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The Perils of Doing Electrical DIY

Posted by Michaela Elcoat on 13th December 2016

When something needs fixing within the home, we can all hold our hands up admit we’ve attempted to tackle some form of DIY. Nowadays, many people turn to YouTube or Google for advice or demonstrations on how to correct or change electrical items. Not only does this pose a danger to DIYer’s when doing the job, it could also lead to problems once they think they’ve changed or installed an electrical item ‘properly’.

Whilst doing a simple like for like change seems completely harmless there are often things which if done incorrectly can pose a serious risk. They may not be immediately obvious but after time they can cause faults, fires and leave you wishing you had spent money and got a professional to do the job. Here’s our list below: 

1. Overtightening screws

If you overtighten or squash the copper, the connection could snap off or create a dangerous hotspot, potentially causing a fire risk. 

2. Changing a socket outlet

There’s plenty of people who do this in their home, and they may come across problems when doing so. For example the wires may not be long enough for the new connections in the replacement sockets. This could lead to the DIYer making bad connections or over-extending and stretching cables which puts stress on the connection itself, when this happens, the connection could potentially pull itself out.

3. Light switches

If you have existing fittings that are plastic, they’re electrically insulated. If you change from plastic to a metallic fronted (brushed steel) switch there may not be adequate earthing or any earthing at all. This in turn could cause a nasty shock to someone turning the lights on and off.

4. Drilling into cables

This happens even when you aren’t attempting any electrical DIY. When hanging pictures, paintings or ornaments onto a wall it’s so important to use a good quality cable detector to establish where the cables are running. Drilling through a cable or cables, will not only cause you a nasty shock you can also cause an electrical fault throughout the rest of the house.  Yes the cables should run in line with any sockets, but how can you be sure? It’s always best to be safe than sorry.

5. Light fittings

Depending on the light fitting, you may need to re-terminate cables neatly, which is the point where the DIYer may forget which cable goes where. Again, the cables could be too short for the new fitting causing over stretching and strain. 

6. Non-fused double or triple adaptors

These days most plug adapters are fused so this probably won’t be an issue. However, if you are connecting anything to a double or triple adapter you should make sure that it is fused. If you have found an old 3 way plug adapter in the loft make sure you double check it before plugging everything in. If you are constantly running multiple appliances from these adapters it is highly recommended that you consider getting some proper sockets installed.

7. Not Safely Isolating

Above all else, the most important thing to remember when working on any electrics is to ensure it is safely isolated! Many people make this mistake before they have even started a job. Failure to do so could result in a very nasty shock.

Although these DIY amends seem pretty simple hopefully you can now see why it is always best to leave any electrical changes to a qualified electrician. This way, people know the changes are up to regulation standards and are safe. You will also avoid any future electrical problems within the home.

To seek advice from a qualified electrician today visit the NICEIC website.

Categories: diy, registered electrician, electrician

Why DIY Electrical Work Is Not A Good Idea

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 17th April 2013

DIY electrical work seems to be hitting the headlines more often as more households continue to struggle in tough economic times.

Trade Skills 4U are highlighting the message that the temptation to carry out DIY electrical in your home is never worth the possible consequences that could arise.  With our homes being our main security keeping our closest family safe, its unfortunate that many householders take chances on the safety of their home electrics.

Every year in the UK unsafe electrical work in the home is the cause of 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths.  Despite these frightening statistics, 60% of UK residents are still happy to carry out electrical DIY in their homes.

We're not talking about small jobs either.  Much of the electrical work carried out is notifiable under the Part P building regulations and worryingly it seems one in 10 householders are still unaware of Part P even though there continues to be a huge drive to educate home owners on the importance of Part P Electrical works.   It comes as no surprise to learn that three quarters of those doing DIY electrical work aren't aware that the work they are carrying out is subject to law under the Part P Building Regulations.

A report carried out by the NICEIC is urging householders to rethink their actions as much of this work is compromising the safety of themselves and their family.  DIY work is neither tested for safety not certified which could cause problems in the future if the home is sold.  This is in response to the report findings which reveals one in ten home owners have broken planning and building restrictions to carry out billions of pounds worth of home improvements.  Two thirds of home owners cited in the report would rather carry out electrical work themselves than employ a qualified electrician.

So what electrical DIY work are householders doing?  Over a quarter – 28% - would go so far as to install new garden lighting which carries the additional risk of being installed in damp and wet conditions.  The installation of garden lighting should always be carried out by a qualified electrician.  Over a third of respondents said they would rewire a socket, three in ten would fit a new light switch.  The NICEIC recommends that if a householder is determined to carry out their own DIY electrical work then the work must be notified to the local authority building control department who can inspect the finished job.

Whatever method is used to install home electrics whether by using a qualified electrician or carrying out DIY work, a Part P certificate must be obtained.

If you do really want to re-wire your own home you can get qualified in electrical installation and then notify any major works to building control who will issue your customer a Part P certificate. Our Bronze Course package will bring you right up to speed with the skills in installation, testing, wiring regs and building regs.


Categories: diy, part p

A Step in the Right Direction for Electricians

Posted by Christos Panayiotou on 25th October 2012

Every electrician is familiar with the frustration of competing with Bob from down the pub or Jim the handyman who covers everything from carpentry to electrics.  The types who can always do the job for half the price and don't see any point in a Part P certificate.

After years of electricians feeling like banging their head against a brick wall when seeing countless people purchasing major electrical installation equipment such as consumer units and cable from High Street stores, it looks as though there is finally some good news on the horizon for tackling this on going concern.

MP's are addressing the need for the greater use of Part P Registered electricians in a select committee report.  The report has issued key findings which identify some well needed improvements to Part P and the public awareness of it.

Greater control over electrical equipment sold from DIY stores is top of the agenda with instructions advising the buyer to use a registered electrician to install the equipment.  This is great news for electricians who have long been angered by the continuing unsafe practices of DIY stores.

The committee will be writing to key DIY stores advising them to produce this important advice on their electrical products.  This essential advice will address the need to increase public awareness of electrical safety in the home as well as highlight the important work a Part P registered electrician does to ensure the safety of householders in the UK.

There is also talk of the possibility of introducing mandatory registration (or licensing) to prevent unlicensed individuals from purchasing such electrical equipment.  The committee will be looking into this possibility during a review in 2 years time.

The news has been welcomed by NAPIT who say they've submitted evidence to suggest that 90% of its members support the introduction of mandatory registration.

At Trade Skills 4U we also welcome this move.  No member of the public should be subjected to dangerous works from unregistered electricians.  We always advise home owners to check their electrician is registered with a Part P scheme such as NAPIT or NICEIC and to ensure their electrician has completed appropriate electrical training

As a trainer in electrical courses, we cannot recommend enough the importance of only using a qualified Part P electrician to undertake work in your home.  All persons working on your electrical installation should have completed an electrical course and be Part P registered before commencing work.  Please check qualifications and check their registration by calling the Part P scheme directly to confirm their membership.

Categories: diy, part p