliances at home need a socket. These might include:

  • Microwave
  • Kettle
  • Dishwasher
  • Radio
  • TV
  • Hairdryer
  • Laptop
  • Electric Shower

 

You can have these installed quickly and easily on your boat. This makes it more convenient to you and makes it feel more like home.

It’s not just appliances, your 240V supply can provide lighting, charge batteries, and water heating. It’s no fun waiting for the kettle to boil on the gas so you can do your washing up!

The electrics should be fitted to ISO 13297 by a domestic electrician registered on a competent person scheme. It’s important to make sure you’re RCD protected.

By the way, just to note, if you go for the shore power option, make sure you disconnect from the shore power before you set off. Remember “With great power comes great responsibility”Chrome USB Socket

 

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Replaced an Outside Light

A customer asked us to replace a lantern outside their house because it was broken. We replaced it with a lantern suitable for the elements, tested the electrics to make sure the circuit as well as the customer was safe, and then checked it worked.

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Did you know: Unplugging your phone charger

Some devices are worth remembering to unplug. It has the obvious benefit of reducing the amount you pay for your electricity bill, but also, the devices are potential hazards if left Plugged In accidentally.

Be careful to unplug your phone charger when your mobile has finished charging. If it is a branded phone charger then it is likely to be more safe, but cheap knock-off phone chargers can cause house fires, so to be on the safe side, you should consider unplugging any of your phone chargers whether branded or not when your phone is fully charged.

This article (http://www.reshareworthy.com/fire-caused-by-phone-charger/) tells of a house fire caused by a phone charger. The photo below is of the kitchen:

House fire from phone charger

The phone charger in this case was cheap, which means it is more likely to suffer from faulty wiring for one thing.

Make sure you check for wear and tear on your charger’s cable, and be careful when unplugging, as this is when most damage happens. Keep in mind that the more the charger is used the more unreliable it becomes over time. Phone chargers don’t need to be Plugged In all the time, so again, make sure to unplug them when they don’t need to be.

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Burned Out Halogen Lights

Halogen ceiling light, 240V-50W

We got called out to a customer in Morecambe who had an electrical problem with their lights.  “Sparks were flying and the metal was glowing red!”, was what we were told.
“We’ll be there at 11:30, make sure the power to the lights is off.” we said.

When you have a lighting problem like this, then go to the fusebox/consumer unit and switch everything off.  Then if you don’t know what to do next, then give us a call.

After arriving we looked at the light and found this:

IMG_3955[1]

So what happened?

  1. Customer told us that water had leaked a few weeks ago from the bathroom upstairs
  2. We checked the breaker at the switchboard and it was a 20amp
  3. We investigated where the halogen light was and found a lot of insulation around the light and cable.
  4. Checked RCD with an approved and calibrated RCD tester and noted it wasn’t working.

Our conclusion was this:  The water from above bathroom seeped in and around the lights over a period of time.  Did you know that even high IP rated halogen lights like these are only waterproof from the light side.  The equipment behind the wall / ceiling is not waterproof.

After the water seeped into the light fittings, a short circuit resulted.  A normal light breaker in a house is 6amps.  A normal light cable can take 20amps without damage.  In this case, someone had put a 20amp breaker on the lights.  That means the cables were barely able to withstand the electricity that could possible hold.  So why so much damage if we’re on the threshold?  Insulation is the answer.  The amount of insulation de-rated the cable so that it could only carry 10 amps before sustaining damage.  In this case, a lot of damage which could have set the home on fire.

Fix: Remove damaged parts and cable and replace. Then put the lights on a 6 amp breaker so it can’t happen again.

There is a school of thought that and RCD will prevent a fire and in many cases it will add to the fire prevention in a good installation.  In this case the device was not working properly.  So, regularly check your RCD (three months).