The risk of not using a qualified and registered electrician
If you require some electrical work around the house, hiring a qualified and registered electrician is as crucial to your health as it is your wallet. For you see, electricity kills and if you buy cheap you buy twice in this industry.
Electricians who are Part P registered are certified to carry out electrical work. This is more important than anything else. Electricians can be qualified through industry certification, or through a degree. Both are equally as good. This is the baseline for what you should look for in an electrician – if you want the best, experience counts too.
Risks with electricity
There are four risks commonly associated with faulty electrical work. Following, we’ll uncover these and provide further advice on choosing an electrician.
Any electrical device that runs a current can, under certain conditions, kill. Very large currents kill by literally cooking your insides, while smaller currents kill if they directly flow to vital organs such as the brain or heart.
It’s the current that kills you with electricity, and the amount of current required to cause death is frighteningly low. A current of 100 mA is fatal. Any current over 10 Ma will give you a nasty shock and currents as low as this have killed.
To help you understand how different currents affect the body, here’s a breakdown:
- 1 mA: Tingling sensation, pulsating feeling
- 5 mA: The accepted threshold for harmless interaction
- 10 to 20 mA: Muscular contraction. Thermal burns
- 30 to 90 mA: Potential onset of fatal respiratory paralysis
- 100 to 300 mA: Fatal
As you can see, it does not take much to cause you harm.
- Painful injury
Electricity is not a play-toy. If you treat it with disregard, it can cause serious harm. If an electrical current passes through your body, then muscle, nerve and tissue deformation can occur. The damage can be life-changing.
Thermal burns are also very common with household electricity. If you were to stick a metal knife into a toaster that’s switched on, you would get a shock to the hand and a thermal burn. Thermal burns are very painful and take a long time to heal.
- Risk of electrical fire
This risk is one of the most important to consider. Electrical fires are caused by faulty electrical outlets and wiring. It is estimated that over half of all accident domestic fires in the UK are caused by electricity and faulty appliances.
Electrical fires are one of the most dangerous types of fire because electricity is 100% efficient, and therefore all its energy is transmitted to heat and flame. Very quickly, an electrical fire will escalate, and the results can be catastrophic. Not only could an electrical fire burn your house down, but it could cause death and serious injury by itself.
- Irreversible appliance damage
Although this is of secondary importance to your health, the damage that can be caused to appliances by faulty electrical work should still be considered. Your oven, dishwasher, dryer, washing machine, television and other appliances could be destroyed.
Appliances are destroyed or damaged by electricity when the circuit is overloaded. This fries the internals. The right fuse or circuit breaker prevents this, but herein lies the issue – cowboy electricians do not know what they are doing!
If you are concerned about the performance of your appliances due to dips in power or short circuiting, we recommend you contact a qualified electrician. Most appliances can be fixed but older units will probably need replacing.
Making electricity safe
So, we’ve established electricity is dangerous. Thankfully, and quite obviously, it is possible to make it safe in any application.
An RCD, or residual current device, is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live. It instantly breaks a circuit to prevent harm. An MCB, or miniature circuit breaker, is designed to turn off an electrical circuit during abnormal circuit operation. These are used in low voltage applications.
You should have an RCD and MCB in your home electrical setup. They work together to make electricity safe. The way electricity is made safe is with fuses and circuit breakers. A fuse breaks a circuit if there’s a fault with the appliance. Circuit breakers act as resettable fuses. They ‘break’ a circuit to avoid circuits from overloading or short circuiting, if they detect an issue with the electrical connection. Fuses and fuse boxes work together to create a two-way protective barrier.
Working with electricity
You should never work with electricity if you are unqualified to do so. The slightest mistake in an electrical connection can cause serious harm. A misplaced wire could even start an electrical fire. We always recommend calling an expert to do the work for you. Remember – if in doubt, always call an expert to help you.
How can I tell if an electrician is qualified?
How do you know if an electrician is qualified? The electrician should be certified with ELECSA for Part P building regulations. They should also be registered with ECA, the Electrical Contractors Association. Experience is also essential for complex jobs. You want to hire an electrician who’s worked on specific jobs for a number of years.
For example, at 1st Electrical Services, we specialise in fuse box changes, consumer unit changes, rewiring, fault diagnosis, and testing and inspections. We’ve been changing and upgrading fuse boxes for over 20 years. From small RCD units for homes to very large RCD units for industrial sites, we specialise in all aspects of fuse box changes.
Hire us for your electrical work
Need electricial work? We’re based in Driffield and serve all surrounding areas. We’ve been voted in the top 1% best electricians in our area on The Best Of, and we offer a five-year guarantee on all fuse box changes and rewires.
Call us on 01377 812 012 for expert electrical advice today. We’re your local experts and a gold member with JIB, the Joint Industry Board.