Electric Avenue: Five tips for better electrics
PUBLISHED: 14:00 26 March 2017
Don’t waste electricity as the winter winds down, here’s five top tips for saving time and money
1 It can be hard to tell how old your home’s electrics are and how safe they are. Fuse boxes are sometimes replaced without the wiring being changed, for example, and even ones that look relatively modern won’t necessarily comply with current regulations. If you’re planning building work, get a qualified electrician to check the electrics - they should be checked by an electrician every 10 years anyway, and often when buying a property, as rewiring it will cost thousands of pounds.
2 A full rewire, which is expensive and disruptive, may not be necessary - the electrics may just need updating, such as adding or moving sockets, or changing the light fittings. Smaller jobs like this are less expensive and disruptive than a full rewire, but may reveal problems with the wiring you didn’t know about. It’s a good idea to live in a new home before having it rewired or partially rewired so you can work out where you need new sockets and switches.
3 Dated bathrooms often lack practical and safe electrics, such as an extractor fan. Extractors help to prevent mould and mildew by removing the moisture from the room. They also extract smells, which is handy for any room with a loo in it, and usually come on with the ceiling light, although they can be turned off separately. If you’re someone who keeps the extractor turned off because the noise is annoying, you’ve defeated the purpose of having one, so consider investing in a ‘silent’ extractor, which may not be exactly that, but close to.
4 These days, the light switch for the bathroom is often located outside the door, which isn’t ideal if you want to put the light on when you’re naked and already in the bathroom. For this reason, a pull cord in the bathroom, although more traditional, may be a more practical option for your household. Bathroom wall lights, or an illuminated mirror, can be a useful alternative to a ceiling light, either for soft, mood lighting or bright, task lighting.
5 While some electrical work in some rooms can be done safely and legally by DIYers, getting a qualified electrician to do it is recommended - check their credentials and references. The easiest option is often to use an electrician who belongs to a government-approved ‘competent person scheme’, such as NICEIC (www.niceic.com), as they can self-certify that their work complies with building regulations.