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AK Electrical Services Tips & Advice

 

We often give our customers loads of information that is often too much to absorb in one go. The following information may be of some use, whether changing a light bulb, decorating, putting a picture up or simply trying to save some money on their bill. This way you can decide to read, and take in at your own leisure!

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Painting and Decorating

This is a very sore subject with electricians and for the reasons

Whether painting after a rewire, new installation or simply just re-decorating it is very important to loosen and ideally remove the face plates for several reasons. Firstly, a high quality finish can only be achieved with the plate or accessory removed or loosened. Anyone stating their able to cut in and produce the same result is cutting corners. Secondly BS 7671 (wiring regulations) states all accessories have to be permanently accessible throughout their life. This is for maintenance, fault finding, testing and inspecting, alterations and additions I.e. testing, replacing faulty switches, sockets or lights etc. Finally and you had think this was obvious! It is much easier to paint when not having to cut in around switches, sockets and lights.

When plastering is involved

The most professional procedure when working as a team (this is not always 100% achievable) is after 1st fixing the cable runs and after plastering, the walls are painted, sanded, filled and painted before any accessory is fixed. This is for the reasons above as well as damage can occurs I.e. Paint on accessories or dust in the sockets/switches – this has a detrimental effect that can cause premature failure and is not covered in any warranty. One way around this if temporary lighting or power is not provided is to put freezer bags over all accessories and tape up while carrying out the decorating work – making sure you are well aware of electrical safety – if unsure please ask for any advice concerning this.

Safe Zones

Whether a builder, other trade or DIY-er putting up a picture or shelf it is important to know where the electric cables are run. Now this only applies if your electrics has been installed as per BS 7671 the wiring regulations. If in doubt always take extreme care as cables if not correctly installed can run anywhere!! There are various cable detectors to trace routes but they are not always accurate.

Light Bulbs

Below are the basic domestic types of light bulbs available.

BC = Bayonet Cap      ES = Eddison Screw      SBC = Small Bayonet Cap

Tungsten Filament                      BC,SBC,ES,SES230v         Standard indoor bulb and comes in all of the above
Halogen Filament                        BC,SBC,ES,SES230v         Energy efficient bulb of above
Mains Halogen spot                    GU10230v                           Twist in bulb generally used in recessed lights
Low Voltage Halogen spot         MR16, MR11                      12v Push in bulb generally used in recessed lights
Mains linear Halogen                 117mm, 78mm                    230v linear bulb mainly used in security lights
Halogen Capsule bulb                G6.35, G4                           12v Generally used in decorative fittings
Mains Halogen Capsule             G9                                        230v Higher efficiency lamp of above

Bulb beam angles

This generally applies to spots and their ranges are 10°, 40° (flood) and 60° (extra wide).

Tips when changing light bulbs

Always replace the bulb like for like if there isn’t a high efficiency replacement available. If unsure reference the installer manual or go on-line to verify. We find most problems are caused by our clients installing the wrong bulb i.e. too high wattage, non reflective heat reflective lamp.

Try and de-rate the bulb if not using with a dimmer. For example you will not notice much difference when replacing a 50w spot with a 35w spot. This will save you money and reduce stress on the bulb, lamp holder, fitting, transformer (if applicable).

This is due to the build up of heat generated by the bulb, up to 200°C.

If dimming make sure the total wattage of the bulbs do not exceed the dimmer capacity. Generally 400w nowadays but can be 250w. Likewise if below the rated minimum amount (generally 40-60w) for a dimmer you also get problems. We get at least 1 blown dimmer a week from our clients exceeding this amount!

How to save energy

Some tips to SAVE MONEY, help the planet and boost your profit If you are installing solar PV.

Rough figures with current energy costs is 1w costs £1.50 per year if left on all year. Example: A 100w light-bulb costs £150 to run if left on all year. Did you know a 3Kw kettle uses as much electricity in 2 mins as a 500w halogen security floodlight uses in 12 mins, a 100w light bulb or 2x 50w down-lights use in 1 hr.

Some tips, some getting a bit boring now but still:

1. Switch off lights when leaving a room, such an easy one!

2. Only fill kettles up for what you need and use it without having to re-boil

3. Switch off modems, routers, printers, monitors and PC’s if not using for periods of more than a few hours

4. Switch off mobile phone chargers or battery chargers as soon as charged

5. Don’t leave TV’s, DVD’s, Music systems or Receivers on standby when not using

6. Install dimmers or low energy bulbs where possible

7. Downgrade 50w recessed down-lights to 35w without hardly any noticeable difference

8. Downgrade 500w floodlight bulbs with 300w or when 200w without compromising security

9. For a major impact on lighting consumption use LED lighting

10. Don’t use the dishwasher and washing machine half full

11. Ignore the myth it is better to leave a fluorescent on, the high usage is very brief when you turn it back on

12. When going on holiday switch everything off except your fridge/freezer, burglar alarm etc

Some additional tips if you are choosing to install Solar PV panels

1. All of the above

2. When going on holiday switch everything off except your fridge/freezer, burglar alarm etc and Solar PV

3. Use all heavy appliance’s where possible in the middle of the day when generating the most

4. Use all of the generated electricity (without wasting it) to maximise savings on imported electricity

We work in a lot of houses and are still surprised at the amount of electrical wastage, by simply using less electricity can reduce our carbon footprint, reduce our reliance on fossil fuels as well as our energy bills!