Electricity can kill and is the major cause of accidental fires in UK homes.
Government statistics show that electricity causes more than 20,000 fires a year - almost half of all accidental UK house fires. Each year, around 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured due to an electrical accident in and around the home. Modern living has meant we use more and more electrical appliances in the home. For instance, just 20 years ago the average UK home had a hi-fi system and one TV or video, whereas today it is more likely that there are at least two TVs, a DVD player, a satellite receiver, games console, microwave and computer. The risk of electrical accidents in the home is much higher than before so choose wisely when you're looking to find an electrician. Electrical safety is extremely important and electrical testing and inspection of installations should be carried out regularly. When you have an electrical inspection it will show any problems or potential failures.

Who should I allow to carry out electrical work in my property?
It is important that any electrical installation work is carried out only by people who are competent. This means people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid dangers to themselves and others that electricity can create. It is always advised that when looking for an Electrician that you use one who is registered to a competent person scheme such as the NICEIC, they have been checked independently.  

REMEMBER - It's easy to make an electrical circuit work - it's far harder to make the circuit work safely.

Main Switch

The main switch in the consumer unit (fuse box) allows you to turn off the supply to your electrical installation. Some electrical installations have more than one main switch. For example, if your home is heated by electric storage heaters, you may have a separate consumer unit for them. The consumer unit should be easy to get to, so find out where the main switch is to turn the electricity off in an emergency.

Older homes often have re-wireable fuses which automatically disconnect the circuit to prevent danger. When a fault or overload current flows through the fuse wire, it will become hot, and melt when the current goes above a safe level. The melted fuse breaks the faulty circuit so protecting it against overloading. We always recommend that old fuseboxes are upgraded to a modern 18th edition consumer unit.

Circuit-breakers / MCB's
Newer homes are likely to have circuit-breakers in the consumer unit which switch off a circuit if there is a fault. Circuit-breakers are similar in size to fuse-holders, but give more precise protection than fuses. When they 'trip', you can simply reset the switch. However, you first need to find and correct the fault. We often hear clients saying "My electrics keep tripping, what should I do ?" Constant tripping can be caused by an overloaded circuit.

Residual current devices (RCD)
An RCD is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It provides a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit breakers cannot. Modern consumer units are generally fitted with 2 RCD's. We often get clients saying "My RCD keeps tripping and won't reset ". Constant RCD tripping can be caused by a fault in the electrical wiring or a faulty appliance plugged in.

Fixed House Wiring & Damage by DIY

Your home electrical installation consists of many wires/cables which are hidden under floorboards and within the plaster of your walls. It is very common for people to damage a cable in a wall by hanging pictures for example or drilling. Electricians often get called up with someone saying "I've drilled through an electric cable in my wall, what do I do ?!" or " I've cut straight through an electrical cable under a floorboard!". Our advice would be to use a cable detector on the wall / floor BEFORE any drilling takes place because the repair to a damaged cable usually involves removing it and replacing it.

Help & Advice on Electrical Safety from Swadlincote Electrical Services