Electricians Blog

What Should You Do If You Have A Power Cut?

In the modern-day, we have become reliant on power for most of our day to day activities – cooking your food, browsing the internet and many aspects of personal grooming all require some sort of power. As much as many of us would not like to admit it, we wouldn’t be able to live without it for more than a few hours – and even that is pushing it.

However, it’s a painful truth that from time to time, the power is going to go out and still, many people are left in the dark, not knowing what to do. In this guide, we are going to look at what you should do if you have a power cut in the UK.

Locating The Problem

There is nothing more frustrating than sitting at home, enjoying your favourite TV show when out of nowhere the screen turns off and you realise that the power is out. Even worse, if you or someone in your home relies on power for a medical need, it can quickly go from inconvenience to emergency. Locating the problem should be your priority. Although, if you do require power for medical equipment, it can be highly beneficial to have some kind of back-up power to hand, whilst you wait for assistance.

For people in England, Wales and Scotland, there is a free service called 105, which provides you with all the information you will need about the power supply to your local area. You can contact the freephone 105 number to find out this information, or there is an option to use their website (www.powercut105.com) to find out who your local supplier is to contact them directly.

It is worth noting that corded landlines usually work during a power cut, however, their cordless counterparts may not. It is wise to have a mobile phone which is kept charged for use in times where your regular device runs out of battery.

Another excellent way of discovering if there is a problem with the supplier is to check out their social media pages which have regular updates on any outages, estimated repair time and someone on hand to answer your questions.

What Should You Do If You Have A Power Cut?

In the event of a power cut, one of the most important things to do is create a ‘power cut checklist’ that will give you some sort of organisation within the chaos.

Once you have determined the problem, there are certain things you can do to make the experience much less stressful.

  • Be sure to turn off the sockets for all electrical appliances that could be dangerous when the power comes back on – for example, if you were in the middle of using heated hair stylers, these could become hot when the power returns. They should be unplugged.
  • Rather than continually checking light switches during the outage, leave one light switched on. Once the power is restored, the light will be illuminated, giving you a heads up that things have returned to normal.
  • If you have children, it can be frustrating trying to keep them entertained whilst the power is out, especially if it is dark – having a pre-prepared ‘power cut pack’ can make life a lot easier.
  • You should also be sure to have a pack ready for yourself which should include things like a torch, blankets and ready-to-eat food.
  • If you have a vulnerable neighbour, it pays to check if they need any assistance.

Dangerous And Important Aspects Of Power

For the most part, a power cut in the UK is quickly resolved; we are fortunate to have very reliable services that pride themselves on repairing an issue without delay.

However, there are times when things may not be quite as straightforward and times where your safety should be the most important thing.

What Should I Do If I Think My Appliance Or Wiring Is Not Safe?

In the United Kingdom, landlords are required, by law, to have a gas safety certificate for any properties that they let out. However, the same is not true for electrical safety and as such, many rental properties are not up to standard in terms of electrical safety.

Your landlord is, however, legally obligated to provide you with a home that is ‘fit for human habitation’ and faulty wiring or appliances are not conducive with this. He or she is also legally bound to take care of any electrical issues in the property, in line with the Landlord and Tenant Act of 1985. Suppose you notice wiring or appliances in a rental property that you feel are unsafe. In that case, you should immediately shut off the power and contact your landlord or letting agent to report the issue.

In contrast, private homeowners in the UK are not legally required to have a gas safety certificate nor any sort of electrical safety check. However, as a responsible homeowner, it is essential to schedule safety checks regularly.

If you do notice any unsafe wiring or appliances, they should once again be disconnected from the power supply. The best way to do this is to switch off the power at the fuse box and unplug the appliance. You should then dispose of the device or call in the assistance of a qualified and certified electrician to take care of wiring issues.

How Do I Know If My Fuse Box Needs Replacing?

A faulty fuse box can cause a whole world of problems, the most dangerous being an electrical fire – yours and your family’s lives are simply not worth the risk. For this reason, if you feel that there may be an issue with your fuse box, it should be addressed sooner rather than later.

Many homeowners are unaware of the symptoms of a faulty fuse box so it can be challenging to spot, but these are some things that could be a giveaway.

  • Old fuse boxes and old wiring may have worn over time – this applies especially to the insulation. Having a professional check this out is a good idea since they will be able to determine if the fuse box is compliant with current British standards.
  • A continual burning smell could suggest that there is a problem with the wiring. In this case, you should switch off the power and immediately contact an electrician.
  • 18th edition fuse boxes, sometimes called consumer units, are fitted with an electric shock prevention device known as an RCD (residual current device). If your unit does not have this feature, it may be time to update it.
  • If you are renovating the home and require other circuits but your current unit does not support this, investing in a larger unit can provide a safe way of growing the number of electrical circuits in the home.

How To Reset Your Fuse Box

In some instances, you may need to reset the fuse box if the circuit breakers have been overloaded and have shut off. This is an important safety feature that every British standard fuse box has.

From time to time, a power overload may cause just one circuit to shut down – for example, the lights on one floor on the home. To reset this, you simply need to flip the circuit breaker back to the ‘on’ position. However, if this is a persistent problem and not an anomaly, you should be looking more deeply into what is causing the circuit to trip – ignoring the issue will not make it go away.

 

However, sometimes, a huge power surge may cause the entire mains to trip and you should use the main circuit breaker as well as any others that have tripped – putting the back to the ‘on’ position. Once again, it is important to determine the source of the problem and have any issues rectified.

If there is any sort of electrical threat in the home such as faulty wiring or a burning smell, the power should be turned off using the main circuit breaker until a qualified professional can repair the problem.

What To Do If Your Circuit Breakers Won’t Reset

You may find that upon flipping the circuit breakers in the fuse box, that they refuse to stay in the ‘on’ position. This could be a sign that the circuit is still overloaded and something needs to give.

This may often be the case if you are running multiple appliances from one power-point. To determine if this is a problem, try unplugging some of the devices.

Conclusion

Having a power cut can be something of a nuisance, and whilst most events like these are down to a fault with the supplier, some can be caused by things within the home such as faulty wiring or overloaded sockets.

In the case of a power cut, it is important to contact your supplier and find out the issue as well as preparing for a few hours in the home without electricity. If your power has tripped out as a result of something in the home, you should always take appropriate action to rectify the problem and avoid a potentially dangerous situation.

If you are at all unsure about the Electrics in your home, get in touch with MJP Electrical. We can diagnose electrical faults, advise as to upgrades that may be required to improve safety and help protect the lives of those living in your home.

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