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Commercial electrical testing: What you need to know

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What is commercial electrical testing?

Commercial electrical testing helps to keep your business safe and compliant. Faulty electrical systems or appliances can cause risks of electric shock and burns, fire and explosion.

Under the Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 (EAWR), there is a legal responsibility on both employers and their employees to prevent danger by ensuring that electrical systems and appliances within the workplace are safe, suitable for use and maintained appropriately. Part of this involves the inspection and testing of the electrical systems by a competent person, as well as keeping appropriate records up to date.

Who should carry out the checks?

Inspection and testing will check the condition of all electrical installations and equipment on your premises. Assessing the risk is crucial to maintaining safe working conditions, and this will partly be covered by a company’s health and safety assessment. But some commercial electrical testing should be carried out by a competent person who can provide a legally-recognised electrical test report. This will help show due diligence and compliance with legal requirements.

Our team of experienced and fully qualified electricians offers a comprehensive testing and inspection service to give you peace of mind that every electrical element in your business is working safely and efficiently. During an electrical test of commercial property, the power may need to be turned off. At ECY, we are flexible and can carry out the testing when it is most convenient for your business.

What kind of electrical testing is available?

Commercial electrical testing can cover the following:

PAT testing (portable appliance testing)

This is the testing of any items that can be moved from an electrical supply, such as kettles, photocopiers and vending machines. PAT testing should be carried out by a competent electrician who knows how to properly test the equipment and how to interpret the results. Not every electrical item needs a PAT test and some may not need annual testing.

For more information on PAT testing, click here and here.

Periodic inspection and testing (commonly known as fixed wire testing)

This is a very different test to PAT testing. It covers safety checks on the commercial premises’ main electrical wiring system. It must be carried out every five years by a competent and registered electrician. They will then produce a periodic inspection report – also known as Electrical Condition Report (EICR) – which shows that the installations meet the required British standard for safety, BS7671.

For more information on an electrical report, click here.

Electric City’s fully qualified electricians are experienced in carrying out commercial electrical testing on range of business premises, from offices to hotels, and residential homes to retail sites. To read more about our commercial services, click here http://www.ecyltd.com/commercial-services For more information and advice about how Electric City can help with your commercial electrical testing call us on 07885 331 255 or 0800 0345 240.

Case study: An electrical emergency

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THE PROJECT

We were called out to the Yorkshire Museum, one of York’s finest Georgian buildings in the York Museum Gardens, for what seemed to be an electrical emergency. Emergency lights were flashing and there was a smell of burning coming from inside the plant room.

OUR EXPERTISE

At Electric City, we offer an emergency service where we aim to be with you within 24 hours of your breakdown so that you can be up and running quickly and with minimum disruption to your businesses and clients. Often we arrive quicker depending on the circumstances; please tell us what the problem is and we will take action within an appropriate time frame.

We also provide a free no obligation quotation for all recommended work, or a full electrical condition report on the whole premises to give you a complete picture – please see our Electrical Report page here.

As was the case in our call-out to the Yorkshire Museum, not all electrical faults are obvious, and sometimes the first thing you notice is a burning smell or some sparking. If this happens, take great care and try to switch off the main socket. If you’re in any doubt or are worried, give Electric City a call on freephone 0800 0345 240 and one of our electricians would be happy to advise you.

Our team members are trained to become masters at their trade. To become an industrial electrician takes dedication to education and completing an apprenticeship before they are fully fledged to get a job.

Our fully qualified, registered and insured electricians can test and maintain your business’s electrical system, keeping the risk of an electrical emergency to a minimum. They are able to work with a variety of businesses and organisation across many different sectors. Breakdowns can be very inconvenient and detrimental to your business, but using the services of an experienced electrician can help save you time and money. At Electric City, we carry out electrical testing, including PAT and fixed wire testing, and maintenance to ensure your business remains safe and compliant. All our work is certified upon completion to ensure it meets the British safety standard BS7671.

THE SOLUTION

During our investigation at the Yorkshire Museum, we discovered the isolator which is used to operate the lights had burnt out on the switch terminals.

We were able to move the cables to a spare switch, and left the museum fully functioning and safely open to the public.

Case study: Repairing a faulty burglar alarm

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THE PROJECT

We answered an SOS from Hopgrove Playing Fields Association, home to Heworth Football Club and Huntington Junior FC on Malton Road in York. They had a faulty burglar alarm where the keypad was showing an error but the user didn’t know the code and was therefore unable to reset the system. This is an all-too-familiar story in our line of work!

OUR EXPERTISE

For the past 20 years, Electric City has been helping organisations of all sizes keep their people and businesses safe.

We cover all aspects of business security, and can create a tailor-made security system to suit any company’s premises, including emergency lighting. We supply and fit security alarms for all types of businesses: warehouses, offices, hotels, restaurants and other business premises.

Electric City also supplies and installs fire alarms from Emergi-Lite, Gent & Menvier to British Standards. Our fully certified and trained engineers are able to inspect, test and service commercial security and fire alarm systems in the York and North Yorkshire area in accordance with British safety standards.

We provide the relevant documentation following each service, and can also give general advice about your alarm systems.

THE SOLUTION

When we investigated Hopgrove’s burglar alarm, we soon discovered there was no voltage from the Printed Circuit Board (PCB) to the Passive Infrared Sensors (PIRS).

We also found that the internal speakers had already been disconnected. We suspect someone had already investigated this and done nothing with it or found out it was too expensive to rectify.

We are always mindful of costs to customers and always try to come up with the best value solution for each individual client. We supply and install state-of-the-art technology at realistic prices and pride ourselves on not being beaten on price, quality or service.

We have since purchased a replacement PCB from Ebay and are in the process of replacing it and re-programming the system, as well as changing the user and engineer codes.

For more about our alarm services, click here.

Alongside routine testing, we also offer a 24-hour emergency call-out service. Contact us here for more information.

Case study: Fixed wire testing and repair for property management company

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fixed wire testing

THE PROJECT

We responded to a call by RMG Management Company to investigate low insulation readings at a block of flats off Lawrence Street in York. An electrical inspection of fixed wiring revealed there was a major issue and we needed to find the root of the problem.

OUR EXPERTISE

Our experience as tried and tested domestic and commercial electrical contractors looking after customers throughout North and West Yorkshire means we are quick – and qualified – to find the problem and come up with a solution.

We are used to working closely with property management companies to ensure they are complying with all the current regulations and safety legislation. We want to ensure your premises are as safe as possible and that you are meeting all your compliance obligations. Landlords do not want to run the risk of dangerous electrics and unnecessarily high energy bills.

THE SOLUTION

We carried out a thorough electrical inspection and discovered faults to three lamp posts which were full of water.

Our electricians replaced all the internal components and re fixed them. They also drilled holes in the lamp post top to allow water to escape.

As NICEIC members we carried out all work to fully comply with Government Health & Safety regulations.

What started out as an inquiry about low insulation readings, turned into an extensive job, mainly due to the poor design of fittings on the post.

We are often called to carry out an official Electrical Report on commercial premises, offices or houses. People often assume that because wires are hidden, everything is fine but beware of the dangers you cannot see.

Testing should always be carried out by a registered and approved electrician who will produce an Electrical Condition Report (EICR) at the end of it. This shows that the electrical installations meet the required British standard for safety.

Businesses should be properly inspected every five years. Electric shock and fire risks will be identified, along with overloading of circuits or equipment, and a lack of earthing or bonding. Faulty or incorrect electrical work will also be highlighted.

To find out more about our electrical testing, including PAT testing, and maintenance services contact us.

 

Installing an electric cooker: An overview

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There are some great offers on cookers at this time of year, which is perfect if you’re looking to buy one in time for your Christmas festivities or just to give your kitchen a spruce-up for the new year.

But it’s all very well buying a cooker – how about the installation? Here we give an overview of what you need to know about installing an electric cooker.

Factors to consider

Because electric cookers need to produce a lot of heat, they draw a large amount of current.

There are therefore a number of considerations to take into account which could have an effect on the installation. These include the size of the cable (this depends on the power of the cooker) and length of the cable run. A larger fuse will be needed as well as a double pole isolating switch.

You also need to be aware of the type of circuit you use: the cooker should be on a radial circuit rather than in a ring circuit. An electric cooker must be installed on its own circuit and controlled by its own fuse.

Wiring the cooker

Without going into too much detail here, you would follow these steps:

-Wire the incoming mains into the cooker control switch

-Feed the circuit cable into the control unit, then strip the ends

-Connect the cable to the mains

-Fit the correct fuse

Use testing equipment

It is vital that you test how safe the installation is. First, check if your electrical supply’s residual current device (RCD) is working. An RCD protects you from getting a fatal electric shock in the event of you touching a live wire.

You should also check the circuit of the cooker once it’s connected by using an Earth Fault Loop tester.

If you don’t already have any test equipment, it can be more expensive to buy or hire it than it is to pay for a qualified electrician to carry out the installation.

Ask a qualified electrician

You might be thinking that we would say that! But, by law, only competent people – those with appropriate training, skills and knowledge, as well as the ability to carry out thorough testing – should carry out electrical work.

So, if you’re a competent amateur with experience, you could give it a go. But most electrical work is best carried out by a qualified electrician who has the knowledge to install the cooker correctly, as well as the right equipment to test it with.

Furthermore, by law, if it’s a new installation, a Part P registered electrician must be used, as they would be if any new circuit was being installed. So, if the cooker is being connected to an existing connection unit, you can do it yourself, but if you are installing a new cooker circuit then it must be carried out by Part P approved electrician.

 

Safety checks on electrical installations

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Electrical installations should be regularly inspected and tested to ensure that they are safe to use. As with anything, electrical installations are subject to wear and tear and can deteriorate over time. Safety checks on electrical installations are vital to keep your home or business premises safe, and to prevent injury or fire.

Periodic inspection and testing – as these safety checks are known – must be carried out by a registered and approved electrician who will produce an Electrical Condition Report (EICR) at the end of it. This shows that the electrical installations meet the required British standard for safety, BS7671.

The inspection should be carried out every ten years for a house which is occupied by its owner and every five years for rented accommodation. But if you’re planning to buy, sell or let a property, you should have one carried out.

Businesses should arrange for inspection and testing to be undertaken at their premises every five years.

The inspection should include tests on wiring and fixed electrical equipment. It will look at areas such as the switchgear and controlgear, the switches, sockets and light fittings, and the wiring system.

It will take note of any changes of use at the premises that have affected the safety risk, as well as the suitability of identification and signage.

What is an Electrical Condition Report (EICR)?

This will be produced at the end of the inspection and will give detailed information on the condition of the electrics in the property.

It will include any damage, defects or deterioration within the electrical installations. Electric shock and fire risks will be identified, along with overloading of circuits or equipment, and a lack of earthing or bonding. Faulty or incorrect electrical work will also be highlighted.

The report will also indicate any areas that do not comply with British safety standards. Should anything dangerous be found, the electrical installation will be deemed unsatisfactory and action will be required to eradicate the risks from the property.

Read more about safety checks on electrical installations here

Should you invest in LED lighting in your home?

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LED lighting has been touted as the future of domestic lighting because of the range of benefits it offers. And with technology developing in recent years to eradicate initial problems such as high prices and low light output, switching to LEDs is now a viable option for many homeowners.

So should you invest in LED (light emitting diode) lighting in your home? Read on to find out if it’s time for you to make the switch.

It can save you money

Lighting makes up around a fifth of an average household’s electricity bill. An initial investment in LEDs is more costly than other forms of lighting, although LEDs are now much more affordable than they used to be. But you save money in the long term on electricity bills and replacement bulbs because of the energy efficiency and longer lifespan of LEDs.

It’s better for the environment

There are several environmental benefits to using LED lightbulbs.

Firstly, they’re much more energy efficient than other forms of lighting. This is important because they reduce your electricity bills but also have a lower impact on the environment.

In the past the most popular lighting has been standard light bulbs, otherwise known as incandescent lamps. A more energy efficient version of these has been developed called compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), which use 60-80% less energy. There are also halogen bulbs which use 20-30% less energy than incandescent bulbs.

But, even so, LEDs are still better when it comes to energy efficiency. They last an average of 50,000 hours and use up to 90 per cent less energy than CFLs to produce the same amount of light.

Another benefit of LED lights is that they don’t contain toxic materials such as mercury, unlike regular energy-saving bulbs. This means they are safer for use around the home, less harmful to the environment and fully recyclable.

The long lifespan of LED lightbulbs means wastage is reduced, and their low power usage makes them ideal for use in areas and homes that use solar panels.

It’s safer

LEDs emit very little heat, meaning that they pose less risk of burn injuries or fire. And, as mentioned above, they don’t contain mercury or lead.

LEDs last longer

An LED bulb requires little maintenance, lasting on average ten times longer than a CFL. This means fewer lightbulb changes for you to undertake, and less waste for landfill.

You can use LEDs outdoors

Unlike standard lightbulbs, LEDs don’t contain fragile components such as glass and filaments. This makes them much more durable and able to withstand external factors such as rain, wind and cold weather. They are therefore ideal for outside use, such as on patios, decking and paths.

Aesthetics

LED lighting is brighter and more directional. The bulbs light up straight away, rather than taking time to ‘warm up’.

LEDs come in all sorts of colours and hues, so you can tailor your lighting to your preference for, say, coloured light, ‘warm’ light or ‘cold’ light. This is determined by the light temperature of the LED you use, which is measured in Kelvin (K).

You can even get dimmable LED lights, which, although more costly than standard LEDs, are very reliable.

Things to Consider

There are lots of benefits to using LEDs which is making them an increasingly popular choice. It’s worth noting that the light quality is a little different to traditional lighting. It tends to be a ‘cooler’ light and with various colour and hue options available, you should easily find the tone you like best. Also, you may need to update your dimmer switches if you’re switching to LEDs.

Electric City has years of experience of installing LED lighting at domestic properties, both inside and outside. If you’re still not sure about converting to LEDs or what exactly is involved in doing so, we’d be happy to offer advice. Call for free on 0800 0345 240.

Alternatively, click here for more information about the service we provide regarding LED lighting for homes.

Six questions to help you find a good electrician

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good electrician

Finding a good electrician not only guarantees that the work will be finished to a high standard but also ensures that it’s carried out safely and complies with Building Regulations.

Here, then, are six questions you should ask an electrician to find out if they’re up to the job. You may feel awkward asking some of these, but bear in mind how important it is to know the answers to them before engaging an electrician to do any work for you.

1. Are you qualified and registered?

The first thing to check is whether an electrician holds the relevant qualifications and if they are registered on one of the schemes approved by the Government. This gives you extra protection in the event of something going wrong.

The main qualification you would expect them to hold is compliance with Part P of the Building Regulations. This states that anyone carrying out electrical work in a home must ensure it will not cause a fire or electric shocks.

Ask to see evidence of an electrician’s credentials. Some will have an ID badge linking them to a Government-approved Part P scheme. You can also check whether they’re registered by contacting the relevant scheme.

It’s important to check the qualifications of everyone involved in the work on your property. If you’ve employed a contractor such as a builder of kitchen fitter, they are likely to bring in their own electrician. Make sure you have proof of their expertise.

2. Are you part of a Competent Person Scheme?

The electrician you used should also be registered with an approved electrical Competent Person Scheme (CPS) such as those offered by the NAPIT, NICEIC or ELECSA. Introduced by the Government, these schemes are approved by the Department for Communities and Local Government (DCLG) and ensure that work complies with building regulations.

An electrician registered with a competent person self-certification scheme authorised by the Secretary of State will self-certify that notifiable work is safe and complies with the Building Regulations. When using a registered electrician, you do not need to notify a building control body.

Once the works are complete the electrician will arrange for you to receive a Building Regulations compliance certificate within 30 days, and for your local authority to be notified about the work for its own records. If you do not receive this certificate, please contact your electrician’s registration body.

The registered electrician should also provide you with a completed Electrical Installation Certificate to show that the work has been tested for safety.

It is advisable to ask the electrician to provide information about which scheme they belong to and their membership number. You will then be able to check the electrical competent person register at www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk to make sure they are registered. You can find a list of organisations that run competent person schemes for electrical installation work on the Gov.uk website.

3. Can I speak to someone you’ve already worked for?

Getting a reference from previous customers is a great way of finding out more about an electrician’s abilities and standard of work. Ask them what kind of work was done, what the quality of workmanship was like and how happy they were overall. Even things such as how good an electrician is at keeping customers informed of their progress can be important in helping you assess whether you’d be happy to have them work for you.

4. Do you have insurance?

Your electrician should have public liability insurance in case anything goes wrong. You could also ask if they have a warranty policy.

5. Can you quote me for the work?

It’s a good idea to get at least three quotes for a job and compare which would provide the best service. A good electrician will happily provide a quote – but remember, the best one may not always be the cheapest!

6. Will you provide certification of the completed work?

Electricians should always provide a certificate on completion of the work confirming that it meets the British safety standard BS7671.