This is an edited extract of a useful and interesting talk given by Martin Haughey, the Chapter’s electrician.
PART P COMPLIANCE
Part P is a government backed scheme to control electrical work in the building regulations. Part P came into effect 10 years ago. There are two ways of complying with Part P.
The first is to get your local building control officer involved. They ask what type of electrical work you want to do before you start, they have to approve the plans, and then they come back and test it for you. The second is the Competent Person Scheme of which I’m a member. The organization I use is called NAPIT. NAPIT stands for National Association of Personal Inspectors and Testers. To qualify we get assessed once a year where they come to our sites and they go through the various tests, have a look at the installation and they go all through the certificates and qualifications to make sure we are up to speed with any updates. So they promote electrical safety to the highest degree, so the installs we do have to be to that level.
THE SOCKET CALCULATOR
There is a charity run by the electrical industry called Electrical Safety First. They have a lot of helpful advice on what you can use in the house. I presume most of you have got extension leads and adapters in your home and you may plug them in to the hilt. So they have something called the Socket Calculator – it’s a ‘drag and drop’ screen which allows you to see whether what you have plugged in will overload your system and be a potential fire risk.
For example a microwave will take 7 amps and the 13 amp lead means you’ve only got another 6 amps to use. So if you plug your toaster in on top of that, you are overloading your adapter. Once it goes over 13 amps a load, you have over hit the mark. This is a really handy device. It’s on their website, just type Socket Calculator in to Google to find it. The last thing you want is your microwave, your kettle, and your toaster on the same adapter because it can’t take that much load.
Won’t it just blow a fuse and stop?
Yes if you’ve got an RCD fuse board, it will instantly trip on the sign of a fault. But not everybody has them and many people still have the old plastic fuse boards. Remember your adaptor is made of plastic and overloading will create a thermal heat effect which can lead to starting a fire.
Another subject is smoke alarms. These are conventional smoke alarms which are designed to be wired in. They link, so when one goes off, they all go off. Most households don’t want you to wire them like that because their house is finished, and they don’t want to pull apart floors and finishes. So new technologies introduced the wireless types which we can power from your nearest light fitting.
Plug that into this and they wirelessly signal every alarm. In fifteen minutes we can program 6 alarms right through the house, link them with a code, and they are wirelessly connected. One Tip! Don’t put a smoke alarm in the kitchen, have a heat alarm. A smoke alarm sends the wrong signal, especially with your toaster and similar appliances.
LED lights are not as hot as a normal halogen bulb. This fitting is a retro type that can replace your existing fitting. It also has a sealing disc at the top, which has a sensor in it which, in case of the eventuality of a fire, will enclose the fitting and stop the spread of fire for 30 minutes. You can use a dimmable gu10 lamp that has a warranty of 3 years .
The integrated LED fitting has no replaceable parts and comes with a 7 year warranty, so quite a good fitting when designing your lighting system from the start.
One quick question, Martin? On the down-lighting? The little thing inside. There a little processor or something, you know the thing that connects it to inside? Why did they always blow? I’ve just went to change lights before and then I realized it wasn’t the bulb.
Martin Haughey: Was it the lead you are talking about?
No, where the lead comes in and connects into the transformer.
Martin Haughey: Yeah, well, I don’t like transformers because it’s an electronic part of the device that goes wrong. This is why we generally use gu10 leads which work from mains and not transformer 12 volt. Transformers don’t like fibreglass insulation as this can create thermal effect which can short circuit transformers.
Thank you. What about some of these spotlights and dimmers, are they compatible?
Martin Haughey: Yes, compatible dimmers, especially early day dimmer module they would be leading edge dimmers. But the bulb that’s going around the table, this is a dimmable bulb. A lot of normal dimmers will work for that particular type. But to be on the safe side we use trailing edge dimmers.
Martin Haughey: If you want to save energy and save money fit LEDs. Because all your halogens they cost an absolute fortune. Basically if you’ve got a big kitchen area or a space where you’ve got 10-20 lights in it, it will add up. I know LED bulbs cost more money, but over a five year cycle, you’ll save loads. It’s been proven.