Is Connfusion over LED Lamps costing you money?
For quite some time now I have been having discussions with clients about the benefits of LED lighting, the conversations usually, have themes like, LEDs are for toys you don’t get enough light from them or how can you justify telling me to pay £20 for a lamp (bulb) when I can buy a pack of 5 from my local DIY chain for a tenner.
I hope that the information in this short article will clear up some of the confusion / myths about LED lighting, don’t get me wrong in some cases LED may not be the right answer, but don’t let misinformation put you off if it is something that you were considering.
LED lamps will last and save you money
LED lamps use a fraction of the electricity required by standard halogen GU10 lamps, yet can give out just as much light. LED lamps from quality manufacturers will have an extremely long lumen maintenance period (life) of up to 50,000 hours. Over its lifetime, just one of these LED lamps replaces approximately 25 standard GU10 halogen spotlights, whilst saving as much as 2,450kWh of electricity - that's over £250 at a cost of 10.5p per kWh!
Lumen output, not Watts
LED spotlights are available in a range of lumen outputs equivalent to wattages from 20w to 50w or more with beam angles ranging from 25 degrees to 120 degrees to suit your requirements. You should always compare the brightness of LED GU10 spotlights based on their stated output in lumens, not the power consumption in watts.
Most halogen lamps in domestic use are 50 Watts and according to the EU tables, an LED replacement must produce at least 638 lumens before it can be claimed to have the same light output.
Warm or Cool?
LED lamps are generally described as having one of two colour hues, Warm White or Cool White. Because of the way the colour temperature of LEDs is controlled, the cooler lamps are more intense than the warm ones. A Warm White lamp is similar to a standard halogen lamp. The Cool White lamps are not actually cold, they produce a pure brilliant white light, equivalent to natural daylight.
For a standard 'halogen style' lighting effect and for general home use I would advise the fitting of Warm White lamps. For a cleaner 'pure white' more modern look, or for display lighting where accurate colour reproduction is important, I would suggest the Cool White lamps.
LED's are priced according to their output
Consumers are seem to struggle with this, simply because they see cheap LED lamps on the shelves of the DIY chains and they simply think a Lamp is a Lamp, read on.
The fact is that LED modules which are more efficient and capable of producing high lumen outputs are expensive to manufacture, especially when they are still being produced in comparatively low volumes. As a result, you will usually find that the higher the lumen output, the more expensive the LED lamp will be.
But in reality it's not so bad. A 520 lumen 7w LED lamp from a quality manufacturer should be good for at least 25,000 hours and cost about £20 to run during that time. It should easily be able to replace the 40w lightbulb which was costing about £5.60 every 1,000 hours, which is £140 over 25,000 hours. Looking at it the other way, even if the LED lamp had a purchase price of £30 (that would be expensive), it would still only cost about £2 to run each 1000 hours compared to £5.60 for the traditional bulb. Either way, you win by switching to LED because the cost of electricity isn't likely to get any cheaper.
I hope this helps, if you have any other queries regarding LED or any other lighting issues please drop me an email.
Research available from the electrical safety body, the NICEIC, has found that the public are mostly unaware of the electrical dangers lurking in their homes. Householders that were questioned had electrical hazards in their homes including exposed bare wires, loose cables,old wiring and overloaded sockets.
The research also shows a considerable level of ignorance about the condition of home electrics. 40% of people had no idea about the age of the wiring within their home and 1 in 5 said their wiring was as much as 30 years old. More than half of those questioned did not know how often house wiring should be checked by a qualified electrician, despite faulty electrics being responsible for an average of 12,500 house fires, 750 serious injuries and 10 deaths each year.
Your electrical system ages and degrades over time and with use, you have an MOT yearly for your car, an occasional medical check-up for yourself and yet you will live in a building surrounded by an electrical installation that could potentially be a death trap. A simple Electrical Inspection carried out by a qualified electrician can easily put your mind to rest.
There are two forms of testing that can be carried out and each have their own benefits and merits: A Visual Inspection - A brief look at the main components of your installation, with the electrician providing his/her professional opinion. This would be accompanied with a one or two page report.
A Full Periodic Inspection (in service inspection and test) - A comprehensive inspection and testing of your installation, cables will be tested to see if they have degraded since being installed, a full report approximately five to six pages often including photographs should be provided.
A Visual Inspection should cost you between £85 to £100 whilst a Full Periodic Inspection should be between £140 and £180,electricians prices may vary (however if you are quoted less, then be aware that they may not be allowing enough time to complete the inspection correctly).
Always ensure that you use a qualified and registered electrician.
Proud to be an Electrician
A strange title you may feel but to me this is an all encompassing statement and one which hopefully every electrician will say. But does their work and standards reflect how proud they say they are.
I’ve said it before and I will say it again that every electrician is different. Unfortunately no electrician is exactly the same and therefore it is important that as the customer, you know what will work best for you. Let me explain in more detail.
Think here qualifications and experience. Some electricians have trained and qualified as an electrician by undertaking an apprenticeship, others have taken a theoretical based college or university courses and others have taken short training courses. Whichever route they have taken, it means they are qualified to carry out work in your home (providing they hold the certification of course.)
I carried out an apprenticeship to become an electrician. 30 years later I’m still here, but I never feel like I know everything. There is always something new to learn. I still believe that apprenticeships are the way to go, I’ve not nothing against the guys who train via other methods, its just that I genuinely believe that there is no better way to train than by shadowing an experienced electrician, whilst earning money (ok not a fortune, but not having to pay for the training either) with the higher possibility of a job at the end.
In todays climate, any young person considering an apprenticeship should be encouraged all the way. It is all too easy to sell ‘quick fixes’ but for me experience and knowledge should be embraced and this cannot happen without learning – not only great things, but also from mistakes which inevitably happen along the way. I’m just glad I was not ‘out on my own’ when these mistakes occurred, I had the benefit of a fully qualified and experienced electrician to help me rectify and learn from them.
As a result of my apprenticeship I then gained my experience by working with other electricians. I learnt the best methods of working, how to produce exemplary work, how to select and use the best materials. Above all I learnt the art of customer satisfaction – a customer who is happy to pay for the work, and I leave in the knowledge my work is safe and to the high standard expected.
So why did I set up Hardie Electrical? Simply because I wanted to do more. I didn’t lack skills, knowledge nor experience, and I certainly didn’t do it for an easier life (I work harder than ever running my own ship) I did it because I’m PROUD.
Proud of making each and every customer feel important, ensuring that each and every job no matter how small ensures customer satisfaction, outstanding customer service and never ever sitting back. Yes I am an electrician like all the others out there, I’m proud of my training and experience and I hope my customers are too.
Who would you want working in your home?
Proud to be an Electrician
The majority of my customers don’t understand what being registered actually means. However some customers have heard of the NICEIC and feel these ‘letters’ mean something good and they should look for them when searching for an electrician.
Whilst the true meaning of what the NICEIC does or means never springs to mind in 90% of cases, it is known for being a mark of quality and a safe, high standard of workmanship is achieved by the registered electrician. This is huge peace of mind for customers who struggle to find the right electrician.
So why have I always been and always will be an NICEIC Registered electrician? Quite simply, it is for my customers peace of mind, not just for the fact they recognise the NICEIC as a mark of quality but also for my belief in each and every job being carried out to the same high standard and ensuring customer satisfaction at the end.
The reason why I set up Hardie Electrical Ltd. 11 years ago was to fill a huge gaping hole in the domestic market. As an electrician with 30 years experience it frustrated me to see the lack of care and attention on electrical work being carried out in peoples homes. It is my goal to provide a comprehensive electrical service that is friendly, efficient and geared towards helping home owners and small businesses in Bridge of Don and surrounding areas.
I saw in the news this week that the NICEIC has just welcomed on board their 17,000th electrical contractor. The contractor registered with the NICEIC based on recognition of the good work NICEIC registered electricians do and the quality inspections – namely a series of half day inspections that are a real benefit to the company.
This is another great reason why I would always advise using an electrician who is registered with the NICEIC. The electrical inspections and thorough and stringent and really test out electrical knowledge. If you use an NICEIC registered electrician, you will be sure of a safe standard of work from a person who has genuine pride in their work.
Another good reason is the customer protection you receive as a customer. All electrical work I do carries a 5 year warranty which is all backed by the NICEIC.
Quality workmanship and a friendly manner are all part of the service here at Hardie Electrical Ltd.
Why Use an NICEIC Registered Electrician?
My Electrician Didn’t Turn Up Today...
Unfortunately this scenario crops up quite often when I go out to visit clients. I hear often that the electricians turn up hours after they had arranged, or in some cases nota at all. This understandably leads to much frustration on the customers part and a general distrust of electricians in general.
I have to say that this kind of 'problem' is very common within the trade. Hardie Electrical Ltd. however pride themselves on professional service and I understand that time is very valuable.
I offer full flexibility with my appointments – there is no need for you to take time off work and wait for me. I offer free out of hours and weekend quotation visits. I will turn up when I say I will. All my customers are important to me and when I say no job too small I mean just that. Whatever your requirements you will be
treated in a professional and courteous manner. I will respect your home – that means I will tidy up after myself and keep disruption to a minimum. I will talk
to you in plain English and not frighten you with technical jargon. My quotations are competitive and will always be supplied in writing.
I discussed in a recent blog about what to look for when receiving quotations from trades persons. Just to refresh on the fundamentals – always ask for your quote in writing with a full description of the works going to be undertaken included. And always ask for a number of quotes – don't just settle on one quote ask for a minimum of three quotes.
When you have accepted a quote off me and you become a customer of Hardie Electrical Ltd., I don't expect you to fit around us, I fit around you. I offer flexible working arrangements. Basically speaking, I look after you from the first contact, through to job completion – in fact all my work is guaranteed for 6 years by a third party (NICEIC) Just so you know, I am an NICEIC registered electrician and I always will be.
So what else can you expect from Hardie Electrical Ltd.?
I believe its the small detail that sets me out from the rest. Not only am I passionate about my service, but I also present myselve in a professional way. For a start, I wear full Hardie Electrical Ltd. uniform – I believe smart presentation presents a good first impression. I take great care in ensuring the image of Hardie
Electrical Ltd. as a professional business is maintained in all areas. My van is fully sign written and well maintained. Again, it's the basics. A well
maintained van shows care is taken and I am who I say I am. Of course this is not the only thing you should be looking out for, but I do think it's important to know
who is turning up at your front door.
Hardie Electrical Ltd. is based in Bridge of Don and provides a range of electrical services to Aberdeen and surrounding areas.
.For more information on who I am and to request a free quote, please give me a call on 01224 600105
Lamps History Of Lighting
Numerous references from the past have illuminated the fact that lamps have been used to spread light, even before electricity was invented, and lighting was given a new meaning. The use of lamps can be broadly classified into two eras: The pre-electrical era and the post electrical era.
Lamps: The Pre-electrical Era
The invention and first usage of lamp can be dated back to 70,000 BC. At that time, there was no metal or bronze to make lamps instead the then civilization used hollow rocks and shells. These hollow rocks were filled with moss and other natural substances and then soaked in animal fat. Animal fat acted as oil and this is how the first lamps were ignited.
With the advent of pottery, and the bronze and copper age, humans started to make lamps that imitated other natural shapes. Wicks came into existence much later and were used for controlling the flame or the rate of burning. In the 7th century BC, Greeks started using terra cotta lamps, which replaced the handheld torches. The word lamp has been derived from the Greek word lampas, which means torch.
Lamps and the Design Change:
There was a major change in the design of lamps in the 18th century, when the central burner was invented. With the invention of the burner, a separate fuel source was made from metal. Another small change made was the addition of a metal tube that could be adjusted to control the intensity of the flame or light.
This was an important discovery in terms of lighting because with adjustment, we humans were able to diminish the lighting or make it bright as required. Another aspect was added to the new lamp, which was in the form of small glass chimneys. The role of the glass chimney was to protect the flame as well as control the air flow.
Swiss chemist Ami Argand used the hollow circular wick in an oil lamp for the very first time in 1783.
Fuels for Lighting
Different kinds of fuels have been used for lighting a lamp between 70,000 BC and now. Most of the early forms of fuel were beeswax, olive oil, animal fat, fish oil, sesame oil, whale oil, nut oil etc. These were also among the most commonly used forms of fuel for lighting a lamp till the late 18th century.
Around 1859, the first drilling process was initiated to find petroleum and with the advent of kerosene (Paraffin), which is a derivative of petroleum, lamp became more popular and usage increased. Kerosene enabled lighting was first introduced in Germany in 1853.
During the same time two other products were used for lamp lighting purposes and they were natural gas and coal. The first use of coal gas lamps was in 1784.
Electrical Lighting Lamps
Lamps have actually come a long way from usage of coal gas to electricity. In 1801, Sir Humphrey Davy of England invented the electric carbon arc lamp, which was the first of its kind. The working principle for this lamp was simple and included hooking of two carbon rods to an electrical source.
The carbon rods were kept at a distance from each other so that electrical current could flow through the arc and thus vaporize carbon to create white lighting. Around 1857, A.E. Becquerel of France came out with the theory of fluorescent lighting in lamps. In the 1870′s, the unthinkable happened with Thomas Edison inventing the first electric incandescent lamp. Since then incandescent lamps were used for lighting purposes in homes till about the early 20th century.
In 1901, Peter Cooper Hewitt patented his new invention, the mercury vapor lamp. This was another type of arc lamp that enhanced lighting using mercury vapors, which were enclosed in a glass bulb. The Mercury vapor lamps set the prototype for fluorescent lighting lamps.
The Neon lamp was invented by Georges Claude of France in 1911 followed by Irving Langmuir, an American who invented the electric gas-filled incandescent lamp in 1915. In 1927, Hans Spanner, Friedrich Meyer, and Edmund Germer patented the first fluorescent lamp. The fluorescent lamps provided better lighting as compared to the mercury vapor lamps because they were coated from inside with beryllium.
Since then we have been using different form of lighting in lamps, which includes Mercury vapors, incandescent lamps and even today, in some corners of the earth people still use the old wick and oil lamp for lighting their homes.
Old Fuse Board
Having made the decision to replace your old fuse board, it is important to ensure that this important job is completed by a competent electrician.
Think of your fuse board as the main hub of your home – its the 'thinking centre' to all electrical aspects in your home. If the job is carried out incorrectly, your home will be in a dangerous condition and your family is then at risk from electrical harm.
Firstly, I will outline the main reasons why you may need or want to upgrade your old fuse board to a new 18th Edition Consumer Unit:
You are having some other electrical work carried out and need to comply with the regulations. Your old fuse board is overloaded and starting to cause problems for the remainder of the installation. Your wiring installation is in poor condition but you cannot afford a rewire, changing to a 18th Edition Consumer Unit will offer some protection.
Whatever the reason upgrading an old consumer unit to one incorporating two residual current devices (RCDs), is a job that many people will now have to consider at some point.
The above points may have been raised by another tradesperson in your home such as a builder if are having a large building project undertaken.
Please DO NOT be tempted into hiring anyone who IS NOT a qualified electrician to carry out electrical work in your home, even if they offer to carry out the work for a fraction of the price because 'they know all about electrics'
Its not just the price that counts, a competent electrician will be fully qualified and fully insured to do the job AND have a lengthy guarantee on the job for years to come.
If the person fitting the consumer unit is not qualified and is not insured, it really is better to walk away. These people are not interested in your safety or future well being, they are only interested in your cash!
Yet over the years I have come across the same objections about price when quoting for a replacement consumer unit /fuse board. They normally go as follows...
“I can buy one myself for £80 in a well known DIY Shop, My mate that works for %%%%%% can do it for £xxx, I’ve had a quote from my builder and he reckons he can do it for £xxx,
Mick down the pub said if I get the board he’ll fit it for £50”
Please don't believe anyone who say you don't need a certificate or dis-regards the importance of certification. Not only is an electrical certificate your peace of mind that your home is safe, it is also an important document that is needed should you wish to sell or let your home in the future.
It is not simply a peace of paper signed by the electrician, it is a legal document and the electrician needs to carry out several tests on the installation before they can issue a certificate.
The Electrician who carries out the installation should also issue the certificate. BEWARE some 'electricians' employ someone else to issue the certificate. This practice is NOT APPROVED and means your electrician is not compliant.
So having obtained a quote from a genuine electrician, you might be wondering how they arrive at the cost.
So what is the Cost?
When you ask an Electrician to quote for a Fuse Board/New Consumer Unit, there are a number of things he will take into consideration, therefore costs will vary. You should be aware of these:
The materials involved
You can now go to a high street hardware/DIY shop and buy new Consumer Units for a reasonable amount of money, they come preloaded with MCBs, which may or may not be the right rating for your circuits, you will have to add to that the cost of Meter Tails and the fact that if anything goes wrong with the unit you will need to pay to have it removed and a new one refitted.
On the other hand your electrician will have accounted for all necessary items required and if he supplies the board it will be of good quality and if anything goes wrong with the unit he will have to replace it at no cost to you. You only Pay Once.
Checking earthing and bonding arrangements
Before the consumer unit is changed, the electrician will have checked the distributor’s equipment at the origin of the installation (where your meter is) along with the earthing and bonding arrangements. This is to ensure that they are properly connected, safe and that they comply with the regulations. If they do not then work may have to be postponed until the distributor rectifies any issues highlighted.
The time involved for installation
This will depend on the size of the property, number of circuits and location of the old fuse board. Stripping out the old, marking up cables ensuring they are in good condition and long enough then installing the New Consumer Unit.
The time involved in Testing
All of the circuits in the property will have to be tested, there is a series of predefined tests that must be applied to each of the circuits, and the results of this testing form a big part of the certification you will receive.
This is perhaps the most important part of changing a Fuse Board, however it is often the part that is not carried out correctly or at all by those who charge below market value for installing a new Consumer Unit. Often they will Fudge the test and fake the certificate, because they haven’t allowed time in their cost to do it correctly or they just are not capable of testing to the correct standard.
Allowance for Fault Finding
A good electrician will have built in an allowance for some Fault Finding because experience tells us that there are often minor issues that need to be resolved, if this has been built into the cost then often the electrician will not bother you with the detail, but will just rectify simple faults as found. Major faults would be notified to you and be discussed as a separate Job.
Again someone who is quoting below market value will not have factored in time for fault finding and you run two serious risks here. The first is that you are likely to be presented with an “Extras” bill at the end which could be substantially higher than your original quote or secondly the “electrician” will bodge the job in order to make it work so he can get paid his original fee, the result is you are left with a potentially dangerous installation.
Certification and Registration
Electricians have to comply with strict regulations, a change of consumer unit is a serious undertaking and must meet all of the relevant Standards and Regulations, in order to comply with these Electricians will issue Certification for both the Electrical Installation and for Compliance with the Building Regulations. Apart from the fact that doing this properly takes time, it also requires the electrician to be registered with an awarding body and all the associated costs that go with that, such as ongoing training, insurance, membership fees.
And finally we get to Profit, which is after all why any Electrician is in Business. A good electrician who runs a good business will have built in a profit margin into his quote for the job, this is how he stays in business and can provide a good service to his clients, he will be happy to take payment in any legal manner.
Your cheep quote electrician, will not have factored in profit, because in his mind it is pretty much all profit, he will supply a cheap quality consumer unit, fudge the test results, hide any faults that show up and then tell you he prefers to be paid in cash.
He is likely not registered, not insured and possibly not even qualified. If anything goes wrong and it will you have absolutely no comeback.
When you take all of the above into consideration, you will appreciate that there is a big difference between what you can buy a Consumer Unit for off-the-shelf in a well known DIY Chain, and the cost of a fully installed fully certified and fully guaranteed Unit. You should ask yourself when you get a cheap quote “How can he do it so Cheap”?...what is not getting done...
Most reputable electricians would agree that anything below £450 is too cheap and something is being missed and anything above £650 for a standard domestic board is too high (unless there are mitigating circumstances).
Everyone knows that most homeowners are watching the pennies at the moment, don’t let CHEAP prices sway your decision look into what you are getting for your money.
DIY Electrical Work
A recent survey sent to UK householders reveal the dangerous risks that UK householders take when carrying out work on their home electrics.
Whilst not all DIY electrical work is illegal, it does require a common sense approach. It is perfectly legal for to carry out like for like DIY electrical work in your home so if you are looking to replace some lights in your living room or replace a broken or cracked socket then you can do this – but only if you feel confident in doing so.
However it seems as though householders are not aware that they are breaking the law as they carry out some high scale electrical projects in their homes. The main problem of course here is that there is no guarantee that the work is safe nor is it certified meaning the work not only puts the home and family members at risk but it could also cause problems if the home is put on the market in the future.
Looking at the results of the survey, it is concerning what electrical DIY work householders will undertake. Furthermore, when asked about the building regulation, it would seem that these people are just not aware of it, despite huge public campaigns in recent years highlighting the importance of only using Registered Electricians.
So what sort of work are householders undertaking? According to the survey 1 in 7 householders have rewired parts of their home, 1 in 5 have changed a consumer unit, 1 in 6 have installed new garden lighting, and 1 in 8 would attempt or have attempted to install under floor cabling in their home. With electricity killing 1 person per week in the UK and injuring 1000′s more, there is growing concern that the lack of understanding is contributing to these alarming statistics.
It appears that many of these rewiring and extensive electrical works are being carried out in an attempt to save money. Whilst I do understand the situation and realise that if people feel they can do the work, they will often ‘have a go’ I would always recommend having the work certified for piece of mind. This can be arranged with the building control department at your local authority. They will certify the work if the installation is satisfactory. Of course this is the cheaper option and you will still have the peace of mind that your work is safe and legal.
I would exercise caution over carrying out any electrical work in your home if you are not confident in doing so. Damage caused to electrical circuits from incorrect DIY work can be costly to repair and its far cheaper to use a Registered Electrician from the outset to carry out the work.
I am often called to repair DIY electrical work and have seen countless instances of bad electrical work in Aberdeen which would undoubtedly cause injury to the householder. The frightening reality is that this doesn’t happen straight away, it can be a number of years down the line when catastrophe occurs.
In 2012 the NICEIC launched the Electrical Safety Register where the public can search a database of registered, competent electricians. I hope it goes some way to resolving the current crisis surrounding DIY home electrics as well as educating the public on the dangers of using someone who is not on this database. I am proud to be on it, and I would strongly recommend anyone who is looking for a Registered electrician to use this database and be safe in the knowledge that these are the right people to be working in your home.
Many house holders in Bridge of Don often ring me to ask if there is a problem with their electrical supply. Understandably they are not sure if it is safe to continue to use their electrical appliances at home or if they should call an electrician.
The basic advice is if you suspect a problem with an electrical appliance, unplug and stop using it immediately, however if you suspect a problem with your actual electrical installation then consult your local qualified electrician who will be happy to come and take a look.
Many electrical fires are caused in homes in the UK through improper use of electrical appliances. This means that often electrical fires can be easily prevented by making a few common sense precautions when using electrical appliances.
I have compiled an essential list of electrical safety tips which can be adhered to by any householder. It does not require any expenditure in many cases. Remember if in doubt do not take any risks and consult an electrician as soon as possible. The sooner the problem is rectified, the cheaper it is to repair.
Essential Electrical Safety Tips:
Always ensure you use a registered electrician to carry out electrical work in your home and do not be tempted to carry out DIY electrical work in your home. By following these common sense tips when using electrical equipment, you will minimise your risk of electrical fire breaking out in your home.