How to configure your electrics – shock!

Not wishing to shock you…. haha!

There are two very important things that I suggest you don’t actually sort yourself, I’m going to tell you about one of them here that is the electrics….

The second thing I’ll let you know about shortly, so you’ll have to tune in again to find out.

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Does anyone remember the earth, neutral and lives wires that we were taught about in physics at school, in ‘how to wire an electric plug’ lesson?   I was always a fan of the earth wire, due to its stripy colour!

Here’s a beauty that I was handed down:

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As I’m sure you’re aware, it takes only one slightly frayed wire or one dodgy connection to cause a fire – that could burn down your house and even worse burn you.  It’s simply not worth taking any risks, especially in older buildings where electrics might have been installed decades ago, prior to the latest regulations regarding fuse boxes etc.

  • Skill – it takes a properly trained, I suggest Registered Electrician to be able to wire properly
  • Age of property – The older it is, the more intricate and likely archaic wires and fittings
  • One slip up – that’s all it takes, to cause a fire

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What are Electrical Regulations in UK?

Electrical Safety First Is a fantastic, informative website with more details (plus cute images!) including ‘Find an Electrician’ section.

Building Regulations Part P – Since 2005, all electrical work in dwellings in England and Wales whether carried out professionally or as DIY, and whether or not the work is notifiable to a building control body, must meet the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations. In April 2013 the requirements for England were amended.

  • Purpose – Compliance with Part P is intended to keep you and your family as safe as possible from electrical hazards.
  • Property Types – The requirements of Part P apply to new dwellings and to any alterations or additions to the electrical installations of existing dwellings, including full or partial rewires.
  • Due diligence – Part P states that anyone carrying out electrical work in a dwelling must ensure that reasonable provision has been made in the design and installation of the electrical installations in order to protect any persons who might use, maintain or alter the electrical installation of that dwelling from fire and injury, including electric shock.

Plus…

  • Responsibility – By law, the homeowner or landlord must be able to prove that all electrical installation work meets Part P, or they will be committing a criminal offence.
  • Notifiable to local building control – From April 2013 electrical work in a dwelling, or associated with its surroundings, is notifiable to a local building control body where the work includes:•    the installation of a new circuit, whether at low voltage (typically 230 V) or extra-low voltage); or
    •    the replacement of a consumer unit (fusebox); or
    •    any alteration or addition to an existing circuit in a special location*, whether at low voltage (typically 230 V) or extra-low voltage*A special location is a room containing a bath or shower, swimming pool or a sauna heater.

Prior to staring DIY

I knew the electrics in my flat were dodgy – not only do I sometimes get a puff of smoke and burning smell when I put a plug into a socket (seriously!) but I can see the plugs are from pre-historic times… plus the dodgy swinging wired connection under my stairs is a give-away!

Don’t believe me?  Here’s a sneaky peek:

Since starting DIY

On the good ol’ grapevine I’ve also heard that after starting DIY any e.g. drilling/movement might cause a wire to disconnect and start a fire – so currently every day before I leave the house I switch off the electrics at the main!  

Whoops, maybe I should turn the electrics off at the main when I’m sleeping too…

I do have a fire alarm, fingers crossed.

I hadn’t a clue where to start so before I began any DIY, an electrician popped round to inspect with his beady eye…. Laughably it didn’t take him long to assess that pretty much I needed to start from scratch!

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Yep, the fuse boxes underneath the stairs should be in a museum next along with Tyrannosaurus Rex, there were some odd configurations with a bedroom light in the hall etc (weird, someone could turn on/off my light when I’m in bed!), all sockets need replacing and every since light fitting need re-attaching to the ceiling!

So next steps, I just needed to remove the plaster to reach the sockets so that he could do his work… errrrr as I soon discovered that was a much, MUCH harder than anticipated.

 

 

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