Working as an electrician I get to see a few horror stories DIY gone wrong or simply incorrectly fitted electrics, here are my top tips on how to make sure your home is safe and sound.
Top 10 Electrical Hints
1) If you’ve still got sockets installed into skirting boards, chances are they’re feed via old aluminium cable & need re-wiring.
2) If your lights have stopped working and they’re on a dimmer switch, 9 times out of 10 the dimmer switch has blown.
3) The three main causes of electrical faults are rodents/critters, water damage (burst pipes & floods) and DIY.
4) Never try to force a circuit breaker or RCD to stay on when it wants to trip. This will damage the device or even worse, you!
5) Just because you pulled out the fuse labelled ‘ground floor lighting’ doesn’t mean the ground floor lights are off! In our experience labelling of fuseboxes and consumer units is rarely up to date so always test with a mains tester screwdriver as well.
6) Remember to test your mains screwdriver first on a known live source! it could be that your mains tester is knackered so you think that the circuit you want to work on is dead but really it isn’t.
7) If one of your down-lights has stopped working but the rest are ok the problem will be either the lamp, the transformer, the lamp-holder or a cable has melted or been chewed through.
8 ) If you live in a block of flats (other than the top floor) the only way to install recessed downlighting is with a suspended ceiling.
9) Interlinked mains powered smoke alarms will be demanded by building control when commissioning loft conversions or joining two terraced houses into one.
10) When putting up shelves and pictures avoid being directly in line with sockets and switches – either horizontally or vertically. This is where the cables feeding the switch, socket or appliance should be embedded and are often unprotected.
So those are a few top tips that I have found are essential to maintaining a healthy home of electrics, in the end, if you're worried about something electrical, ask a Part-P registered electrician who should be more than happy to put your mind at ease.