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termsTerms & Conditions

Do I need an electrician?

To call or not to call? If that's the question, take a look at this list below.

You'll need an electrician if...
+ Lights or sockets in your home or garden are not working
This could indicate either problems with your electrical installation, or problems with the light or socket fittings themselves. You'll need an electrician to diagnose where the problem lies. Common problems are unsound installations that might have to be replaced, faulty fuses, old light fittings reaching the end of their useful lives, water getting into lights and sockets, or a wiring fault. You may even find a squirrel or rat has bitten through your wiring!
+ Your fuse trips
This is most likely to be linked with problems with your lights and sockets. Again, you will need an electrician to diagnose what is going wrong.
+ Your phone doesn't work
If one of your home telephones doesn't work - there's no dialling tone or it doesn't ring - you may have a problem with one of your phone sockets. BT will charge you for a visit to test your incoming line and check your master socket. But the problems most frequently lie with the other sockets which are left out of such inspections.
+ Your entryphone system/intercom is faulty
You can't let people in or the bell doesn't work. The problem needs investigation.
+ You need new lights or sockets
Unless the problem involves merely changing the fittings and accessories, you now need an approved electrician to do this work.
+ You're buying or selling a home
Electrical surveys are a growing trend for both buyers and sellers. If you are buying a property, a qualified electrician from Harland & Voss can inspect the electrics on your behalf to find out whether anything is wrong, and, if so, how much it would cost to repair. This should be a full inspection and test, and sellers should not object to giving access for such a test. Some electricians offer what they call a "visual check", but these do not provide fully documented evidence as to the condition of the installation.

Your surveyor will almost certainly recommend a full inspection. Surveyors are trained to recognise some of the indicators of poor installations but, generally speaking, they are not qualified electricians. In our experience they are very reluctant to indicate precisely where they feel the installation may be unsafe.

For sellers, an electrical survey can assure prospective buyers that the house is safe, and remove potential negotiations over price. Once you have a valid periodic inspection certificate you can produce it to all potential buyers, and even if the property is on the market for a while, the certificate is valid for several years. Changing light fittings, switches and sockets might enhance the value of your home, just like redecoration prior to sale.

Whether you are selling your home or moving into a newly-purchased property, please make sure you do electrical work first before you start on the decorating!

If we can help you with your electrical needs, please call us on 020 8451 0345 or e-mail us.

You don't need an electrician when...
+ Your domestic appliances are broken
Fridges, freezers, cookers, washing machines, dryers, microwaves are fixed by white goods repair companies. Audiovisual equipment - TVs, DVDs, VCRs and sound systems - should also be referred to specialist repairers, not electricians.
+ Your boiler and central heating electrics need attention
These are usually dealt with by central heating and gas installers.
+ There are power cuts
If the electrics fail suddenly in your house, take a look out of your window to see whats going on in the street. If your neighbours' houses are dark too, there's probably been a power cut. Please contact your electrical supplier: the phone number will be on your electricity bill.

And finally... don't be bamboozled by the technical terms that electricians will use when talking about your home. Here are some of the main words and phrases you're likely to come across when dealing with electricians:

Installation - This refers to the complete electrical system in your home or workplace. It is also the term for putting the electrical systems into a house or property that is being built from scratch.

Rewiring - This is the term for removing your existing electrical installation and putting in new sockets, wires, lights and consumer unit (fuse box). These should be checked on change of occupancy, or inspected and tested at least once every 5-10 years.

Fault-finding - Your lights and power sockets might not be working or the fuse is tripping. Light bulbs may blow frequently. Or the entire house doesn't have power. Something's going wrong with your electrics somewhere, we'll conduct a methodical inspection to find the fault. Sometimes what looks like a minor problem can be a symptom of a serious safety failing, so please don't take chances.

Inspection and Testing - This includes a review of your installation, and testing of a sample of lighting and power points to check whether the requirements of British Standard 7671 are met. At the end of an inspection and testing session you will either receive a report that your installation passes, or, if it fails, a list of things that need to be done to put it right. Testing can only be carried out by a competent electrician such as an NICEIC Approved Contractor.

We'll be happy to help out if you've any questions about calling or using an electrician. Please call us on 020 8451 0345 or e-mail us.