Maintenance Services Electrical - News & Information
LED lighting is good for business
It’s almost the shortest day of the year and you might be missing the daylight.
We have just installed over 240 energy efficient LED light fittings as an upgrade from old fluorescent lighting in these offices.
We used special units for the large open office areas to cut down glare and reduce strain on eyes that can cause headaches.
If you’re considering a lighting scheme in your offices, we can provide return on investment calculations for your scheme. You might be surprised how quickly new lighting can pay for itself.
Save money with LEDs
Since lighting can account for around a third of your business energy costs, this can make a big difference.
Even better, in many cases, fewer LEDs will be needed to achieve the same lighting levels, saving you even more.
LED lighting – a healthy option for your employees
Did you know that good LED lighting can improve the productivity and health of your team?
LEDs don’t emit ultra-violet (UV) or infrared (IR) light and they don’t contain any mercury, so you’re helping to keep the working environment healthy.
There aren’t any required workplace lighting levels in the UK, although they must be ‘suitable and sufficient’, with natural light where possible. Research by Staples found that cool lighting and high illumination in the mornings improved productivity.
Some lighting designers recommend these cooler, daytime lighting temperatures and a trial by the University of Surrey's sleep research centre suggested that certain wavelengths of blue light just before staff left for home improved alertness. Staff also reported improved sleep patterns.
LEDs will last for more than five years in constant use – probably 10 years in normal use. So, with almost maintenance-free lighting you can minimise the risks of replacing high level lighting or trips and falls if your lighting fails.
A flexible lighting choice
LEDs are available in a wide range of colour temperatures to suit your environment and they don’t flicker when they are turned on. They can be controlled remotely, and you can use smart office systems to manage your lighting too.
In most cases replacing old lighting with new LEDs is straightforward and can be done quickly, so the changeover will cause minimum disruption.
If you are interested in LED lighting for your premises – indoors or outdoors – please get in touch.
Santa’s seasonal safety tips
A fresh Christmas tree from the garden centre will smell wonderful and add some seasonal cheer but did you know that they can catch fire more quickly than a fire retardant artificial one?
One option is to choose a fabulous fake instead that looks convincingly like a freshly cut tree.
If you have a fresh Christmas tree here are some things to do:
keep topping up the water; they can use up to a litre a day and it's important that they don’t dry out
the old tip of using hairspray on the needles to stop them falling is dangerous because it is flammable
position your tree away from heat sources and especially portable heaters.
Our Christmas lights certainly brighten the place up, but make sure they’re safe and turn them off at night. One in twelve people say they have left their Christmas lights on overnight, risking overheating that could be a fire hazard. Make sure you buy from a reliable source and switch them off when you're not at home and when you go to bed.
If you’re using lights outside, make sure they are designed for exterior use. Check that your sockets aren’t overloaded where you are using extension leads or adaptors, and that cables are safely out of the way to avoid the risk of tripping over after a glass of sherry with Grandma.
Check your charging
When you’re getting ready to visit your family you might need to charge your laptop. Make sure it’s on a hard surface and isn’t left charging on your bed while you’re getting ready. Don't overcharge your mobile devices, which can cause some adaptors to overheat and become a fire risk and avoid charging your phone overnight. Definitely don’t use cheap, unbranded chargers.
There’s a lot to do when you’re cooking the Christmas meal and it's easy to become distracted. Nearly half of us have admitted to leaving cooking unattended but it’s important to keep an eye on your cooking all the time.
Please get in touch if you would like some advice about seasonal electrical safety.
Petition to keep your online electrical purchases safe
During the coronavirus outbreak many of us have made much more use of online marketplaces like Amazon, eBay, and Wish.
Did you know that in the UK these sites aren’t bound by the same regulations as other retailers? In the last year over 4 million UK shoppers have bought a fake electrical product and over 1.3 million of them came from online marketplaces.
Your electrical Christmas gifts could be fake
Many of us will be buying electrical goods in the run up to Christmas, unaware that they could contain sub-standard or counterfeit parts. Many fake products look almost identical to genuine items on the outside, but the components might not have been properly tested, leading to risks of overheating, fire or electric shock.
The consumer watchdog Which? and the Trading Standards Institute have been raising concerns for some time.
Electrical Safety First (ESF) has now launched a petition to increase awareness and to promote changes to the law that would make online marketplaces follow the same safety regulations as other UK retailers. They want over 100,000 people to sign up online and, so far, have almost 14,500 electronic signatures.
The campaign aims to make sure that electrical goods offered for sale online by third party sellers are safe to use in the UK. It also wants any electrical products reported as unsafe to be removed from sale within 24 hours.
Safe shopping online
ESF found that a third of people who have bought a fake electrical product bought it from an online marketplace. The safest option is to buy only from manufacturers that you know and trust.
When you’re shopping online the charity offers advice about what to look for, including:
images that might not be an accurate representation of the product
missing or incomplete seller contact details, which could be a sign that the goods are fake and might not have been tested for safety
reviews that might have been faked
very low prices for seemingly genuine products.
“Check it Out”
ESF has provided a free Chrome plug-in that will let you know you could be buying products from an unregulated third-party seller when you’re shopping on Amazon or eBay.
You can sign the petition here.
The bathroom boom
New bathrooms have become very popular this year. Since we are all spending a lot more time at home and foreign holidays are off the agenda for now, why not invest in some creature comforts for your home instead?
Here’s a recent replacement en-suite shower room project we helped to complete with a number of on-trend electrical elements.
The happy homeowners can now remotely control the LED colour changing lighting in the shower cubical and shelf.
There is also a mirror with light and demister pad, an extractor fan with humidistat and timer overrun, power to the Mira control box for the rain shower, and smart LED downlights.
Latest bathroom looks
We’re reliably told that brass fittings, deep baths, marbled effects, and fancy mirror frames are popular trends as well as all sorts of subtle integrated lighting effects for contemporary bathrooms.
If you’re planning a bathroom makeover, here are some things you should know about electrical safety for your new fittings and lighting.
A bathroom is a ‘special’ location for electrical installations because extra care is needed to position all the electrical equipment and wiring safely.
This is important because mixing electricity and water can lead to an electric shock, which would certainly spoil your relaxing bath.
There are three electrical zones in your bathroom
The Wiring Regulations describe three zones in a bathroom.
Zone 0 – this is any area in a bathroom that holds water such as baths, basins or shower trays. Any electrical equipment in these areas should meet the standards to be safely immersed in water up to one metre deep for 30 minutes (IPX7).
Zone 1 – splash zones in a bathroom are still high-risk areas that could become very wet to a height of up to 2.25 metres from the floor. Electrical fittings or appliances in this part of your bathroom should be water splash resistant from any direction (IPX4).
Zone 2 – this is the area which could also be splashed that is 600mm above or to the side of your bath and shower and 2.25 metres from the floor. In this area fittings and appliances should also be water splash resistant.
Electrical sockets can be used in bathrooms or shower rooms, but they must be more than three metres from the edge of the bath or shower. Specially designed shaver units can be used but must not be closer than 600mm to a bath, shower or basin.
Electric showers need their own electrical circuit and will need to be connected to the consumer unit and protected by a residual current device (RCD).
All electric heaters and water heaters in a bathroom must be fixed and permanently wired.
Building Regulations will probably only apply if you are adding a new bathroom in a former bedroom or storage area, for example. Gas and electrical work can normally be self-certified by approved installers.
Please get in touch if you would like some advice about electrical installations for your bathroom project.
Contactless door entry systems 29/10/20
With the country heading for another lockdown, everyone is working hard to create safer environments for work, shopping, and exercise, for example.
Building owners are looking for safe ways to manage access and to reduce the risks in high traffic areas.
One way to do this efficiently is to install an access control system which can automatically manage who enters and monitor who leaves.
Importantly, many of these systems can be operated with proximity cards or fobs, which can automatically open doors without any physical contact at all.
Who uses contactless entry systems?
All types of business can install these systems from hotels, surgeries, and schools to offices and building sites.
At their simplest, voice-activated audio door entry systems are a cost-effective option. There are also more sophisticated multi-way video door entry systems as upgrade options for later.
Keypad and proximity reader options can provide a durable and straightforward solution that is easy to install for up to 1,000 users.
How does contactless entry work?
It can be as simple as remotely unlocking a door to let someone in when they ring or appear on a video camera, but more high-tech options use RFID (radio frequency identification) chips, entry cards or fobs that can be detected from about 10 metres.
Staff members, suppliers or visitors can be identified by the system, and access can be controlled automatically or manually.
Automated identity detection helps to reduce the risk of infection from contaminated door handles, push plates, card scanners, or reception desks; a much better option than leaving all doors open.
These systems can also help to encourage people to stay two metres apart with an automatic delay before the door will open again.
Please get in touch if you would like to install an entry system for your business premises.
Sensitive about energy efficient lighting 22/10/20
We have just upgraded over 250 fluorescent light fittings to energy-saving light emitting diodes (LEDs) in a large warehouse. With the addition of dusk-to-dawn sensors for control, our clients will save over £10,000 annually on energy.
The full warehouse lighting refit included installation of emergency escape route lighting and high-level lighting to allow full use of the tall racking. Our clients expect to see a full return on their investment in just three to four years.
They will also be going ahead with a full lighting refit in their office spaces soon.
LED lighting makes a difference to the bottom line
Warehouse operators like our clients always need to manage overheads without affecting performance. Making sure the warehouse is environmentally friendly will help to reduce energy costs and this can make a big difference to the bottom line.
Lighting often accounts for a large part of the electricity bill for a warehouse. Installing LEDs is a quick and certain way to reduce energy use, to be more environmentally friendly, and to save money.
The advantages of LED lighting
LEDs use far less electricity than traditional incandescent lighting, halogen lights or compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs). Typically, LEDs will use just a quarter of the energy needed by these types of lighting and around a third of the electricity needed for high-intensity discharge (HD) lighting.
Lifetime costs of LEDs
The lifetime costs of lighting technology can be an important consideration. LEDs last much longer than incandescent, halogen or CFL lights, saving on replacements and maintenance.
Materials handling equipment (MHE) accounts for around 25% of a warehouse’s annual energy expenditure, while the cost of lighting can be up to 70% of the remaining operating costs.
The future for LEDs
Only lighting parts of the warehouse when they are in operation using motion sensors can save money. It’s also possible to take advantage of LED dimming, using local detectors to reduce energy consumption when there’s no activity in specific bays. Even more energy can be saved when high level LEDs are linked with daylight control sensors.
With lighting accounting for almost 6% of global CO2 emissions, if we all switched to LED technology over 1,400 million tons of CO2 could be saved, reducing the need for new power stations.
If you would like to know more about LED lighting for your warehouse operation, please get in touch.
The electrical world is full of letters and terms – here we explain some of them.
If the term you’re looking for isn’t here, please get in touch and we will be happy to tell you about it and add a simple explanation to our list.
AC - an abbreviation for alternating current. Electricity is all about electrons travelling through a conductor (like copper). When electrons alternately move in different directions it is an alternating current. AC current us used for homes and businesses.
DC – an abbreviation for direct current where the electrons are all moving in the same direction. DC current is used to charge batteries, for electronic systems, some industrial processes and high voltage power transmission.
Amp – the unit for measuring electrical current.
BS7671 – the UK national safety standard for electrical installations, also known as the wiring regulations.
Circuit – electricity needs to flow continuously, without any breaks, and this is called a circuit.
Consumer unit – used to control electricity. The unit will often include a main switch, fuses, circuit breakers or residual current devices (RCDs).
Current – the more electrons travelling through the conductor, the more power they deliver. Large electrical currents are dangerous.
Earth – the earth wire will direct the electricity straight into the ground rather than passing through you. Earth wires are usually marked with yellow and green striped plastic covers.
Fuse – a key part at the beginning of an electrical circuit to prevent too much electricity from passing through wiring. Often a circuit breaker will cut power when something is overloaded to prevent the cable and equipment overheating and becoming a fire hazard.
Insulation – a coating, usually plastic, around conducting materials.
IP rating – categorisation of safe lighting. For example, high IP ratings are for bathrooms or outside and lower IP ratings are for indoor lighting.
Joule – the unit for measuring electrical energy.
Live – a wire carrying electricity, commonly coated in brown plastic (note - older systems might include live wires covered with red plastic). You can receive an electrical shock from live wires.
Neutral – a neutral wire completes an electrical circuit and allows electrons to flow. Neutral wires are usually covered in blue plastic (note - older systems might use a black plastic covering).
Part P – a section of the Building Regulations for England and Wales about electrical installations in domestic properties.
Transformer – used to change voltage, to dim lighting for example.
Voltage – the unit for measuring the force of electricity moving through wires. High voltage locations are often marked as dangerous.
Watt – a unit to measure electrical power.