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Are Loose Connections Really That Serious?
Very Dangerous Wiring
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Online "How To" Videos

How many people have undertaken DIY around the house, using an online "how to" video as a guide? There are something like three million of them around, covering just about every possible project you could want.
The fact is, though, that some of the DIYers who post their "expert" advice don't always know their stuff. Some of the video guides out there are not just unhelpful, they can actually put you in danger.
Research by the charity Electrical Safety First found that around one in 12 people who undertook electrical work using an online video as a guide ended up either causing damage to their property or having to pay for costly repairs because the advice they followed was wrong.

Loose Connections

One of the more common problems I - and I'm sure most electricians - come across is loose or detached connections inside sockets, switches, etc, something which often isn't noticed until a light or socket fails.
A loose connection might not seem like a big deal but think about this; a poor connection means increased resistance. Increased resistance generates heat which causes deterioration or damage to the wiring, resulting in it failing or, in serious cases, causing a fire. I've seen more than one instance where the wiring inside a socket has been very badly charred.

Inspections

Consider something for a moment; you have an MOT carried out on your car every year, your boiler serviced every year and so on. When was the last time you had your electrical wiring inspected?
Electrical wiring deteriorates with time and use, which can give rise to problems and potential safety hazards.
A wiring inspection, or Electrical Installation Condition Report to give it its full name, is like an MOT for your wiring and can help to identify issues before they become serious faults.
It's recommended that the electrical installation in a dwelling is inspected every 10 years at most, or when the property is sold.

Cables in Walls

With the Easter Bank Holiday weekend approaching, a time when many people tackle DIY projects, I thought it would be a good idea to offer some advice about cables buried in walls.Supposing, for instance, that you're putting up some new shelves; you're going to need to drill into the wall to fix them up. Be very careful to make sure you're clear of any cables that might be running inside the wall.
As a general rule, buried cables run vertically into sockets or switches on the wall, usually coming down the wall, so make sure you don't drill directly above a plug socket or a switch.

RCDs - They can save your life

I was talking to an old friend the other day, and the subject got around to the work I'd been doing recently. When I mentioned that I'd happened upon a faulty RCD on a job the previous day, his reaction was: "What's an RCD?" He's not the first person to ask me that question, and I thought it was about time to offer some advice on the subject.
An RCD, or Residual Current Device to give it its full name, is a device which can quite literally save your life by preventing you from suffering a fatal electric shock if you touch a live part, such as a bare wire.

Lightbulbs

I was called out recently, to a client who was having trouble with lightbulbs which kept failing or, in a couple of cases, falling out of the fitting, leaving the base in the light.
It turned out that the bulbs in question were too high a rating for the fitting, and this got me thinking. How many people actually check when they change a bulb, that it's the correct rating for the light?
I know it doesn't sound like a big deal but consider this; lightbulbs get hot (anyone who's ever touched one when it's on knows this) and the higher their rating, the hotter they get.

Circuit breakers

Do you have a fuse board that has circuit-breakers?
Most breakers trip into the down position, and are reactivated by simply pushing the switch up again. However, in some makes of breaker, if you just push the switch up it simply falls back down. To reactivate this type of breaker, the switch has to be pushed fully downwards before pushing it back up.
People are frequently known to call an electrician because they don't know about this; there are some firms out there who will charge a call-out of £75 + VAT just to reactivate a breaker, so try pushing the switch down then up, before you call someone in.