Electrician Jargon Buster

As a professional electrician it’s sometimes easy to use technical terms or phrases which can leave our customers a little bamboozled! I like to keep communication clear and simple, so here’s a handy guide to some terms you may hear an electrician using but not fully understand:

Accessories – This refers to outlets such as sockets, switches and adapters.

BS7671 – This is a document published by the Institute of Electrical Technicians. It outlines the requirements for Electrical Installations. It is commonly referred to as the ‘Regs’ or ‘Regulations’.

Conduit – This is a type of piping which is used to protect cabling – usually used outside or in areas where the cables are likely to be damaged or bumped such as a garage or shed. It can be plastic or metal, and can be white or black in color. It can also be painted.

Consumer Unit – This is another term for your fuseboard or fusebox

Daisy Chaining – This is a way of adding multiple appliances to a single socket – we always advise against this, especially with larger appliances as it becomes a real fire risk.

Earthing – This is a method of protecting people and property from the risks of electrical shocks. It provides a safe route for a fault current should one arise.

Earth Bonding – Generally speaking your water and gas services should be electrically connected to earth to minimise the risk of electric shock. An earth bond should be visible next to your gas meter and next to your main water stop-cock.

EICR – This stands for Electrical Installation Condition Report, it fundamentally involves an inspection of an electrical installation to ensure that it is fit for purpose and safe.

Electrician – A professional person who safely carries out electrical projects in your home – works especially well when topped up with tea and biscuits!

Fault Finding – This is the process of identifying an electrical problem in a property. It can be a time consuming process to carry out properly, we use our vast knowledge, experience and equipment to carry out this process as effectively as possible.

Fuse – This a simple method of protecting against electric shock and fire – a thin strip of wire ‘blows’ when a fault happens.

Insulation Resistance Test – This is an electrical test which reveals any breakdown in insulation of cables. It is a good indicator into the state of an electrical installation and its suitability for continued use.

Junction Box – This is a housing which contains an electrical connection. It should be located in an accessible place.
Lamp – this is the correct term for a ‘bulb’.

Lathe and Plaster – this is a traditional method of constructing walls and ceilings in traditional properties in Edinburgh. Thin wooden straps (the ‘Lathe’) are lain across a wooden frame. A heavy plaster is then fixed to this. It can become quite brittle and is often difficult to route cables in.

Main Switch – The switch which cuts all of the electrical power in your property, usually red and located in or next to your consumer unit.

MCB – A more modern type of fuse with a switch which can be reset. This stops you from overloading an electrical circuit. It can often be referred to as as a ‘Circuit Breaker’. These are located within your Consumer Unit.

NICEIC – The National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contractors – Contractors who operate under this scheme (like us!) are regularly assessed and advised to ensure that we are working to the current standards and requirements of the industry.

Overloading – too many electrical appliances in use on a circuit

Raggle or Chase – this is the cutting of a channel into a solid wall to allow the routing of cabling. This is often necessary in older properties

RCD – This is a device which operates in milliseconds should an electrical fault occur. It is usually located in your fuseboard and a lifesaving device.

Rewire – This is the process of fully replacing the fixed electrical system in a property. Where practicable the old cable and accessories are completely removed and replaced with new ones. Generally speaking a rewire should be considered every 30 years.

Ring Circuit – Often sockets will form part of a ‘Ring Circuit’. It is a traditional method which works well however can become dangerous over time. It is important to have a ring circuit checked as part of an EICR to ensure the the ring remains intact and that the circuit is safe.

Spur – This is a method of taking power from an ring circuit

Trunking – This is a material used to house cabling – it is a length of plastic which is rectangular in profile. When installed correctly it can help keep cabling discreet and tidy as well as protected from damage. It can be painted.

VIR Cabling – Vulcanised Indian Rubber cable refers to cabling which is insulated with rubber. This was common place around 50 years ago and can still be found in many older Edinburgh properties. The rubber becomes very brittle over time and is a fire risk. As a rule of thumb this cable will be well beyond its serviceable life and should be replaced ASAP.

If you have any questions please don’t hesitate to contact us for a free quote or call us direct on 0131 661 1181.

Lumen Electrical are Fully qualified NICEIC approved Edinburgh electrician located in Edinburgh.

Find an approved contractor https://www.niceic.com.

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