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 phone 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.


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?

Is Your Electrical Equipment 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.

Call us to book an electrical installation survey or a quotation, or simply to talk through your current project.


Electrical Installation Services – Client Case Studies

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.

Electrical Installation Services Home-Cinema-Systems-Installations-

AV Installation Guidelines

AV Installation checklist

AV equipment is now used in every conceivable setting, from the home, to our place of work, to our schools and our shopping centres. This technology is also becoming increasingly sophisticated and connected, enabling us to do things that would have been impossible a few years ago. Check out the Av installation checklist below

AV Installations Have Become UbiquitousHome Audio Visual Installation London | Home Cinema Systems Installations


Technology now touches virtually every aspect of our daily lives, and AV equipment is a core part of that.

  • Office – In our places of work, TV screens are now common place, include as digital signage or showing news streams around the office. Technology allows us to collaborate in previously unimaginable ways, with screens and conferencing facilities in meeting rooms making it easier to share ideas.
  • School – Tech also plays a larger role in education nowadays, with interactive whiteboards becoming the norm. Projector systems are widely used to present to large groups.
  • Retail outlets – Our shopping centres, and other public spaces are similarly awash with technology. Advertising is show on screens all around us, and public announcement systems make it easy convey information to the masses.
  • Home – At home technology is becoming increasingly connected and increasingly smart. This includes everything from multi room TV and audio experience, to home cinema and security systems. This is being integrated with the latest developments in voice and gesture control.

AV Installation – The Right Way

If you’re making a significant investment in AV equipment, whether professionally or personally, it is beneficial to consult with professionals in this space. They will be able to advise on a number of key issues that will help to make sure your project is a success, including:

  • Power and cabling – As part of the AV installation it is essential that you consider the best way to connect equipment to the existing power circuits and network infrastructure. Concealed cabling is an excellent way to create a sleek modern look.
  • Secure fitting – It goes without saying that surfaces need to be assessed and properly prepared to ensure that they can take the weight of the equipment. This is doubly important in public, or work environments where health and safety is a key consideration.
  • Integration with other systems – To maximise your investment, it is wise to understand how well your AV equipment can integrate with other systems.
  • Future proofing – Technology is constantly changing, so it is important to make sure that where possible, you’re building your AV system in such a way that it is possible to upgrade components over time.

If you are interested in starting a new AV project and would like more information to help make sure it goes as smoothly as possible, don’t hesitate to get in touch to speak to one of our technical experts.

Call our Sales office on 01923 888588 or for your free AV survey and quotation
Audio Visual Installation -Sonos

Sonos tips, tricks and features

Sonos Set Up Top Tips

Sonos tips, tricks and features to help you set up your Sonos Set Up.

These Sonos Set Up tips will tweak your system to work even better and more efficiently. The attraction of a Sonos system within your commercial or residential building is its ease of use and various options on instillation to suit a new or existing installation environment.

1.    Music Servers – Adding your music services

Tidal, Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, Google Play and many others are possible to link to your Sonos system and stream directly through your Sonos standalone speakers and amps.


Select “Settings”

“My Music Services”

“Add Another Account”

“Choose Music Service and sign in with log in details”

2.    Playlists – Creating a new Sonos playlist

Creating a playlist within Sonos allows you to save various songs and tracks to a single playlist for later playback

Select “Song or Album”

Click “3 dots to right of Song / album”

“Add to Sonos Playlist”

Click “3 dots in top right hand corner of screen”

“New Playlist”

3.    Playlist from Various Sources

Create a collated playlist from various music services. Choose music within your favoured music service and add song to a chosen Sonos playlist that can then be played seamlessly directly from the playlist

4.    Direct Playback from music services

Several music services allow for direct playback to your Sonos system from your music server app. Music services such as Google Play Music and Spotify connect with more being adding constantly

5.    Play music directly from your own device

As well as playing music from streaming services you can play directly from your own devices.

Select “Room”

Select “Browse”

“On This Mobile Device”

Choose album / artists / songs etc

6.    Sonos Sleep function / Fall asleep to music

Sonos has the capability to set a sleep timer that automatically turns off your Sonos system after a set time as a sleep function or automatic shut off

Select “Room”

Click “3 dots to right of track listing”

Click “Sleep Timer”

7.    Wake Up Alarm

Opposite to the sleep function your Sonos system will also wake you up at a set time and to a set music.

Select “ More”


Select “Time / Room / Frequency / Volume”

Select “Music”

Select “Radio / Playlists / Music Service / Chime”

8.    Sonos White Light On / Off

The Sonos light on a connect or play unit can be very distracting is within a sleep area such a bedroom. The light is manageable to turn on or off

Select “ Settings”

“Room Settings”

Select “Room”

Check / Unchecked “Speaker Status Light”

9.    Fine Tune Sound

Each Sonos unit has the ability to fine tune the Loudness, Treble and Bass

Select “ Settings”

“Room Settings”

Select “Room”

Select “EQ”

“Adjust Treble / Bass / Loudness”

10.    Crossfade

This function allows for a smooth transitions between your playlist / song queue

Select “now playing song”

Click “3 dots to right of song listing”

Toggle “Crossfade on / off”

11.    Shuffle / Repeat

These functions allow you to shuffle or repeat the songs in your current music queue

Select “now playing song”

Click “Lines” to right of volume selector

Select  in top right of screen

Click to Shuffle all songs in queue

Click to repeat song list – can click again to only repeat once

Also see our AV Installation Page for more information

Call us to book an electrical installation survey or a quotation, or simply to talk through your current project.


Electrical Installation Services -RELOCATION-OF-COMMUNICATION-ROOMS

Designing Communication Rooms

Communication Room Design

When designing a communications room the space required needs to take into consideration, the current requirements and expected overall requirements should the tenant space have the ability to add additional data outlets in the future.
ANSI/TIA-569-D provides the outline for these spaces and the allowances that best practise should allow for.

Communication Room Size

The communications room should be built to provide enough space and cabinets for the largest amount of expected data outlets that the communications room will service. For example if the tenant space could potentially have 500 employees and 1200 data outlets the space should be built for that allocations even if 400 staff and only 1000 outlets are first installed.

As an outline of size against number of data outlets in the building the following guidelines apply:

Number of Data Outlets Recommended overall Floor Area Representative Dimensions
 <100 9sqm    /    100sqft 3m x 3m
100-200 13.5sqm    /    150sqft 3m x 4.5m
200-800 36sqm    /    400sqft 6m x 6m
800-1600 72sqm    /    800sqft 6m x 12m
1600-2400 108sqm    /    1200sqft 9m x 12m

Note: future requirements to be estimated for room size allowance

General Requirements for Communication Room Design

The following general considerations for communication room design allow the room functional use, the ability to take and remove equipment and the flexibility of mounting equipment

  • Only equipment relevant to the communications room should be present in the room. No services for the rest of the tenant space should pass through the communications room
  • Ceiling height should be a minimum of 2400mm with no obstructions. 3000m minimum is recommended to allow for overhead containment
  • Overhead Containment should have a minimum of 200mm clearance from the finished ceiling
  • Floor consideration (solid, tile) should be designed for the expected current and future floor loadings
  • Access door should be a minimum of 900m wide and 2000m high. The door should hinge outwards. A double door 1800 wide and
  • 2300mm high is recommended if large equipment is anticipated
  • No external windows are recommended
  • Allowance of 19mm fire retardant painted plywood to cover at least one communication room wall.
  • Fire protection as per main building plan and code to apply

Mechanical and Electrical Requirements

  • Lighting should be a minimum of 500 lux in horizontal plane and 200 lux in vertical plane. (measured 1m above finished floor level)
  • Minimum of 2 dedicated un-switched power sockets on a dedicated circuit separate to the rest of the building sockets
  • A dedicated cleaners socket should be installed to avoid the use of the cabinet power sockets
  • Temperature range must be 18-27 Celsius (64-81F)
  • Minimum dew point must be 5.5 Celsius (42F)
  • Maximum dew point must be 15 Celsius (59F)
  • Maximum relative humidity must be 60%
  • The temperature and humidity are as the ASHRAE Class B standards

Data Cabinet Requirements

  • A maximum cabinet height of 2100mm is recommended for installing and accessing top racked equipment
  • Cabinets should be planned for future and present equipment to be installed. Depth is the main consideration and a minimum of
  • 150mm space should be allowed for over the deepest equipment to be installed
  • Cabinets should have front and rear rails and be recessed a minimum of 100mm to allow for cable management and patching
  • PDU (power distribution units) should be installed in all cabinets containing active equipment. They should not be switched to avoid accidental switch off
  • Cabinet clearances should be as follows
  • 1000mm clearance at the front of the rack (1200mm preferred)
  • 600mm clearance at the rear of the rack (1000mm preferred)
  • Cabinet feet can either be solid feet or wheels. Wheels must be lockable if installed

Other General Considerations

The communication room should be a dedicated room for technology equipment and services for the network throughout the tenant space. The following considerations should be considered as general advice

  • Communications room should be a restricted access area by code / key or access control
  • Sign in and sign out is recommended for troubleshooting should a failure occur
  • The room should not be used for general storage
  • The room should not be used as a general office area.
  • When working in the room the door should be left open due to the presence of recirculated cooled air


Also see our Data Cabling or Data Centre pages for more information

Call us to book an electrical installation survey or a quotation, or simply to talk through your current project.

Electrical Installation Services – Client Case Studies