A Guide to Lighting and Electrics
It’s worth noting that you should only use a qualified electrician to carry out any work on your property. For assurance use an electrician who is registered under the NICEIC, NAPIT or ELECSA schemes.
The electrical regulations have undergone many changes over the past few years with a view to increase the level of safety. Approximately 40 people die in the UK each year from electric shocks.
Electricity is responsible for most appliances in the household, but it is also responsible for interior and exterior lighting. Good lighting is extremely important as it compliments your properties décor, whilst it can also transform dreary rooms into interesting and inviting spaces.
Choosing the right type of lighting to suit your property is a real art, and many Lighting manufacturers will be able to offer you invaluable advice when it comes to this matter. If your budget allows employ the services of a lighting consultant, then they can be employed to provide a complete lighting scheme.
If your property has a characteristic that you particularly like, it may be a good idea to spotlight this feature. Fireplaces and wood beams can look exceptionally pleasing when teamed up with the correct lighting. In order to highlight the best features of a room, it is a good idea to have a number of small lights grouped together that concentrate on a room’s best asset, as a person’s attention will be instantly drawn there.
But before you make any drastic changes to the lighting of a particular room, you may want to consider the purpose that it will serve. If you like to read or write then it is essential to have a background light as well as overhead lighting. This way you will be able to create an exceptional ambiance, whilst also avoiding any glare that may come off the walls. If you are installing lighting in a bathroom, then make sure that all fixtures are suitable for their intended use. Bathrooms are places that create high levels of condensation. Electrical fittings used in water borne areas must comply with rigorous regulation. Enlisting the help of a professional electrician will be able to help you source and install all of these fittings correctly.
Electricity and lighting can have a huge effect on the look and feel of your home, and so it is something that needs to be taken into consideration. If you are not overly concerned about aesthetics, then you will be interested to know that if the lighting is not well thought through, it can have a huge impact on your energy bills. There are lots of Low consumption energy efficient alternatives now on the market.
When Should I Call an Electrician?
An obvious situation would be when all electricity to your property suddenly stops, check to see if your immediate neighbours are experiencing the same problem. If the answer is yes then the problem is with the main supply from the electricity supplier. Electricity suppliers have monitoring devices and will automatically know if a supply has become faulty. They will send a specialist to remedy the fault. If the problem is affecting only your home the first place to check is the Consumer unit / Fuse board this will be located in your home usually in a cupboard or under the stairs. If you have a modern type consumer unit, check the position of all the switches in operation. They should all be in the up position. Modern consumer units will have an RCD protection switch fitted this is a safety device that will cut off the supply of some or all the circuits if there is a problem. Never remove the cover of the consumer unit. You can try to reset a switch to the up position as it may have shut off due to a blown bulb. If it does not reset there is a fault and you should contact an Electrician. If you have any of the problems highlighted below, then you must enlist the help of an electrician or builder in Surrey who will be able to help you solve these issues.
- Do your fuses trip out on a regular basis?
- Do your lights flicker or go on and off on a regular basis?
- Do you use extension cords to run a number of electrical appliances or devices?
- Can you smell burning when you turn on an electrical Appliance or device?
- Does using any electrical appliances or device cause the lights to dim in any room?
- Do you have an old style Consumer unit/ Fuse Board- They are usually brown and rated fuse wire is used as the safety device. The wire will burn through cutting the supply to the circuit if a fault occurs. These old style units are legal but do not offer the same level as safety as a modern consumer unit. If you have one of these it is well worth considering changing it for a safer alternative.
The above has listed a few common problems that often require the expertise of an electrician to solve. Electrics have an inherent element of danger; it is often a good idea to enlist professional help. If any of these issues seem familiar, then it may be a good idea to get in touch with an electrician today as putting off these problems could make matters worse. But before you do so it is essential to make sure that they have the relevant qualifications and experience, because ultimately they could be putting you at risk if they don’t.
How to find a good electrician
Whether you are looking at refurbishing an old building or are creating a new build, having a quality electrical system established throughout your property is essential.
Firstly you will want to make sure that the electrician or building contractor has the right qualifications to carry out any work on your property. This is because electrical work can be potentially dangerous and ultimately you could be the one who’s put at risk. A legitimate electrician will be qualified and be able to provide proof of this. Electricians registered with any of the previously mentioned government schemes are all qualified. Therefore it is essential to check if they have this before enlisting their services. Whilst this is the first thing that should be checked, it is always a good idea to ask for references and a portfolio of previous work that they have carried out. By doing this you can have a good idea of the level of craftsmanship that you can expect for your money. If fact these questions can be applied to most professions in the building trade and to highlight this fact they are bullet-pointed below:
- Are they members of and approved scheme ?
- Do they have good references?
- Do they have a permanent place of residence or business HQ?
- Do they have the right qualifications?
- Can they show you a portfolio with previous work that they have carried out?
- Do they have insurance?
- How long will the job take? How much disruption will be caused.
- Will re-plastering or redecorating be needed? And if so, is this included in the quote?
- Will you be issued with a certificate to show that the job has been carried out correctly and that it meets the relevant safety guidelines?
This article has looked at a number of questions that you will need to ask yourself and an electrician before any work on your property commences, but assuming that they can provide the relevant credentials then it is likely that you will have made a good choice. Comparing quotes will be entirely up to you of course, but there are many electricians who offer competitive prices for quality work.
Types of Lighting for Your Home
Having a Quality lighting scheme installed in your home makes a huge difference.
There are four main types of lighting that all have a number of advantages and disadvantages. Some may be better suited to certain areas than others, but all have their purposes. These are:
- Traditional Lighting. (Pendant and Lampshades) ( Table lamps)
- Spotlights. Low or mains voltage. Halogen or Led all available in various colours
- Fluorescent Lights. These are often used in Kitchens and Garages
- Lights that have enclosed fittings. These are often used in Bathrooms
Before any kind of electrical work is carried out it is essential to have the right qualifications and to be fully aware of all safety rules and regulations. While this is true, many people attempt to save money by undertaking tasks that only experienced electricians should carry out. However, do not ignore the risks involved Never attempt to carry out Electrical works if you are not competent. If you ignore the risks involved you could get seriously or fatally injured. Before attempting any works always switch off the electric supply at the consumer unit. This may sound obvious, but by failing to do this you are guaranteed to be the victim of a serious injury.
The average DIY enthusiasts will be able to undertake a few basic electrical duties such as changing a fuse, but make sure you are fitting the correct rated fuse for the Appliance. Most people automatically fit a 13 amp fuse to all plugs & in most cases a fuse with this high ampage is not required. Fused should always be matched to the rating of the appliances. For example you do not need a 13amp fuse for many items in your house. Fuses are fitted with plugs for your safety Check the Appliance electrical rating and fit the correct fuse. It is strongly recommended to enlist the help of an Electrician if you have any doubt. They will have years of experience combined with the knowledge and know how, to ensure that safety is a priority. However, this does not mean that knowledge with regards to electrical safety is wasted knowledge.
Electrics Jargon Buster
Building contractors often use terminology and technical jargon that can baffle even the most dedicated DIY enthusiasts and that is why this article will go on to decipher some common terms that you may or may not be familiar with. These technical terms can crop up almost anywhere, but one area of the building trade that seems to cause a lot of confusion is the electrical sector. Both building contractors and electricians will use the terms that are listed below, and so the next time you enlist their services you could use this article as a crib sheet which will help you understand what they are talking about.
Electrical terminology crib sheet
BS - British Standard. All contractors and building work that is carried out must meet these standards.
Essentially a safety feature. It is a thin metal or plastic encasing that is used to contain wiring which is usually fixed to a wall before plastering.
After electrical works have been undertaken on your property, a certificate should be provided to show that the work has been carried out to the required standards.
The electrical regulations require that the Earth circuit is cross bonded to the Water and Gas mains pipes to add additional protection.
Consumer Unit –
Another term for a fuse box.
Aims to minimize the chances of gaining an electric shock if a fault should occur. Essentially a safety feature, it provides a pathway for a faulty electric current to flow safely to earth. Modern consumer units have a device that detects current in the Earth circuit and will cut of the supply automatically.
The term used to describe how electrical devices or accessories are fitted. Flush fitting has a clean finish that ensures devices remain flat against a wall. Flush-fitted switches or sockets for example, mean that only the front plates are visible. The wiring associated with this is often in chasing, by doing this a quality finish can be achieved.
Surface mounted- The term is used for fitting the wiring, switches and sockets on to the finished wall. Electric cables are concealed usually in plastic Trunking. Switch and socket back boxes are fixed to the wall and will protrude by approx. 25mm.
The same as a consumer unit. This is the controlling device that distributes electricity around a property.
Making Good –
A term used to describe repairing any necessary damage that has occurred in a property. For example, holes may have been drilled to install wiring which will need to be “made good” after the necessary work has been completed.
MCB – MCB-
stands for miniature circuit breaker. These are essentially safety features that fit into fuse boxes that will disconnect a circuit if there is an overload.
Residual current combines the functions of an RCD and an MCB in one fuse.
Residual Current Device. Or also named RCCB- residual current circuit breaker. A device that disconnects a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor and the return neutral conductor.
Partial Rewire –
A situation that often occurs when full rewiring is not required. For example, when existing cabling is no longer fit for use. See Rewiring.
Part P –
Provides safety regulations to protect homeowners. Part P is a specific section of building regulations that focuses on all domestic electrical installations in both England and Wales. For full details of the Part P building regulations visit
Rewire-Means all the electrical wiring in your home needs renewing. This will usually include Mains Switch gear, Consumer unit, Switches & power outlets. Expect medium to High Disruption will require lifting Carpets and floor boards.
Scottish building standards, the governing body for all electrical work that is carried out in Scotland.
Separated Extra Low Voltage. A low voltage system which is separated from the earth. Basically a safety feature which means that faults cannot provide electric shocks.
Low voltage is – Typically a voltage that does not exceed 50 V.
The list above highlights a few key terms that your building contractor or electrician will use on a regular basis. It is always a good idea to familiarize yourself with a few of these key terms if you are thinking about having any electrical work carried out on your property. Whilst this is a good place to start, if you don’t understand something then there is no harm in asking. Feel free to contact us by email we have qualified electricians who will be happy to answer your questions.