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Hi

I'm a qualified Electrician and willing to give advice to anyone using this website.

So if you need any help i will try my best to give you an answer.

Or if you want a rough pricing of an electrical job you need doing, i can give you that too so you can tell if you're getting ripped off or not.

Beware of NIC EIC one man bands i know for a fact that some electricians claim to be NIC EIC have all the stickers on the van and look official but are not! (if you're unsure get their NIC enrolment number from them and call the NIC yourself to confirm it)
also i'm not saying this is true of all NIC registerd firms but i have worked for some that could be considered "cowboys".

I will post more information at a later date.

Paul

Okay i've been away for a while because of family problems, but now i'm back and here to help
you can either contact me by one of three methods

this site (which i don't always check)

my e mail: [email protected]

or on my mobile: 07958 598 964 (between 9am & 7pm)
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Replies

  • droopsnoutdroopsnout Forumite
    3.6K Posts
    Wow! That's brilliant, Lucid!

    You any good with French domestic electrical systems? ;)

    Seriously, I reckon you're going to be snowed under! Very kind of you, and typical of the generosity of this Message Board.

    [Sorry if that sounds creepy. It's hard these days to express genuine feeling without coming across as either sarcastic or condescending.]
    Much of the social history of the Western world over the past three decades has involved replacing what worked with what sounded good. - Thomas Sowell, "Is Reality Optional?", 1993
  • sorry i'm not versed with french electrics but its pretty much the same the world over barre voltages and colour of cables. (i think!)
  • WishfairyWishfairy Forumite
    65 Posts
    I don't know if you'd be able to help but there's 2 questions I'd like help with :-[
    1) My Creda Condensair Tumble drier is blowing cold air only and we can't figure out why! We've had it apart and can't find a reset button and the heating element unit seems so intricatley wired in we don't think it will come off ???

    2) In a good few years we are hoping to 'self build' a house (log cabin style). Plumbing is all fairly straightforward but we've no idea on electrics! I'd love to be able to do it myself and have it looked over by a qualified electricion but I've no idea if this is possible or just too big a project for someone who's electronics experience will just about stretch to wiring a plug and changing a fuse. :-[

    Thanks lots for any advise.
  • MisterT2MisterT2 Forumite
    166 Posts
    Scuse me for butting in........

    1) My Creda Condensair Tumble drier is blowing cold air only and we can't figure out why! Normally the circuits are quite simple, usually a capacitor and motor, and a thermostatically controlled heating circuit. If you can see the element and it looks intact, then check the ends (where the cables join) for charring or arcing (blackish marks). If all looks well, have a look at the wires connected to the heater and trace them back.

    One of these should go to a thermostat (unless its integral in the heater). Disconnect one of the wires and, if you don't have a meter, use a torch with a couple of wires to check to see if there is continuity.

    If you warm the thermostat up, it should switch off the bulb (which simulates switching off the heater). If this is fine, you can use your meter to check the heating element (if using a torch you might only see a very feint glow) due to the resistance of the element.

    If that looks okay, have a look at the connections to the heater from the mains switch. The switch itself is working (as it turns), but you may have a bad connection.

    If that looks okay, have a look at the condenser. Depending on the design (a long time since I played with these), they may have a resevoir that has a cut out that will also affect the heater. If it has, perform the same test as with the thermostat.

    2) In a good few years we are hoping to 'self build' a house (log cabin style). Plumbing is all fairly straightforward but we've no idea on electrics


    There are a lot of DIY electric books around and most of these offer fairly sound advice as far as they go. That shouldn't be taken as demeaning, its just that they have limited space. For example, you would be hard pushed to find a book that explained why you had to have at least a 1mm cable for lighting that could carry 11 amps on a 6 amp circuit. When you know the answer its pretty simple, but the fact they haven't told you then means that you might not be aware of the consequences of running a cable in a particular situation. As with those books, I can only answer some of those points here.

    I personally have taught people before and then performed an inspection of the work once it was completed. I have also picked up after 1st fix (this is where all the cables have been run and boxes fitted). So all that was left to do was the connection work. This may be a useful compromise.

    There are a few things that you need to be aware of:
    Log cabins have special rules that govern the routing and fixing of cables. Most electricians will need to go back and check the regs (and I would not accept a tender from anyone that says otherwise).

    As far as wiring houses go (and just so you know). All metal work must be "equipotentially bonded". What this means is that wherever you have exposed pipes, you need to bond them together using 10mm cable and earth clamps. If there are multiple pipes in a room, e.g. bath, sink radiator, then all of these must be bonded together. There are also regulations that state that if there are socket outlets within a certain distance, then they have to be bonded too. So for example, if you change a kitchen sink from plastic to metal and have sockets within a couple of metres, then you bond the pipes to the outlet to the sink and to the socket. This means that if there is an electrical fault, all the items will be at the same potential.

    Also, it is recommended that the pipes around boilers and cylinders are also bonded as rubber/cork insulators could insulate one from another. Also, you will need to bond the water main .....normally street side of the stop !!!!!!, or if its plastic on the house side. Well thats pretty much the plumbing. (You also need one for the gas meter (bond within 500mm of the meter).

    Earthing really depends on the type of supply and so best to find out what the electrical authority want.

    Installing ring mains is pretty easy. The only quirky bit of electrics is the lighting. So long as you mark the switch lines - everything else will be fine. Intermediate switches can be a bit tricky but there is a lot of guidance available.

    Showers, cookers, supplies to garages etc can be a bit difficult to calculate and there are several cable derating factors that you might need to take into account. It should not take more than a couple of minutes to perform a calculation assuming they know what they are doing.

    Most electricians don't know how to wire consumer units (fuse boxes), or if they do, they are too lazy to do it properly. You can check yours. Open it up and look at the ratings of the fuses or mcbs (minature circuit breakers) - are the biggest ones nearest the switch?? Probably not.

    If you are running low voltage cables (including satellite cables) then you should also be aware that there are a bunch of regulations for that (always good to know especially when SKY put a clip at the top of your house, one in the middle, and one at the bottom).

    The other thing you need to be aware of is building regs. These govern drilling holes in beams, maximum size, number of holes, proximity, residual strength and so on. The majority of cables should be run through holes drilled at an angle (definitely not straight) through beams to comply with the building regs.  When you run cables, its 4 times quicker if there are two of you rather than one. Never pull a cable too hard or sharply round an angle as you may chaff the outer sheath. Avoid over bending cables as this can change the properties of the copper.

    Errrrr - so overall its pretty easy. Don't over tighten screws as this will thin out the connections. Remember to run cables for networking, outside lights, alarm systems, places where you might want sockets in the future, bedside lights etc all at the same time. Most cable I installed in 1 house was 4 miles (block of flats actually).

    if you have your house wired, make sure you understand that you realise that the installation  certificate that you might be given only means that it is safe to connect your house to the national grid and not that its safe!!.  If you are unsure about anything - seek professional advice. Always have it checked by a competent engineer (and make sure that you know that they are competent).

    No I don't run classes anymore.

    Biggest problem you will have is allowing for settling and if running cables, watching out for thermal derating factors on the stuff they use to insulate between the logs.

    Other things to note is that any cable/socket needs to be protected within 6" of a surface (work surface or floor), so move sockets up. Recommeded height is 1 meter but I personally don't like that.

    As a bargain tip - when you buy electrical goods there are 3 things to note:

    Cable: 1. Always buy british 2. Make sure it has a  kite mark 3. Make sure it is Basec approved. Watch out for cheap cable. There isn't a lot to go wrong with cable, but sometimes the insulation is not so good. Avoid cheap stuff from Europe - even though it is half the price.
    Aim for at least 60% off trade price

    Aceessories: Umm - pays your money takes your choice. I always used to use Tenby (from Wales). 10 year warranty and in all my years only had 1 broken light switch. They do some really nice paddle light switches that are very hard to get hold of. Avoid cheap makes. Discount varies by make but aim for at least 30% off trade price
    Light fittings - always get the heat resistant type and 0.75mm heat resistant cable (not that cheap 0.5mm pre made stuff).

    Junction boxes: I always used to use Ashley.

    Consumer unit: Generally the updated regs mean that you will need a split load consumer unit. Make sure you get a couple of spare MCBs in case you want to extend it in the future as they can be very difficult to get hold of when the range changes.

    If you get someone to wire it for you, look for a minimum 5 years parts and labour warranty. Thats what I used to give and because I used decent stuff only had 1 call back in 15 years of trading (an MK fused spur went bang). Before you think I must have been expensive, I would say to people to get a quote from the electic board and I would guarantee my quote would be 50% less and I would do a better job.

    My advice - at least run the cables (agree with the electrician on the sizes) and fit the backboxes as this is the most expensive part of the job. After that wiring sockets is the easiest. Light fittings will be easy by then (so long as you know which is the switch line - usually marked with a red sleve on the black wire). Leave the consumer unit to a professional. As they connect each of the circuits, they should perform various tests to check the safety of each circuit as well as performing overall loop and visual checks.

    If its in a few years, watch out for new regulations as these change every few years (just so you have to buy new books).
  • I have noticed posts giving electrical advice :-/

    While this is great lots of people read these threads and while reading them I have noticed.......................nobody is mentioning SAFETY :-[
    People should not mess with appliances until they have unplugged them(seems daft that people won't do that anyway but trust me someone won't)

    Electricity can kill, so if you don't know what you are doing, or don't know all the safety measures you should take, then Please..........................get someone in who does. ;)
  • MisterT2MisterT2 Forumite
    166 Posts
    Oh yes - electrical safety.

    When you perform an installation on a new property you will need a "temporary supply". There are another raft of regulations that cover this but basically its an ELCB with an earth rod and a small consumer unit on a fixed board. Usually you need to have a 110V supply for safety. Its a bit pricey as its generally throw away (well for you it will be) but well worth having as it will probably save your life.

    Lowest recorded voltage causing death was 24 volt I believe.

    Err - just realised the size of the post. Sorry. But then I did write a 970 page book a couple of years ago.
  • WishfairyWishfairy Forumite
    65 Posts
    ;D Wow

    Thank you soo much! That was a fantastic reply and much more than I was expecting! I've already saved it as a document so I'll be able to read back over it when the time comes ;D

    I've got the confidence to at least do part of the work now and (hopefully) cut down on the price of an electrician.

    I don't need to know the whys and hows so long as there's someone (like yourself) to say "have at least a 1mm cable for lighting " then I would! Are there any books on the subject that you would recommend for the novice (ie laymans terms)? Maybe your own? And who do I ask for a copy of current regulations etc?

    :-* Thanks again.
  • MisterT2MisterT2 Forumite
    166 Posts
    Um - no my book was very specialised on making big computer systems go faster. Probably about as interesting as the mating habits of a slug if you aren't into that type of thing.   :-/

    Start with some basic books that give you the basics. Check the sizes with someone fairly competent at the time (the trade counter of your local electrical wholesaler is always a good bet).  

    Have a look at "guides to the" IEE wiring regulations. These are a lot simpler to understand and some include practical worked examples.

    The only other bit that you will really need are the cable capacity and derating factor tables which you can probably photocopy from the IEE regulations at your local library (check copyright terms first!).

    While these will help with any special cable runs, mistakes are very expensive (such as using 6mm cable for a 7Kw shower and then finding out you needed to use 10mm just because it was a long run, or ran through the loft, or was in contact with thermal insulating plaster).  

    A course of evening classes should prove their worth and should save you a lot of money.

    PS 1mm is the minimum, many people use 1.5 as this saves having to think when running cables through an insulated loft space that also gets really hot in the summer. So, if someone gives you some advice that you think is different to some you have had before, always ask them to qualify it.
  • plumb1_2plumb1_2 Forumite
    3.2K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭
    There are also regulations that state that if there are socket outlets within a certain distance, then they have to be bonded too. So for example, if you change a kitchen sink from plastic to metal and have sockets within a couple of metres, then you bond the pipes to the outlet to the sink and to the socket. This means that if there is an electrical fault, all the items will be at the same potential.

    With all the DIYer,s useing plastic push-fit pipes now,MOST dont realist the risk they are takeing by not cross bonding.Plus the risk of insurance companies not paying out.Although you have a job claiming when your brown/bread.
    A thankyou is payment enough .
  • WishfairyWishfairy Forumite
    65 Posts
    So, Plumb1, would you recommend that we don't use plastic pipes?
This discussion has been closed.
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