10 Commonly Asked Electrical Questions Answered 

Wednesday, 22nd May

For many of us, electricity is something of an essential mystery. We use it all the time, to charge our phones, make a cuppa, send emails and even type blogs like this one. But apart from knowing we plug our appliances into sockets to connect to the power source, many things about electricity remain something of an enigma. This blog will answer some of the most commonly asked questions to try and demystify the subject a little.

1. What is Tripping My Fuse Box?

There can be several reasons why your fuse box is tripping and causing the power to go out. If the circuit is overloaded and there are too many electrical devices drawing power from one circuit, or if a hot (or live) wire comes into contact with a neutral wire, it will cause a short circuit and a huge surge of current that will cause the trip. Other causes include damaged wiring, faulty appliances or even a faulty circuit breaker or fuse box – tripping without any clear reason. It could be caused by wiring or hardware in the system, and you will need a professional electrician to assess and fix the problem, such as our expert team at ONCO SES. Safety is the most important thing, so if in doubt, leave the circuit off and call a professional.

2. Why Are My Lights Flickering?

Flickering lights could be an indication of a loose lightbulb, where the contacts are not meeting properly within the light fitting. However, more commonly, the cause of flickering lights is an outdated electrical system which needs the wiring to be replaced, an insufficient power supply or another appliance on a circuit drawing too much power. Regardless of the cause, flickering lights are nearly always a signal it’s time to call a licensed electrician.

3. Why is My Light Switch or Plug Hot?

If you go to unplug a device, or turn off a light, and find the plug or switch feels hot to the touch, it’s an indication of a serious issue that could lead easily to an electrical fire. The reasons for the heat are likely faulty wiring, overloaded circuits, loose connections, appliances that have the wrong wattage or even poor-quality switches and plug sockets which may be unable to handle the electrical load properly. Whatever the reason for the heat, it’s essential to switch it off immediately and have a licensed electrician look at the problem to ensure you avoid anyone getting a shock or starting a fire.

4. Does Everyone Need PAT Testing?

PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) testing is not a legal requirement. However, it is a way to ensure electrical appliances are maintained safely, especially in buildings with multiple users whose safety needs to be protected. There is no set frequency for PAT testing. However, generally, the IET (Institution of Engineering and Technology) suggests low-risk environments, such as offices, have less frequent testing every one to two years. High-risk environments such as construction sites should have PAT tests more frequently, possibly every few months. For more information on PAT testing read our blog about it.

5. What Is an EICR and Why Do I Need One?

An EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) is issued by a professional electrical contractor following the installation or test and inspection of the electrical systems and appliances within a property. The assessment is to determine whether the electrical installations, such as wiring, fuse boxes, sockets and switches, are safe and comply with regulations. Landlords are required to have an EICR conducted every five years, or at the start of a new tenancy. Many commercial, retail and other institutions are required to ensure the maintenance of electrical systems under the Electricity at Work Regulations, 1989, so having regular inspections and EICRs helps to ensure this compliance as well as meeting the conditions which insurers may demand of the property owners.

6. How Can a Smart Electric Meter Save Me Money?

Information is power and that is exactly what a smart meter can do – provide you with valuable information. A smart meter will provide real-time data on electricity consumption, identifying energy-hungry appliances and uses as well as facilitating easier monitoring of available tariffs and the switching between energy providers to find cheaper deals more easily. A smart meter will also help you to ensure more accurate billing and help to enable more efficient energy use overall. For more money-saving ideas, head to our blog on the subject.

7. How Do Electrical Surge Protectors Work?

Electrical surge protectors are devices designed to protect electronic equipment from voltage spikes. Surges can be caused by lightning strikes, power outages, tripped circuit breakers, short circuits or other disruptions in the power supply. They contain a system created with components which, when the voltage starts to spike, divert the excess voltage away from the connected devices towards the ground, providing immediate protection. They help prevent data loss as well as save on the costs of repairs or replacements, giving greater longevity to appliances.

8. Why Do I Need To Test My Emergency Lighting?

Testing emergency lighting is crucial for safety, compliance and ensuring proper operation during an emergency by lighting escape routes and exits and preventing panic in an emergency power outage situation. Many buildings need to comply with fire safety codes to ensure a safe working environment and to meet insurance stipulations, so having your emergency lighting tested regularly is essential.

9. Is Electrical Maintenance Expensive?

The costs of electrical maintenance will vary widely depending on the type and extent of the maintenance needed, the complexity of the electrical systems and the size of the property, as well as the rates of the electrician contracted to carry out the maintenance work. However, the smaller, regular monthly payments of a maintenance contract generally offer several huge benefits:

  • Proactive maintenance can rectify issues before they become a bigger breakdown
  • Professional electricians mean problems are fixed properly the first time without the need for repeat visits or repairs
  • Maintenance can often include energy audits to identify areas where energy efficiency can be improved
  • A maintenance contract can provide support at a predictable cost and often includes emergency services

Every contractor has their packages for electrical maintenance, so it’s worth finding out what your options are with a professional team, such as ONCO SES. Why not get in touch today?

10. Can I DIY My Electrical Work?

While it might be tempting to attempt to perform electrical work yourself, there are some things to consider first. Many properties’ insurance policies will be invalidated if the work isn’t carried out by a certified professional, depending on the work. Some tasks are fine to undertake yourself, such as changing a light bulb, replacing a fuse or installing or replacing light fixtures or sockets. However, ensure you turn off the circuit breakers, use the correct tools and follow instructions. Check the regulations for your task and make sure you test your work before turning the power back on! For complex tasks such as rewiring, installing new circuits or upgrading fuse boxes, you must engage a qualified electrician as the work must meet specific regulations and safety standards.

ONCO SES are proud to be a professional electrical contractor with decades of experience, so why not contact our team of friendly experts for advice and support with your electrical installation requirements?

Related Articles

Why is PAT Testing Important?

Wednesday, 22nd May

Learn more

How to save money on your electrical bill

Wednesday, 22nd May

Learn more

Need Help?

Speak To Our Friendly Team

Our expert and friendly team is more than happy to chat with you about what you require for your electrical services. Get in touch to find out how we can help you today.