Electrics when buying a new home

Electrics when buying a new home

We are often asked for what to look out for when clients are buying a new property. The first place to start is the Consumer Unit – it should be metal and incorporate RCD protection on all circuits to be up to the current standard. The cost to upgrade the Consumer Unit will depend on a number of factors however we can usually quote based on a photograph.

Next, the sockets should ideally be situated at least 300mm from the floor, otherwise this is an indicator that the wiring is older and potentially in need of a refresh. There should also be plenty of sockets in each room, usually 4 twin sockets for each room and a socket in the hallway – keep an eye out for messy extension cables.

Different styles of sockets and switches can be an indication of the electrical system having been chopped and changed, something to be careful of if it hasn’t been carried out correctly. We often find older systems which would still be in a serviceable state if it weren’t for previous owners meddling where they shouldn’t be!

Ultimately there are no issues that can’t be fixed by a competent contractor in your new home. Usually a good idea is to have an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) carried out soon after you move in to highlight any issues and to have them remedied before you can get on with making your new house your new home.

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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When to rewire your home

When is Rewiring Necessary?

Edinburgh is full of beautiful period homes with stunning original features. One of the less desirable features of many of these older properties is antiquated and dangerous electrical wiring.

Generally speaking the cabling in your home is designed to have a service life of around 30 years – any older and it is advisable at the very least to have an inspection, or EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) carried out by a qualified electrician. Signs which may indicate that your wiring is in need of an upgrade are:

  • Sockets mounted very close to the floor, usually in skirtings
  • A general lack of sockets
  • An older style fuseboard
  • Broken or damage accessories (switches and sockets etc)
  • Fuses which regularly trip
  • Switches which sit proud of the wall
  • Ceiling Lights which are close to windows rather than the centre of the room in bedrooms

Rewiring involves removing the existing wiring system so far as is reasonably practicable and replacing it with new – it is almost always impossible to carry this procedure out without damage to the walls and ceilings of the property. With this in mind there will be decorative works to complete following the re-wiring project. The most convenient time to carry out a rewire is when the property is empty – for example a property which you have recently purchased and have yet to move into.

Rewiring your home can be a messy business, it is a big job which requires effort and expense; however the final result will be that you can rest assured in the knowledge that your  home electrical system is safe for decades to come. At Lumen Electrical we are very experienced in rewires and have specialist tools and an established procedure to make the process as mess and headache free as possible for you. We work with plasterers and cleaners to make sure your property is in a fit state for you to redecorate upon completion of our works.

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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How to become an Electrician

I am often asked by young people what the best way to become an electrician is. The method in which you can learn the theory side of the trade as well as getting hands-on experience is by completing a modern apprenticeship. Being an apprentice can be hard work; here is a realistic look at the journey to becoming a professional electrician .

Pre-Apprenticeship

This is the first and potentially most difficult part of the whole process – securing a place with an established Electrical Contractor. There is a large demand for apprenticeship places however there are a few ways in which you can set yourself aside from the competition:

 

  • Have some work experience – it doesn’t necessarily matter what it is, so long as it shows that you can carry out a day’s work and cooperate with others. Some contractors, such as ourselves, really value positions which involve customer service.
  • Approach electrical contractors – a phone call is probably the best approach, followed up with an email which includes a CV.
  • Be polite, mannerable and have a sense of energy/enthusiasm when communicating with potential employers – remember you are asking a contractor to take you under their wing for several years; they need to be confident that you are the right person to invest their time in and the right person to represent their organisation.
  • Complete a pre-apprenticeship course and get a driver’s license. Although each of these aren’t strictly necessary, they may help set you aside from the crowd and make you more of an attractive candidate.

1st Year

Congratulations on securing an apprenticeship – now the real work begins. You will spend around 30% of this year at a Technical College carrying out practical classwork and theory work. Many people are surprised at how difficult the theory side of the course is so it’s important to stick in and ask for help when you need it. You will be in a class of up to 20 students, you will likely make friends here who will help you throughout the apprenticeship and beyond.

When you aren’t at college you will be on-site with a qualified electrician, known as a ‘Journey-Man’. You will assist them in completing jobs – it is important to recognise that you are working towards a common goal and under their instruction. Many of the jobs asked of you in this year will seem trivial, such as sweeping and cleaning-up, trips to the van and wholesalers and making cups of tea!

2nd Year

You will have gained a lot of valuable experience by this stage. Your company will expect you to carry out straightforward electrical jobs such as running cables, terminating outlets and planning simple jobs whilst under the close supervision of your journeyman. You will still be expected to carry out some of the more menial jobs as in year one, but more and more time will be spent on actual electrical work.

You will spend less time at college, however the work will become more challenging. More time will be spent on theoretical work than practical. Usually a medium scale project which takes several weeks to complete will make up part of the coursework – it will call upon the skills and experience which you have learned so far both in college and at work. You will learn about testing and certification of electrical work this year.

3rd Year

By this stage many employers will expect you to be completing basic jobs under your own steam. You should have worked hard and gained the trust of your colleagues so that they feel confident in letting you spread your wings.

You will spend much less time at college this year and that time will almost exclusively be spent working on theory based learning. There is a large project to complete this year which will take a long time to complete and require you to carry out at work at home in your own time.

4th Year

There is no college time this year – all of your progress will be at work. You should spend time learning how to test and inspect electrical installations as well as basic fault finding. During this year you will have to complete your FICA exam which is the ‘Final Integrated Competence Assessment’. This is a challenging, at times stressful assessment which takes place over 2 days.

Becoming a Qualified Electrician is a long process which requires hard work. Once you have completed your apprenticeship you will have gained a lifelong set of skills and earned a reputation as a skilled professional person.

Good luck!

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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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.

electricians edinburgh

Easy Steps to Finding a Great Electrician

There are lots of electricians operating in Edinburgh – but how do you find an electrical contractor who is a cut above the rest?

Qualified

It’s common knowledge that electrical work can be a dangerous business. The first point to check that your electrician is suitably qualified to plan, complete, test and certify the electrical work you have in mind. At Lumen Electrical all of our electricians are fully qualified and we are members of the NICEIC, who are the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. In short – you’re in safe hands with Lumen.

Reputation

Word of mouth can be an excellent way to find a good tradesperson and online reviews from credible websites can be an invaluable resource. At Lumen we pride ourselves on our reputation – we have outstanding reviews on The Edinburgh Trusted Trader website, Google and Which? Trusted Traders website. If you are still unsure we would be happy to provide references before any works take place.

Mannerisms

What are your feelings on the contractor? Do they have a pleasant manner and do they turn up on time? Do they respect you and your home? At Lumen we are quick to establish trust with our valued clients – from a courtesy calls before the electrician arrives to carry out the work, clear communication and tidy work you can rest assured that you are dealing with trusted professionals who you will be happy to have in your property whenever you need a trusted electrician.

Pricing and Payment

A clear estimate should be presented to you before any work commences – any changes to the estimate should be communicated to you to avoid any nasty surprises when the final invoice is received. At Lumen we send written estimates for all works and in the unusual event that unforeseen costs arise we will keep you in the loop. Whilst we not be the cheapest electrical contractor in Edinburgh you can be assured that our pricing is competitive and clear and that our workmanship and reputation are second to none.

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.

electricians edinburgh

Stair Lighting Repairs and Servicing

Since the 1st of July 2016 the responsibility for lighting in Edinburgh’s communal stairwells has been passed from Edinburgh City Council to homeowners.

There is a legal responsibility to ensure that the stairwell is adequately lit to ensure the safe passage of both owners and visitors. Aside from this legal requirement, a well lit stair makes for more of a welcoming environment for residents as well as serving as a deterrent to uninvited visitors.

At Lumen Electrical we have established ourselves as experts in stairwell lighting repairs in Edinburgh.

We have a firm grasp on which replacement parts work best and understand exactly how the control mechanism for these lighting systems operate. We have a clear, good value pricing structure for the maintenance of existing stair lights – A visit from an electrician which includes calibration of the stairwell lighting timer is charged at £40.00 (VAT included) with each light to be serviced charged at £10.00 (VAT Included).

For example, if you have 3 lights to be serviced the cost would be £70.00 (£40 + £10 + £10 + £10 = £70).

Here is a list of the popular services which we offer relating to Stairwell Lighitng in Edinburgh:

● Recalibration of Stairwell Lighting Timer (From £40.00 VAT Inclusive)
● Replacement of Stairwell Lighting Timer (From £220.00 VAT Inclusive)
● Service of existing Stairwell Light (From £10.00 VAT Inclusive)
● Upgrade of Stairwell Light to LED (From £144.00 VAT Inclusive)
● Upgrade and Repairs of Wiring associated with stairwell lights
● Testing and Certification of Stairwell Lighting Systems

Our stairwell lighting service is completely contract free – we have a proven track record in providing a reliable, value for money service for homeowners across Edinburgh. Written no-obligation estimates can be provided in advance of the works taking place for you to share with your neighbours.

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.

electricians edinburgh

Upgrading your Fuseboard

A Fuseboard or Consumer Unit as it is otherwise known can be found in every home in Edinburgh.

Upgrading your Fuseboard can seem like an expensive, invasive job however many people are relieved to hear that upgrading to the current standard is usually straightforward.

A Consumer unit is the heart of your home electrical system – it is what keeps you, your family and your home itself safe should an electrical fault occur.

Generally speaking a consumer unit comprises a main switch which isolates power to the property, and individual circuits which control specific parts of your home, for example lighting or a cooker. Modern Consumer Units offer a much higher level of protection and safety mechanisms than their predecessors and this is the primary reason why it is such a good idea to invest in the upgrade.

Common times to consider an upgrade would be when moving into a new property to ensure you and your family are as safe as possible in your new home – an outdated consumer unit should be noted by your surveyor and detailed in the Home Report. Another time to seriously consider the upgrade would be when electrical works are being carried out elsewhere – for example the addition of a new kitchen appliance, outside socket or addition of outdoor lighting.

A standard upgrade usually costs around £350.00 – £450.00 and takes a qualified electrician around 6 hours to complete properly. Part of the process involves testing the new consumer unit and each of its circuits to ensure that it has been installed correctly and that it is as safe as possible – an Electrical Installation Certificate is then emailed to you.

At Lumen Electrical we are fully qualified Electricians registered with the NICEIC and backed by their Platinum Promise. Our reputation precedes us and you can be confident that your project will be completed to the highest standards.

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.

electricians edinburgh