Smoke Alarm Regulations picture of smoke detector

Smoke Alarm Regulations

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations

It goes without saying that inhaling smoke and carbon dioxide is incredibly harmful for the body. Smoke has the potential to inflame your airways and cause respiratory failure. And carbon monoxide poisoning can also cause severe damage to the body. High levels of carbon monoxide reduce the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream which in turn, stops oxygen reaching tissues and vital organs. The end result can eventually be brain damage, heart failure and even death.

Thankfully, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are available to protect you from these risks. However, it’s crucial that you and your alarms comply with the regulations.

What are the Key Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations?

The Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Regulations were introduced in 2015 to improve fire safety and protect homes in the private rented sector. The main regulations that you need to be aware of are the following:

  • A smoke alarm needs to be installed on every storey of the premises that are either fully or partly used as living accommodation.
  • Carbon monoxide alarms must be installed in any room which is used, in any way, as living accommodation or contains an appliance that uses solid fuel burning combustion.
  • Smoke and carbon monoxide alarms need to be tested and confirmed as being in good working order when a tenancy commences.
  • Although not a legal obligation, it is recommended that landlords conduct regular testing to confirm that smoke and carbon monoxide alarms are in good working order.

All of these regulations are logical and sensible steps that can make a significant difference to the safety of all properties. But how do you make sure you comply with them?

How to Comply with the Regulations

It’s down to private landlords to install smoke and carbon monoxide alarms in their rented properties, so they need to take the initiative to comply with the legislation. If you’re a landlord then you need to take note of the following:

  • It’s important to understand what constitutes a storey used as a living accommodation. A bathroom may not feel like a living accommodation, but the Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Regulations classes it as one. Meanwhile, a floor of a property which is purely used for access is not classed as a living accommodation and does not need an alarm.
  • There is no obligation to install a specific type of smoke or carbon dioxide alarm. As long as the alarm is in good working order and capable of detecting threats then it will comply with the existing regulations.
  • All alarms need to be installed and operating from day one of any new tenancy. Therefore, to avoid hefty fines, it is recommended that checking the status or existing alarms (or installing new ones) should be one of the earliest steps to take when renting a property.
  • Once a tenant moves in it is down to the tenant to regularly test the alarms with a recommendation of once a month. However, it is recommended that private landlords also take the initiative to test the alarms in order to maximise safety and guarantee peace of mind.

Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm Legislation UK

By following the regulations to the letter, private landlords can rest safe in the knowledge that they will be providing properties which are safe for tenants. See the current Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarm (England) Regulations here

For more information or for help and installations contact us now

RCD residual current device

What is an RCD?

What is an RCD and How Does it Work?

 

RCD, or residual current device

A residual current device (RCD) is one of the best ways to protect yourself from electrical equipment. Accidents, after all, can happen. And the dangers of electricity mean that the consequences of these accidents can be severe and even fatal. By installing an RCD into your electrical systems you can significantly reduce the risk of electric shock.

Understanding what an RCD is and how it works could make a real difference to the safety of your electrical equipment, so let’s take a closer look at RCDs.

How Does an RCD Work?

An RCD is a safety device which is able to detect faults in electrical supplies and immediately switch the circuit off. This prevents the flow of electricity and provides protection against electric shocks. For example, a sudden surge of electricity will cause the RCD to trip out and shut down the current. As mentioned earlier, this reduces the risk of electric shock, but it also prevents the risk of electrical fires developing from faulty equipment.

Types of RCD

There are more than one type of RCD and the most common ones you will encounter are:

  • Fixed : Typically found within a fuse box, a fixed RCD delivers the best protection against electric shocks. A fixed RCD is capable or protecting individual circuits and more complex setups which are comprised of multiple circuits. This type of RCD is, given its fixed position, constantly providing protection to your circuits.

 

  • Portable : As the name suggests, a portable RCD can be moved to wherever it’s required. A portable RCD is most commonly used when your options are limited for installing an RCD such as on a construction site. The portable RCD simply plugs into an available socket outlet and is then ready to have an electrical device plugged into it.

 

  • Socket Outlet RCD: Replacing a standard socket outlet, a socket outlet RCD provides a much safer option for working with electrical devices. They are commonly found in extension cables and used for outdoor appliances such as lawnmowers.

What would trip an RCD?

An RCD is considered a highly reliable device and will prevent electrical shocks in around 97% of all cases. Naturally, this is a success rate which is highly favourable to your well-being, but it is not a 100% guarantee. Therefore, you should always be careful when working with electrical applications and RCDs by following these best practices:

  • Test Your RCDs
    All RCDs will have a test button built into them so that you can test that they are working and will disconnect the circuit. You should run a test on each RCD every three months to confirm that they are in good working order. If the test button does not activate the trip then contact an electrician to investigate this further.

 

  • Check Your Wiring
    It’s important that any electrical installations (and the RCDs themselves) are checked every 10 years. Wiring can deteriorate over time and circuits can easily malfunction, so it’s crucial that you cover every base rather than relying on the promise of an RCD alone.

For more information on RCDs and the options available to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert engineers.

LED-Lighting

How much do led lights save?

LED Bulbs: How Much Can You Save?

How-Efficient-are-LED-Lights-We’re well aware of the benefits that LED bulbs come packed with. Not only do they have long lifespans, but they also produce unrivalled levels of brightness and embrace energy efficiency. The beauty of all these benefits is that they combine to deliver a lighting solution which is high performance and cost effective.

But how do LED Bulb costs compare to those of traditional lighting methods?

How Efficient are LED Lights?

The traditional method of lighting for homes has always centred around incandescent light bulbs. But advancements in technology have led to the emergence of LED bulbs as the new kings of lighting. Many people initially shied away from upgrading to LED bulbs. Change is always a difficult concept to get to grips with and many consumers have stuck to what they know. Especially when they see the price of LED bulbs. But that initial price tag can be misleading.

Do LED lights really save you money?

There’s no escaping the fact that LED bulbs cost more than traditional lighting methods. An 8W LED bulb, for example, costs around £3.50. Its incandescent equivalent – which would be rated at 60W – will cost just £1.50. That’s an 80% price difference. And that would appear to be significant. But it’s not as clear cut as the initial expense being the deciding factor.

LED bulbs, you see, have a wide range of benefits. And these benefits far outweigh those offered by traditional incandescent bulbs. Let’s take a closer look at how these benefits can lead to long term savings:

  • Lifespan: An LED bulb should be expected to last for 50,000 hours. This gives you value for money in the long term when you consider that an incandescent bulb will only last for 1,000 hours. Therefore, one LED bulb will last as long as 50 incandescent bulbs. Using our 8W/60W comparison, that equates to a saving of £71.50 over the course of the LED bulb’s life. 
  • Energy Costs: One of the main areas where LED bulbs thrive is their energy efficiency. An LED bulb will always use a smaller wattage compared to an incandescent bulb. And this means that less energy is required to power the LED bulb. Less energy equals less cost. If we assume an energy rate of £0.18 kWh, then an 8W LED bulb – used for 4.5 hours a day – will cost £2.37 over a year’s usage compared to £11.83 for a 40W incandescent bulb. 

Is it worth switching to LED lighting? LED-Light-Bulb

An LED bulb is going to be the more expensive option when it comes to the initial purchase. But it turns out that LED lights are playing the long game in terms of price. With a lifespan that far outstrips that of an incandescent bulb, an Low energy bulb is a purchase which will outlast dozens of incandescent bulbs. And the low energy costs generated by LED guarantees you savings on your annual energy bill. Clearly, upgrading to LED is the way forwards in terms of lighting your home.

Learn more about how you can save money on your Industrial and Warehouse Power and Lighting

Faulty-Fuse-Box

Common Fuse Box Problems

What are the Most Common Fuse Box Problems?

Common Fuse Box ProblemsA fuse box is crucial for ensuring that each circuit in your building receives the correct amount of power. Not only does this allow you to keep all your appliances running without interruption, but it also prevents the risk of electrical fires. A functioning fuse box is a vital part of a safe and happy building. But sometimes a fuse box can develop problems.

A faulty fuse box will soon make itself known. And it can lead to scenarios where stress levels skyrocket. This is why you need to be aware of the most common fuse box problems. With this information in hand you can take steps to both prevent and repair any issues with your fuse box.

What are the Symptoms of a Failing Fuse Box?

You don’t need to be a qualified electrician to understand when you have a bad fuse box on your hands. When an electrical fault begins to develop then the symptoms are noticeable and many. Make sure you keep an eye out for these two major symptoms:

  • Circuits which become overloaded will blow the fuses in question and disconnect any associated devices. This is the most common sign that a fuse box is faulty.
  • A burning smell will often indicate that the fuses are burning out and further evidence will be present in the form of burn marks on the fuse box.

If either of these symptoms is present then it’s likely that you’re working with a problematic fuse box.

The Most Common Fuse Box Problems

You’re now clear on what the symptoms of a faulty fuse box are, but what is it that’s causing them? Let’s take a closer look at the most common problems:

  • A Faulty Appliance: Sometimes a faulty fuse box is the result of one single appliance. This could be a kettle, a laptop or a hairdryer. Regardless of the device, any electrical fault present can cause your fuse box to trip time and time again. The only way to identify a faulty appliance is by unplugging everything in each room and plugging them back in until the circuit trips and identifies the device. 
  • Poor Wiring: Fuse boxes can undergo a lot of maintenance work during their lifetime and this can lead to the installation of poor wiring. Wiring that has become damaged poses a major risk of electrical fire as does installing wire which is the incorrect size. Any wiring issues need an electrician to investigate immediately. 
  • Circuits Being Overloaded: Modern buildings are full of electrical devices and, sometimes, this can put significant strain on your fuse box. And this is particularly noticeable when extension sockets are being used. An overloaded fuse box can be very dangerous, so it’s important you carry out an audit of how many devices are running off each circuit. 

Dealing with Faulty Fuse Boxes

A faulty fuse box is an electrical system which needs to be treated with care and respect. And that’s why you should always use the services of a professional. Without the necessary knowledge and qualifications, you’re going to cause more damage and risk serious injury by delving deep into the inner workings of a fuse box.

Stay safe and work with a qualified professional who can fix your problem and stop it occurring again in the future.

Click here to learn more about electrical testing for fuse boxes

What is EICR?

EICR – Electrical Installation Condition Report

Electrical Testing-ELECTRICAL-INSTALLATION-TESTINGOur homes and workplaces rely on electricity to power the many devices we need to live and survive. But we have to make sure these devices are safe. Electricity is a powerful form of energy and can cause serious injuries when it gets out of control. Clearly, it needs to be respected and regulated. One of the most conscientious ways to achieve this is through an electrical installation condition report (EICR).

Why Do You Need an EICR? 

Electrical installations, like any product, age over time and this deterioration can cause malfunctions. Sometimes the end result will be that the device is broken and simply won’t work. But, at other times, the malfunction will lend itself to something more serious such as electrocution. Therefore, it’s important that these electrical installations are regularly monitored. This objective should ensure that the device maintains a level of safety that protects anyone using it.

What is Involved in an EICR?

When it comes to completing an EICR then there’s one thing you need before starting: a fully qualified electrician. The knowledge required to complete an EICR involves understanding the BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations and is not something you can quickly brush up on beforehand. So, you need an electrician in place. And once they begin an EICR they will look at the following:

  • Visual Inspection:

    The first port of call will be to carry out a visual inspection to identify any issues caused by wear and tear e.g. damaged cables or power switches. These are often the most obvious risks present in electrical installations. Also, the presence of any outdated standards or equipment needs to be addressed during this section.

  • Electrical Testing:

    This is comprised of two sections: live testing and dead testing. Live testing looks to test disconnection efficiency in the presence of an electrical fault and the suitability of residual current devices for preventing electrocution. Dead testing concentrates on investigating resistance, polarity and continuity of any circuitry in place.

How Often Do You Need to Complete an EICR?

Until recently, landlords were not legally obliged to complete an EICR. However, the government has announced that an EICR will soon become mandatory. This move has been taken to safeguard properties, tenants and landlords from the risk of serious injury and ensure safer living standards. The guidelines for an EICR will require that the report is completed every five years to guarantee a level of safety that takes into account any deterioration of electrical installations.

There are, of course, other instances in which it is recommended to complete an EICR such as:

  • Following any major damage to a property such as flood or fire damage. These forms of damage can compromise electrical installations and render them dangerous to use. An EICR will help to identify any major defects caused by such events and allow you to rectify them.
  • Before a property is sold or is being prepared to let is an ideal time to complete an EICR as it will provide peace of mind to any new tenants or property owners.

For more information on whether you need an EICR, or what it involves, don’t hesitate to get in touch and speak to one of our expert engineers.

Common Electrical Problems around the Home

Common Electrical Problems

Common Electrical Problems around the Home

We rely on electricity like no other form of energy when it comes to powering our homes. Ovens, hot water and lighting are just three examples of how our homes rely on electricity. But electricity is not without its problems. And, due to the ubiquity of electrical appliances in the home, these problems can soon mount up.

Electricity, of course, can be dangerous when it’s not regulated correctly. So, to prevent a serious injury, it’s important that you understand when something is wrong. Thankfully, you don’t need a degree in electrical engineering to identify these problems.Is Your Electrical Equipment Safe

What Are the Most Common Electrical Faults?

It’s likely that, even with the most modern homes, you will encounter multiple electrical faults every year. Some, of course, will be serious whereas others will be considerably less dangerous. Nonetheless, it’s important to identify them, so let’s take a look at the most common electrical problems around the home:

  • Old, Faulty Wiring:

    One of the most dangerous electrical faults is the presence of old wiring. Much like any consumable product, wiring is prone to deterioration and can soon fall into an unsafe state. Insulation can break down and expose live wires. Older wiring can be of a low amperage unable to cope with modern demand. All of this can increase the risk of electrical shock and fire damage. Updating electrical panels to a higher amp capacity and inspecting any intermittent faults is crucial.

 

  • Electric Shocks:

    The most obvious electrical fault is the one which discharges electricity through our bodies: the electric shock. They most commonly occur when turning electrical devices on or off. It’s always difficult to determine whether it’s faulty wiring or down to the device itself, but the best way to identify this is by consulting with an electrician.

 

  • Circuit Breakers Tripping:

    A circuit breaker is in place to prevent surges in electricity. These surges are most often caused by the simultaneous use of electrical appliances using large amounts of electricity e.g. microwaves and tumble dryers. When the circuit breaker trips the supply of electricity is instantly cut off. This can be inconvenient, but is easily avoided by understanding which items run off which circuit. This knowledge will allow you to limit the usage of items on the same circuit at the same time.

 

  • Frequent Light Bulb Failures:

    It’s always irritating to be left in the dark and we feel this most keenly when light bulbs fail. But sometimes this can happen too regularly for comfort. These failures will usually be limited to one light fixture and this indicates a specific fault with that fixture. These faults may be down to issues such as the supplied wattage being too high or faulty wiring going to the fixture. And, in these cases, it’s best to contact an electrician to investigate further.

 

  • Electrical Surges:

    An electrical surge is any sudden increase in current or voltage through an electrical circuit. While these surges only last for a fraction of a second they can, over time, cause serious damage to your circuits. The most common cause of these surges tends to be a faulty electrical appliance. And the best way to identify the piece of equipment is by removing each one from the electrical supply and monitoring for future surges.

Who to call for electrical problems

It goes without saying that you shouldn’t attempt to fix electrical faults unless you are a qualified electrician. Electricity can be incredibly dangerous, and safety should always be the number one priority. Once you identified that you have one of these common faults, or any other electrical problem, call in an expert to be sure it is fixed quickly and safely.

If you suspect you have any electrical faults please give a call

Call us now: 01923 587 586

mobile phone signal booster

Signal booster for mobile phones

How can you increase your  mobile phone  signal strength?

Mobile signal strength can be a real problem for many people, particularly in rural areas or very densely built up areas.
Using a mobile signal booster or mobile repeater can help by amplifying the available signal to an acceptable or serviceable level

What causes poor signal strength?cell phone signal booster

Poor mobile signal strength could be because your  carrier’s coverage of your area is poor. Also, depending on a variety of  factors, such as the distance to a tower and obstructions such as buildings or trees, etc. Sometimes it is because the signal is blocked by the structure of your home or buildings in the vicinity

What does a mobile signal booster provide?

A mobile phone signal booster (also known as a repeater or amplifier) is designed to replicate the outside signal strength from a high point on the building into the property with as little loss as possible. Mobile phone repeaters amplify signals between a mobile phone and a network operator’s base station and can enhance coverage in situations where the signal is weak. So essentially, if you are getting 5 bars of 4G on the outside of your building you should be expecting to receive something similar on the inside

How do Cell Phone Signal Boosters Works

A cell phone booster function by collecting a  weak signal, enhancing it, and relaying in the immediate area.

For the most part signal boosters are 3 -part systems:

  • The Outside Antenna to capture weak cell signal.
  • The Amplifier to boost the weak signal.
  • The Inside Antenna to rebroadcast the enhanced signal inside your home or car.

What is The Solution Offered by Electrical Installations?

Our solution requires an in-depth survey of the property, looking at the routes for cabling required and the floor space to be covered by the signal.

An external antenna will be mounted at a high point on the building, usually the roof but in some occasions, it will be on the side of the building. This antenna will receive the signal from the nearest mast with the strongest signal.

The data cable is then installed to the internal signal boosters to allow the amplified signal to reach the boosters which in turn corrects the signal to the correct frequency throughout the building.

Installed correctly by a specialist, this can give you the best possible outcome of full 4G as per the outside signal.

Find out more about mobile phone signal boosters for your home or office. Contact Electrical Contractor services, give us a call.
Call us now: 01923 587 586

What is Portable Appliance Testing? PAT Testing

What is PAT Testing?

What is Portable Appliance Testing?

What is Portable Appliance Testing? PAT TestingPortable Appliance Testing is the description for the inspection of the safety of use for electrical equipment.

The inspection consists of a visual inspection of the equipment and an electrical test of the same equipment. Both are important in the inspection and testing due to all electrical faults not being detected just by electrical testing alone. An example would be a damaged casing that exposes the equipment but doesn’t have any fault on the electrical circuits

Visual checks can be undertaken as part of regular maintenance, however electrical testing should be undertaken by a component engineer

Why should I PAT Test?

 

The Electricity at Work Regulations 1989 require that any electrical equipment that has the potential to cause injury is maintained in a safe condition

 

The UK Health and Safety Executive along with insurance companies will expect you to perform PAT testing to ensure that you are compliant with certain regulations including:

  • Health and Safety at Work Act of 1974
  • The Electricity at Work Regulations of 1989
  • The Provision and Use of Work Equipment Regulations of 1998
  • The Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations of 2006

Do I need to PAT test new equipment?

There is no formal requirement to test new equipment as it should be provided in a safe working condition. However due to potential damage / complications in transit and delivery it should be part of your routine visual inspections to check if new equipment is free from damage before using

Is Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) Compulsory?

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) is not a firm requirement by law. However the requirement of all electrical equipment being safe for use is part of several regulations.

An employer is required by law to ensure that all electrical equipment is maintained to prevent danger. How that is done is down to the employer?

The requirements on the employer should be part of a risk assessed approach. Equipment that is heavily used or in higher traffic areas might be required to be inspected more often than those used less so

The more often equipment is moved is also a consideration. Visual inspections should be undertaken every time equipment is moved or reused for this reason

The decision on PAT Testing will depend on these factors

 

How frequently do I need to test my electrical appliances?

There are no requirements for PAT testing frequency, however there are recommendations:

 Offices, Shops and Hotels – Class 1 equipment including stationary and IT equipment should be tested every 48 months.

Moveable equipment such as extension leads and portable equipment should be tested every 24 months. Handheld equipment should be tested every 12 months.

 Schools – All Class 1 equipment in schools should be PAT tested every 12 months. Class 2 equipment should be tested every 48 months.

 Public Use Equipment – Stationary and IT equipment such as computers should be tested every 12 months.

Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 2 should be tested every 12 months.

Moveable, Portable and Handheld equipment falling into Class 1 should be tested every 6 months.

Construction – All 110V equipment used on construction sites should be tested every 3 months.

 Industrial – All industrial sites, including commercial kitchens should have Portable and Handheld equipment tested every 6 months. Stationary, IT and Moveable equipment should be tested every 12 months.

Source: pat.org.uk

Do I need an Electrician to do Portable Appliance Testing (PAT)?

It is not a legal requirement for the testing to be done by a qualified electrician. However depending on the inspections required an experienced electrical person will be more suitable than in house members of staff. The only requirements is all tests are taken out by a competent person

For most visual inspections this can be done by employees within the company. However PAT Testing consists of both visual and electrical testing so the following is recommended and required

  • Do they understand what is to be looked for and what to test?
  • Do they have the correct equipment to undertake the tests?
  • Do they have the knowledge to use the test equipment correctly and produce the correct results?
  • Do they know how to understand the results and what to recommend for remedial works if the equipment doesn’t pass?

An experienced electrician will also complete the works in a timely manner due to their experience, knowledge of the equipment and knowledge of what to test

Do I need to label any equipment tested?

The requirement of labelling your equipment is not required by Law. However labelling serves as a quick visual reminder to which equipment has been tested and how long since it has been tested.

It also allows employees to quickly asses the suitability of a piece of equipment when moving or using it

 Do I need to keep Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) records?

Once again the keeping of records is not a legal requirement.

However records highlight to employees which equipment has been tested and the duration since in association with the labels as above

Read more on PAT Testing

Is Your Electrical Equipment Safe

Is My Electrical Equipment Is Safe?

How Do I Know If My Electrical Equipment Is Safe?

Electricity can be highly dangerous, so it’s important that you know what you’re dealing with when it comes to working with electronic devices.

Regardless of whether you’re changing a light bulb or rewiring a plug, the dangers of electricity have the potential to kill. Naturally, this leads to a high level of concern when working with electricity, but when it comes to electrical safety there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. So, to help keep you safe and confident, it’s time to take a look at how you can tell if your electrical equipment is safe.

Making Sure Your Electrical Equipment Is Safe

Before you start using any piece of electrical equipment, it’s important you establish that it’s safe to use and, equally important, that you know how to use it safely. The following steps are crucial to take when working with electrical equipment:

  • Risk Assessment:

    Many people consider risk assessments to be unnecessary and a waste of valuable time, but the truth is that they exist with good reason. A well thought out risk assessment ensures that you are aware of the hazards associated with the equipment, the risks that these hazards cause and, finally, the ways in which you can minimise these risks e.g. isolating the power supply when maintaining the equipment

 

  • Inspect Electrical Equipment:

    Visual checks are an essential part of staying safe with electrical equipment. Even if you’ve completed a highly thorough risk assessment, a visual check is still vital for ensuring that the equipment is safe to use. Therefore, make sure that you check the condition of plugs, extension sockets and electrical fittings for any visible signs of wear and tear. Anything which is even slightly suspect should be investigated further.

 

  • Ensure Users are Trained:

    Anyone who is using electrical equipment needs to be fully trained on how to use it safely. So, for example, if specific safety wear is required to use the equipment – such as insulated safety gloves – make sure that any users of that equipment are issued with both verbal and written instructions.

 

  • Install a Residual Current Device (RCD):

    The longer an electrical shock is allowed to continue, the more damage it can cause. Accordingly, the safest way to minimise the effect of an electric shock is to disconnect the electrical circuit as soon as possible. This safety measure is made possible by installing an RCD which can detect many electrical faults and then quickly disconnect the circuit. While an RCD won’t completely stop the chance of an electric shock it can significantly reduce the impact of a shock.

 

  • Carry Out Regular Tests:

    Maintaining your electrical equipment is important for not only ensuring that it operates correctly, but also that it’s safe to use in between tests. Regular safety tests should be drawn up before the equipment is used for the first time and these checks must be strictly stuck to in order to reduce the risk of any electrical hazards being allowed to develop.

By following these safety steps, which are relatively simple compared to the potential outcomes from ignoring them, you’re positioning yourself and those around you in a much safer environment.

Differences Between AC and DC

Alternating Current or Direct Current?

Which is Safer; Alternating Current (AC) or Direct Current (DC)?

When you’re working with electronic products it’s crucial that you understand the difference between alternating current (AC) and direct current (DC). Not only will this knowledge allow you to work on these products with a firm understanding of how they operate electrically, but it will also provide you with a vital level of safety.

Electricity, after all, is a natural form of energy and one that can be highly dangerous when not treated carefully or with respect. Therefore, to help keep you safe and expand your understanding of electricity, we’re going to look at both AC and DC before explaining which one is safer.

Difference Between AC and DC

AC and DC are, as their names suggest, both types of electrical currents and they’re differentiated by the directional flow that each one takes. To understand these in more depth, we’ll dig a little deeper into exactly what they are:

  • Alternating Current:

    This form of electrical current can reverse the direction of its flow – hence the alternating title – and it’s this versatility which makes it perfect for delivering electrical power to homes and businesses. For example, if you’re using a television at home then it’s running off AC and if you’re using a photocopier at work then, again, it will be using AC.

 

  • Direct Current:

    An electrical charge which moves in only one direction, DC tends to flow through conductors, semi-conductors and insulators. The most common usage of DC is in batteries as a power supply for electronic devices, but DC also has a use in remote generation sites where it can be used to transfer power in large amounts.

Now you understand a little more about these two electrical currents, it’s time to investigate the dangers they present and which one is safer.

Safety Aspects of AC and DC

Regardless of which current you’re working with, both AC and DC are highly dangerous elements to be working with and have the potential to cause you serious harm. Humans haven’t evolved to cope with the effects of electrical currents being applied to the body and this can result in mild electrical shocks that make you jump all the way through to heart attacks and death.

Whilst both currents are dangerous, AC is considered the more dangerous current to be working with due to the following reasons:

  • The human body has a higher impedance to DC currents than AC, so this means that humans are able to withstand the effects of an electric shock arising from DC exposure much better than when exposed to AC.

 

  • Experiments have demonstrated that it’s easier to let go of live parts of a DC circuit than observed in AC circuits. Naturally, this makes it significantly easier to reduce the impact of exposure to electricity when working with DC compared to AC.

 

  • An electric shock has the capacity to induce ventricular fibrillation which can lead to heart failure and death. Avoiding any form of electric shock is preferable, but DC is considered safer in these circumstances as the human body’s threshold to DC is considerably higher than to AC.

Safety, as ever, is paramount when working with electricity and, whilst DC is considered safer, it’s essential that all safety precautions are adhered to in order to prevent a serious injury.