Not yet registered? Create a OverBlog!

Create my blog

A beginner's guide to electrical maintenance

The heart of your home's electrical system is the consumer unit. From here, electricity is distributed within the house via circuit breakers, which 'trip off' to protect each circuit if it draws too much power. Understanding how the consumer unit works is vital to all types of electrical maintenance. With that in mind, here is a beginner's guide.

Care and maintenance

Be sure to turn the power off before carrying out any electrical maintenance or engineer jobs. Make the consumer unit your first stop when doing any maintenance or electrician jobs. Trip the circuit breaker that controls the circuit that you are working on, then use a voltage tester to make sure that the switch or outlet you want to work on is still live. To turn off power to the entire house, trip the main breaker, which is usually larger than the others and coloured red. If you have a fuse box, remove the main pull-out block or turn the switch to 'off'. Note: For as little as £10, you can buy a socket tester that plugs in like a plug and ensures that there is no power to the outlet which you plan to work on.

What is causing the circuit problem?

Circuit failure is usually due to one of two problems. Circuits can be overloaded, which is what happens when too many appliances are running on the same circuit. They can also be short circuited, which is when a worn live wire touches a worn neutral or another live wire, or the earth core, or any metal that is earthed. This will create a short cut for a large surge.

Circuit overloaded

If you have just plugged a high-wattage appliance into a socket outlet and everything just stops working, then the circuit is probably overloaded. Try moving smaller portable appliances to another circuit that is not being used as much. Switch off or unplug the high-watt load before resetting the circuit breaker, otherwise, the breaker will probably trip again almost immediately.

A short circuit

A short circuit is the likely cause if you reset the breaker or replace the fuse and your circuit still isn't working. Do a little sleuthing to figure out what is causing the fault. First, unplug all lamps and appliances on the circuit. Then, check the plugs and flexes for damage: if a fixture, switch or outlet is discoloured or has a faint burned smell, it's the likely source of the problem. Replace the damaged flex, switch or outlet if needed.

Same category articles Do-it-yourself & Construction

What are the uses for different stainless steel bolts and fasteners?

What are the uses for different stainless steel bolts and fasteners?

Where would we have been without the huge range of fixings, bolts, screw and fasteners that we have today? It seem there are different products for just about every task you can imagine. How often, though, do you just grab the first one that comes to hand when doing a job on the car or around the home? Here is a guide to what you should be using.
How to clean tile floors

How to clean tile floors

Tiles have been used by mankind for centuries. Evidence of tiles can be found in the great Pyramids, ancient Greek cities, and Babylon. Decorative tile work, tiles that have been painted and fired as well as laid out in decorative patterns, were invented by craftsman in the Near East. The practice of using tiles spread through the world up to the present day. File floors are beautiful and long-lasting. However, they must be cleaned.
Buying and fitting window clings

Buying and fitting window clings

Window clings are used on windowpanes, doors, skylights and similar components. You may install a piece of static cling to make the home or space more energy-efficient, to protect furniture or other items from the harmful rays of the sun or to add decorative effects. Homeowners can purchase clings from shops or make their own by obtaining a few essential materials.
A guide to storage shelving

A guide to storage shelving

Shelves are something that have been around since mankind had possessions and needed to store and organise them. By their nature, shelving is more usually open or without a case, unlike book cases that usually consist of a case (closed top and sides) with shelves. Storage shelves can be broken down into three categories: industrial, regular and custom.