The Electrical Safety Council (ESC) is trying to raise awareness of electrical safety in the home among new parents.
This prompted us at DIY Doctor to join our voice to that of the ESC, and MumsNet, who are also concerned about this problem. In the UK each year there are approximately 350,000 electrical related accidents in their homes and sadly around 50 of these are fatal. In addition to direct injury the fire brigade report that 50% of household fires are caused by electrical faults.
New parents are understandably anxious to protect their children and spend lots of money on safety devices such as socket covers, but what they are not considering is whether their system is as safe as it could be.
‘If your wiring is unsafe, buying such localised protection is like putting a sticking plaster on the problem,’ explains Mike Edwards CEO of DIY Doctor ‘I am not saying parents shouldn’t use these safety devices on sockets, but they should not feel that it is a failsafe method of avoiding electrocution’. He believes that many householders are not aware of the benefit of getting a Residual Current Device (RCD) installed by a qualified electrician. RCD’s are designed to trip if there is any fault or short circuit. So if you mistakenly damage a cable while drilling into walls, or a child pokes something into a socket, the RCD will shut off the electric supply to that area. Read more about RCD’s in our Consumer Unit Project.
Consumer Unit showing an RCD (E)
What can you do?
Have your system checked by a qualified electrician and invest in an RCD if you don’t already have one. Having made sure the system is safe don’t do anything that may damage it. When you are drilling into walls make sure you avoid any cables by searching for them before you drill using a cable detector.
Don’t forget, all but the most basic electrical work should be carried out by a qualified electrician. This follows an amendment to the building regulations and is covered in greater detail in our Part P Project.
DIYDoctor’s Mike Edwards has been busy trying out a host of Home Improvement products, from Ladders to drills, screws to shoes and everything in between.
There are hundreds of tool reviews coming over the next few months
These are being loaded onto the website now and we hope they prove an invaluable resource to all our visitors.
Each page has a video showing the item being used and discussing its merits and any downsides. There is also an overview and rating from the Doc, a list of the features, a note of what you get for your money ‘what’s in the box’ and a link to read more reviews from customers who have already bought the product.
If you like what you see you can simply click on the buy button to have it delivered direct to you.
Find all our videos by clicking on the Video Tool Review button to the left hand side of our home page.
Find tool reviews under the 'Video Tool Reviews' button on the site
Click here to visit the main page and have a look around the reviews http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/product-reviews/, don’t forget to keep coming back as we will be uploading more videos in the coming weeks.
We would also love to get feedback from you, so let us know what you think, and if you have any suggestions about other products to feature, or details you would like to see included, then please leave your comments on this page.
If you feel like being a bit creative and you’ve got some small pieces of furniture or picture frames you’d like to give a new lease of life to, you could try the art of decoupage.
Decoupage involves applying a collage of images to the surface of an object and is very effective on items such as boxes, frames, trays or small tables. Our new project on decoupage tells you all you need to know, from collecting your images and deciding how you want to decorate your item, to preparing the surface and actually applying the pictures. It talks you through what glues and varnishes to use and how to get a good finish to your piece.
Decoupage is great fun and is an easy way to transform accessories for the home or to give as presents, and you don’t have to be artistic to have a go!
Buying a new cast iron fireplace is a costly purchase but we have a new project on the website which gives help and advice if you are restoring a cast iron fireplace. If you already have an old fireplace in your home you may be thinking about trying to revive it or maybe you are planning to buy an old cast iron fireplace from a reclamation yard to ‘do up’.
The project gives advice on stripping and cleaning your fireplace and what to use to get rid of old paint and rust. Depending on the finish you want for your fireplace, you can then decide what sort of product to use on the clened surface – it maybe that you just want to polish it or you may choose to paint it. Whichever you choose, it will be time well spent restoring your cast iron fireplace as they are great features in a house and a good investment!
The National Home Improvement Council along with many other organisations including the Federation of Master Builders have been campaigning hard for several years now for a VAT on home improvements.
Supporters would like to see the current 20% rate of VAT cut to 5% on home repair, maintenance and improvement work. Campaigners maintain that this would:
- Boost economic growth in the UK
- Increase emplyment
- Bring thousands of empty properties back into use
- Improve the energy efficiency of our housing stock and reduce the incidence of fuel poverty
- Help those who cannot afford vital repairs to their homes
- Protect consumers and legitimate businesses by significantly reducing the competitive advantage of rogue traders.
A more recent development is that in the Budget in March this year, the Government announced their intention to stop the current zero rate of VAT for approved alterations to listed buildings in October 2012 and raise it to the standard rate of VAT. Many organisations and individuals feel this would have very serious consequences to historic buildings in this country and have started a e-petition. This is open for consultation until the 18th May.
There is lots more information on the Cut the VAT campaign and the research that has been carried out on www.cutthevat.co.uk where you can also find out how to get involved in the campaign.
Let us know your views on this campaign either here or on our facebook page.