Frequently Asked Questions
- What is an EICR?
- What is a Distribution Board?
- What is a Consumer Unit?
- What is Class III equipment?
- What is Class II equipment?
- What is Class l Equipment?
- What is a Circuit-breaker or Residual Current Device (RCD)?
- What is a Circuit?
- What is a certificate?
- What is BS – British Standard?
- What is PAT Testing?
- What is the difference between AC and DC Current?
- What steps should I take to make sure that it is safe to work on an electrical device?
- How do I know if my house wiring is safe?
What is an EICR?
An EICR is an Electrical Installation Condition Report, previously known as a PIR. This is a report whose purpose is to ascertain the state of the electrics in a building, clearly stating whether the electrics are in good condition and if not, what remedial work is required to bring the electrics to a satisfactory standard.
What is a Distribution Board?
A Distribution Board is a collection of switches and/or current protective devices (such as circuit breakers, fuses etc) linked to one or several outgoing circuits, being fed by one or several incoming circuits, which includes terminals for neutral and aforementioned protective devices. The Distribution Board may also include controls for signalling.
What is a Consumer Unit?
The electrical consumer unit (also referred to as the fusebox) is a distribution board consisting of a collection of circuits, alongside a manual mechanism for double pole isolation on the incoming current, plus fuses, RCDs or circuit breakers for automatic current breaking. As its name suggests, these devices are mainly to be found in a domestic setting.
What is Class III equipment?
Class III equipment is equipment for which protection against electrocution is provided by Safety Extra Low Voltage (SELV) and in which there is no generation of voltages greater than SELV. The equipment must also be connected to an isolating transformer. Medical equipment is an example of Class IIl.
What is Class II equipment?
Electrical equipment such as music systems, television and DVD players, for which protection against electric shock is not solely reliant on basic insulation, but which include additional safety features such as extra insulation, there being no facility for the connection of exposed metal casings of the equipment to a conductor, and no dependence upon conductive precautions to be implemented in the fixed wiring of the installation of the equipment.
What is Class l Equipment?
A classification of equipment for which protection against electric shock is not solely reliant on basic insulation, but allows for the linking of exposed connective parts to a conducting mechanism in the fixed wiring of the installation. Class l equipment will have exposed metal parts an example being a washing machine
What is a Circuit-breaker or Residual Current Device (RCD)?
A piece of equipment capable of carrying and interrupting normal load currents and also carrying and automatically tripping, under defined conditions, abnormal currents such as occurs in short-circuits. An RCD usually operates infrequently although some types are designed for frequent operation.
What is a Circuit?
An aggregation of electrical equipment (electric sockets , lights and electric switches) supplied from the same point and protected against surges by the same protective device(s).
What is a certificate?
As laid out in British Standard BS7671 any new electrical installation, or any changes to an existing circuit, including extending or re-purposing of an existing electrical circuit should result in the issuance of a certificate. The certificate will either be a standard electrical installation certificate or a minor electrical installation works certificate depending on the extent of the work carried out.
What is BS – British Standard?
As with most trades and professions in the UK, electricians have to abide by certain standards and in the case of electricians the relevant standard is BS 7671 (alternatively known as the Institute of Electrical Engineering wiring regulations). This standard lays out minimum standards for the installation of electrical systems if they are to meet national safety standards. It is a condition of membership of NICEIC that all electricians meet this standard.
PAT (Portable Appliance Testing) testing is a vital element of any businesses health & safety policy.
Portable electrical appliances are responsible for around a quarter of all electrical related safety incidents. The Electricity at Work Regulations require employers, employees and self-employed persons to abide by these regulations and take sensible and practical measures to ensure that using portable appliances does not create a danger. What this means in practice, is that anyone responsible for the regulations implements a thorough and repeated program of maintaining and inspecting portable equipment. The Health & Safety at Work Act (1974) introduced a legal obligation to carry out such testing as follows;
- Where portable appliances are used by employees of the business
- Where portable appliances are provided (e.g. hired out) to third parties
- Where the members of the public may use such equipment in locations such as schools, hospitals, factories, shops etc.
- Where portable appliances are fixed or mantained.
The inspection regime, i.e. the level and frequency of inspections, should reflect the likelihood of the equipment becoming faulty, and should take into account the location where the appliance is being used and the way it is being used.
Alternating Current (AC) is where the flow of electrons in the current changes direction many times a second, oscillating back and forth. Direct Current (DC) is where the flow of electrons occurs in only one direction. AC is the type of current most commonly used in households to power domestic electrical appliances whereas DC is most often used to power small portable devices and is the type of current produced by batteries.
Firstly you need to ensure that the particular piece of electrical equipment is not live, i.e. any source of energy (i.e. usually electricity) has been fully isolated. You also need to ensure that the energy source cannot be accidentally restored before you have finished working on the device. Always ensure that you follow the manufacturers instructions on carrying out any maintenance procedures.
In order to determine if your domestic electrical installation work has been carried out properly and is safe, we would recommend that you arrange for an electrical contractor to carry out an inspection. Check that the electrician that you choose has been approved by one of the industry standards bodies such as the National Inspection Council for Electrical Instalation Contracting (NICEIC).