Why call an electrician?

There are many reasons you may wish to call on the help of an electrician, from having a new kitchen fitted, to having an extension added to your house. But one of the most common reasons I get called out is to find a fault that's occurred within an existing electrical system. Maybe your sockets have stoppped working. Perhaps you can smell burning when using the shower, or the lighting is flickering or even out in part of the house.

There can be a huge range of reasons for these faults happening, but it really is best not to ignore them and hope that they go away. Over recent weeks I've seen a number of potentially life threatening situations that have developed. These have been mainly due to either old electrical systems that haven't been checked for long periods of time, or the current owner/previous property owners having tried to fix a problem themselves, or had an unqualified person to carry out a repair or worse still, fit a new circuit.

These two images show a circuit breaker that has burnt out due to a new, higher powered shower having been fitted, but the cable was not upgraded, and neither was the circuit breaker. The resultant fire was thankfully contained within the consumer unit, but this could have had fatal consequences. This is a scarily common problem. By trying to save a few pounds and not getting an experienced and qualified electrician to install the circuit, homeowners run the risk of losing everything.

Of course, trades people can be at fault too. In another job I

was called out to, a team of plasterers had been rather slapdash in their approach to existing electrics. The sockets had filled with water from the wet plaster, which was left bridging the terminals inside, causing constant tripping of the RCDs in the consumer unit.

And thirdly, and also quite unbelievably (but sadly not uniquely,) the tale of the bathroom light where the live wire was held

together with parcel tape. Each time the tenant in the rented flat had to change a light bulb (and it was a frequent occurrence) they were putting themselves at risk due to a dangerously incompetent home solution to a quite serious problem.

To ensure that this sort of thing isn't happening in your house, have your electrical circuits tested and checked by a professional. If you require any electrical work to be done on your property it must be carried out by a competent person, and ideally a professional electrician.