10 Tips for Electrical Work and Your Safety

When you’re considering electrical work you should put safety first. This article gives a few pointers regarding electricity and safety for you, your family and your home.

1. Never take risks where electricity is concerned. Electricity can cause serious burns, health problems and kill.

2. If you’re not qualified to do electrical works then get a registered electrician to give you a quote on the work to be done. Don’t be tempted to have a go at it yourself. It is a good idea to ask around your neighbors, friends and family who they could recommend as being good and reliable. Get several quotes and choose one according to both their ability and your price range.

3. When you get quotes, ask for references and check them out. You should also ask to see their registration certificates to verify they are qualified and registered.

4. Have a good look at all the work you may need doing. Check all your plugs and sockets for loose or exposed wires as well as cracked or damaged sockets.

5. Light fittings are a common source of problems due to the heat generated by the amount of current flowing through them. Check that they are not cracked or brittle.

6. If appliances are damaged or have electrical cables exposed you should have them tested by an electrician to make sure they are safe to use. If they’re not safe then you need to determine whether it’s more economical to repair or replace it.

7. When all your repair work has been done, it is recommended that you cover your sockets with plastic socket covers that are not easily removed by children. This is to prevent children from pushing objects into the sockets and coming to harm.

8. It is also worth doing a first aid course so that you are able to respond quickly in the event of an electrical accident. Many power suppliers run courses or will be able to advise you where one is available in your area.

9. Invest in a portable fire extinguisher. Because water is a conductor of electricity you will need to get a chemical extinguisher. You need to have some sort of reminder to check the charge and that it functions correctly on an annual basis.

10. Teach small children the dangers of electricity and how to be safe. You can use books or DVD’s as an aid to the training which are available on the internet or bookstores.

Don’t Fall Prey To Cowboy Electricians

Many home owners are not DIY experts or even enthusiasts and so they require professionals to carry out work on their house. This might be a builder, a roofer, a plumber or an electrician among others. When you let someone into your home, you want to feel that they are reliable, professional and fully qualified, however you cannot always be guaranteed this. There are the so called cowboys or rogue traders who cost the public thousands of pounds every year for unfinished work or work that is so poorly finished it needs redoing. There are even con artists who will claim to trades people, come into your home and steal from right under your nose! Home owners want and try to avoid these rogues at all costs but how can you make sure that you hire a professional and qualified electrician?

There are a few tips you can follow so that you are more likely to get a reliable, qualified and good value electrician who is not going to rip you off or leave your home unsafe. The most important thing to remember is to listen to your gut instinct. If you do not trust the electrician when you speak to them on the phone or when they come round to your house to give you a quote, do not let them work in your home.

But what are the tips that you should be following?

Look for Customer Reviews

Customer reviews are one of the best ways to spot a rogue trader from a reliable tradesman, however, not the ones that are listed on the websites of the electrician as it is possible that they have made them up themselves or doctored them to be more complimentary. There are websites you can use to find real reviews from real customers such as rated people.

Check their Website

Do a quick search for electricians Bradford or Newcastle electrician and you will be presented with a list of your local sparkies. You can then click onto their websites to check that they have the right qualifications and to see if they do the work that you need. Some badges of professionalism include the NICEIC or National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting.

Ask for Referrals

Amongst your friends, neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances there will probably be a handful of people if not more (depending on how popular you are) who have used a local electrician. The best way to gage the professionalism, prices and reliability of a local sparky is to ask them for their referrals. Very few people, let alone a true friend, will pass on the details of an electrician who has left their house unsafe, done a bad job or ripped them off.

So if you want to avoid the cowboys and go straight to the certified electricians in your area, use these tips and make sure that you are happy with the person you choose.

Paying Your Electricity Bills On Time Will Help You Save Money

These days, electricity prices have been getting more and more expensive and with winter season almost approaching people are finding ways as to how they can save on their electricity bills. This article will provide you tips on saving money from electricity and can be applied immediately if you want to.

Companies that supply their consumers with electricity and gas have offers that help you have discounts when you pay your bills by direct debit. This ranges from 10% – 15% discount depending on the amount you will be paying for your electricity or gas consumption. This discount is being offered to push you to pay by direct debit because those companies know that when you pay in this kind of process (direct debit) they will receive the payment almost instantly.

Many gas and electric companies now have billing centers that enables you to pay for your electricity bills and gas bills at once. These companies offer you discount if you are ever billed through them. The reason why you receive a discount just by paying through them is because they know that you are a consumer of their product. Also companies bill their consumers with electricity and gas by using one paper which also saves the company from extra costs on billing materials, which is then passed on to you (consumer) that helps you lower your electricity bills as well.

To those that do not pay by direct debit but pays with the use of cheques or paying directly by having to go to a post office, you may still get a discount just by paying on time. Having to pay your bills on time is a lot more than paying your bills because you electric and gas supplier reminded you with notices. Again, the discount still ranges from 10% – 15% when you pay on time.

Many companies that bill their consumers and even companies that supply their consumers with gas and electricity offer discounts if the consumers themselves send their meter reading through email or by telling it through phone. And because those companies recognize the efforts that you will make by helping them not send you bills, they will give you discount instead.

The most effective way on saving money and lowering electricity bills is by having to change your outdated light bulbs into the modern energy saving bulbs. Most electric companies offer this kind of gesture as their token of appreciation to their loyal consumers. Some have said that they only called their electric provider and got free energy saving light bulbs. Not plugging appliances that still connected to the sockets consumes significant amount of electricity. By simply unplugging those when they are not in use can save you electricity and money.

Electrical Wiring Upgrades: The Safety and Efficiency Behind It

Your home or business’ electrical wiring is an often overlooked component to your electrical system. Many assume that just because the lights turn on and your electrical devices work, that there is no discernable problem your wiring. However, wiring degrades over time and can pose a significant danger if not properly tested and replaced. Additionally, wiring upgrades can become a sizeable inconvenience if there’s little straightforward planning. Going forward with a wiring upgrade though can ensure your home or business’ safety and allow you to plan for your future energy needs.

The primary reason for considering a wiring upgrade is naturally safety. Any home or building that is over 30 years old may not be up to code and pose a fire hazard. In fact, faulty wiring is one of the principle causes of home fires. Wiring, in general, is typically installed properly. But as a homeowner, unless you were present for the initial installation, there’s no definitely way to determine if the wiring has not degraded.

There are some tell-tale signs that wiring needs to be replaced and they include repeated flickering lights and breakers that repeatedly blow. The key to noticing these signs is that they occur regularly. If such is the case, it almost certainly is a wiring issue. Other signs indicate a more serious danger and include discolored or sparking outlets, burning odors from outlets or appliances, and noticeable static electricity from appliances. These signs indicate a potential fire hazard and should be addressed immediately.

But while an electrical wiring upgrade addresses potential present hazards, it should be also a process that allows you to prepare for your future electrical needs. Many old residences were built with wiring for 60 amps, the past standard for electrical devices. However, today has seen a dramatic rise in the number of amps electrical devices require. Without the proper voltage, many of your high-end electronics will not work properly and could suffer serious damage.

A wiring upgrade, then, is the ideal time to consider your current and future energy needs. The wiring upgrade process is the perfect time to install new outlets in order to alleviate the use of power strips in addition to ensuring that the proper voltage is running to your devices.

While a wiring upgrade is an inherent inconvenience, seeing as it structurally is in your walls, it is nonetheless a service many homeowners should consider, particularly for those with older homes. Going forth with a wiring upgrade now could prevent a potential fire disaster as well as providing you with the opportunity to ensure proper electrical voltage to your new devices.

The Best Features of Generac Portable Generators

Portable generators are very popular because they can be used just about anywhere. One of the most popular brands is Generac portable generators because they are one of the few companies that strive to meet industrial, commercial, and residential needs and they do all three quite well. While there are many great features about the Generac brand, there are major characteristics that makes it one of the most popular on the market.

Quiet Operation
One of the complaints among many people who have ever used a portable generator is that many of them are very loud, which makes it very hard to use in a home environment and even difficult at a work site. The Generac portable generators are quiet in operation and have been specially made to work quietly, which of course makes them extremely popular for anyone needing this item.

Replacement Parts are Available
There is nothing worse than needing a replacement part on an item you have purchased only to find out they no longer make the parts or you cannot find it. This will not happen with it because the parts are available, which means you are back in business quickly especially when you rely on a portable generator for your work site or commercial use.

Manufactured in the United States
Where a product is manufactured is a huge ordeal especially when it comes to finding replacement parts or getting help with customer service. All of the Generac portable generators are manufactured in Iowa or Wisconsin, which makes it easier to not just get your replacement parts but to get help from customer service.

This is another benefit that many love about the Generac brand, their customer service is top-notch and all you have to do is pick up the phone and you will be speaking with someone very knowledgeable of your specific generator. One of the elements to any good product is having the customer service to back it up and make sure that all your concerns and questions are addressed in a timely and professional way.

Different Sizes for Varying Budgets
One of the nice aspects is that they make many models for varying budgets and various needs. For instance, the company makes large sizes for commercial uses, rugged units for work areas, such as construction areas, and then smaller units for those traveling in RV’s. In addition, the company makes generators for home use in case of a power outage due to storms or any other mishap.

Final Thoughts
They are one of the most popular for a number of reasons because they offer what residential and commercial need in a backup generator. They make them in various sizes in order to meet your needs and to find the best possible way in which to make sure you have a reliable source of power when you need it.

Professional Electricians Are Needed for Rewiring an Old House

Rewiring an old house is something that you must give careful consideration to, as this can be extremely costly. I recently made the expensive mistake of trying to do a botch job, thinking I could get away with only fixing part of the problem and not rewiring the whole house which totally backfired on me.

I recently bought an old three bedroom house in Stoke on Trent that was in need of some renovation. Little did I know before I thought the property that there were some serious issues with the electrics and some difficult electrical jobs ahead even for the experienced electrician.

I thought I could get away with just changing my old a dilapidated fuse box, one which looked like it had taken a step back in time to the first world war! What I did not realise was that the rest of the old wires in the house simply couldn’t cope with the amount of electricity flying through them!

I tried to do the job myself, I’ve changed a few plug sockets before and I really thought I’d be able to change an old fuse box, I mean, what could be so difficult, blue is left, brown and right and green and yellow wire are earth right? The easiest way to explain what happened is simply the house nearly burned down and I nearly killed myself! Turns out there is far more to changing a fuse board than I originally thought and believe you and me, it is not something that should be tackled without a considerable amount of expertise, knowledge and experience.

So as you don’t make the same mistakes I did, what I’d like to do is point out some considerations when looking at updating the electrics of an old house.

Wiring – is the wiring black or grey? If it’s black then the electrics need checking as this means the cabling is old! New cabling is grey and heavily insulated in grey PVC so get it checked!

Plug sockets – if your plug sockets are round and you have some round pin plug holes, then this is real sign that your electrics is old. When these types of circuits were installed many years ago, there wasn’t the heavy demand on electricity like there is in the modern day home today. All my kids have laptops, TV’s, DVD players, Playstaions etc. etc. Old circuit boards simply can’t cope with the demand of the modern day home. Get it checked.

Fuse Boards – if your fuse box looks old and dated and it uses copper wiring then get it checked straight away, again, old fuse boxes simply can’t cope and will be prone to blowing all the time.

What you need is a professional electrician who can check your electrics, rewire your house properly making sure it has all the necessary safety certificates which can be extremely useful when selling your home. If you need qualified and professional electricians in Stoke on Trent then look no further than Copeland’s Electrical Services.

Plasma Flat Screen Televisions

Buying a new television is a pretty big investment. No one wants to be stuck with something that is low quality, falls apart, or has bad resolution. These days there is demands for better technology more than ever. People want something that will give them the best quality, lasts long, and fits their needs. Plasma TVs are the most recent addition to television technology that accommodates the needs of the electronic savvy. These TVs are more popular now than ever before, which is most likely due to their varying sizes, slimness, and modern appeal.

It’s understandable that before making a big purchase like a plasma you would like to know more about it. Some things you might want to get to know is how it works, most of it’s features, and it’s size variances. Plasma TVs are all flat display panels. The name plasma TV actually came from the workings of what the TV is made of. Inside of the plasma television is millions of plasma cells, the same cells that are inside products like fluorescent lamps. What makes this television light up and the plasma work is an unique mixture of noble gases and a bit of mercury inside of little compartmentalized spaces between the glass panels of the plasma television. When the television is plugged in and given power, the mixture of gases and mercury mixes together to make the plasma. All of these internal reactions create the magic that happens on the screen.

One of the most loved things about the plasma TV is that it comes in big sizes, and even when it stretches bigger the quality is never compromised. The average sizes you can buy is about 32 inches to 63 inches, but you can always find larger screens up to 150 inches from side to side. Keep in mind that it is difficult to find a plasma smaller than 37 inches, because these are meant to be big TVs. The thickness of the screen generally varies from 2.5 inches to a maximum of four inches thick. Every screen is made of glass, which may cause a negative glare effect or reflection.One way to avoid this is by getting one that has something like an anti-glare filter. A good point is that these can be wall mounted. However, when wall mounting it is suggested to be very careful because plasma televisions are extremely fragile. If taken care of properly they can last from 30,000 to 60,000 hours, or more recently up to 100,000 hours.

The plasma TV is recommended for gamers because it doesn’t get motion blur due to it’s ability to refresh quickly and handle quick images. Not only will it provide precise timing, but the display offers great quality for bright pictures with it’s wide colour gamut. The brighter pictures will tend to use more power than darker ones, but darker scenes are known to be very intense with deep colours.

Don’t Get Caught Out By Cowboy Electricians

You might have seen the news or television programmes which unmask the cowboy traders in your neighbourhood in an attempt to stop them from taking advantage of more homeowners. You may well have experienced a rogue trader yourself or know of people that have been. Cowboy traders cost the UK economy thousands of pounds and cause emotional distress to home owner’s right across the country. This article will help you to avoid those electricians, plumbers and builders that prefer to cause you more problems rather than fix your problems.

Qualifications and Certifications

Most trades have a certification body which assesses their qualifications and work to make sure that their traders are good enough to get on their register. For electricians this is the NICEIC or the National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting. For traders working with gas such as plumbers and central heating installers they have to be registered with Gas Safe, otherwise they are trading illegally. You can check the electrician’s website to see if they display the badges of their specific certification body and they should also carry their registration card with them on all jobs. If your electrician or plumber cannot provide you with proof that they have been certified then do not work with them, you are letting yourself in for a whole load of trouble.

Customer Reviews

By doing a quick internet search for something like electricians in Newcastle or plumbers in Hull you will be presented with a list of your local traders. You may also be able to see some of their customer reviews, especially if they have a map and business page on Google or the other search engines. Once you have the names of a few traders that you are considering you can also do a search for their name and this will bring you more specific customer reviews. If there are negatives you will be able to avoid them before they start working on your house. Likewise, the positive ones can be seen as an indicator that they have provided good work in the past. Do not take much notice of the reviews on their own websites because these can be doctored or fabricated entirely.

Referrals form Friends

To find out which are the most reliable electricians in Newcastle or plumbers in Hull, why not ask your friends, colleagues and neighbours? They will be much more likely to give you an honest review than anything you find on the internet. Also, because most traders get the majority of their work through referrals, they will be more likely to work hard and well if they know that you might refer them in the future. If you trust the people that have given you recommendations then you are likely to end up with a good trader, not a cowboy.

Avoiding the rogues and finding a reliable trader is something that every homeowner wants because when you get stung by a cowboy it can leave your house unsafe and your bank balance empty. If you follow this advise then you should end up with a good electrician, plumber or builder that you trust will do a good job for you.

Why Is The Gable Exhaust Fan So Popular?

To improve ventilation in the attic, which consists of hot air being forced outside through the exhaust system and moisture being prevented from building up during cold weather, you have two primary options – an attic vent fan or a gable exhaust fan. While the concept is the same for both, the installation process and operation are unique.

For one thing, instead of being mounted on the roof as with the turbine type of fan or box unit, the gable style is actually mounted on the gable. Of all ventilation systems used for the attic, the gable fan is considered by industry professionals, as well as consumers as being the easiest to install. For this reason, homeowners who want a cost efficient solution and a type of vent fan they can install will go with the gable.

Once this type of fan has been installed, it works as a highly efficient ventilation system. The way in which the fan functions is that extremely hot air collected near the ceiling is forced out by the exhaust system to the outside. The louvers through which this air goes may or may not be covered with mesh but when purchasing the equipment for a fan used to vent the attic, one covered with mesh is highly recommended in that it prevents animals and debris from getting inside.

Along with forcing hot air from the attic out, a ventilation fan also helps by replacing the hot air with cool air that comes from the outside in. The reason it is so critical that the right type of fan be used for ventilation in the attic, along with quality insulation is that if the hot air were allowed to remain inside, it would cause moisture to build up. With that, your home would be at serious risk for growth of mold and mildew, which are hazardous to a person’s health.

With this type of fan system, vent options include high and low. With the high vents, this refers to a section of the vent system that allows the hot air in the attic to be moved to the outside. For this, you would have a choice of ridge or gable vents. As far as low vents, this part of the system design is actually mandatory to bring cool air from the outside back into the attic.

Along with standard features of a gable exhaust fan, you would have several optional features to consider. For these, the most popular is the thermostat. Because a gable exhaust fan is powered by a motor, a thermostat can be highly beneficial whenever the level of heat in the attic reaches excessive levels.

Some Common Questions About Solar Lights

How do solar lights store energy and how do they work?
Each fixture contains a solar collector panel that converts sunlight into electrical energy. The energy is stored in a rechargeable battery, used to power the fixture at night.

What is the difference between solar and other lights?
The term is misleading. There are many different kinds of light bulbs. When people talk about these types of fixtures what they are really referring to is how is bulb being powered, where is the energy coming from to turn the fixture on and make it glow. Solar lights as the name implies get their energy from the sun. During the day the sun shines on a solar collector panel and the energy from the sun is converted into electricity and stored in a battery that is then used to power the light bulb. Most use LED bulbs. This type of bulb uses very little electricity and can easily be powered by a battery.

How long to solar lights stay on?
The answer to that question depends on how well the batteries are charged. A few factors that can affect how long your lights will stay on are things such as how much sunlight does your region receive, where did you place the solar panel that collects the sunlight, if it is in direct sunlight, then it should charge the batteries that power lights no problem.
Most solar fixtures can stay lit for up to 10 hours with charged batteries.

Are solar lights as bright as regular lights?
They are usually not as bright as other outdoor lights. How bright your lights will be depends on how many LED light bulbs are in each light and how much power is each light getting, which depends on the sun.