What to do in the event of a powercut?
If your electrics are not working there’s a whole range of problems it could be. However more often than not it can be something simple. The following information will help you to diagnose the problem and restore power to all or at least some of your electrics.
Blown light bulbs can cause lighting circuits to trip.
If only your lights have gone off this often is a result of an old style bulb blowing. Use a plug in lamp or torch and check to see if one of your switches or fuses has tripped or blown. If so, reset the switch or rewire/ replace the fuse. When the lights come back on look for a bulb that has blown and replace.
Is the problem affecting your neighbours?
The Electrical fault could be within your property or it could be a supply power cut. If possible, check with your neighbours. If others around your area also have loss of power its likely there’s a power cut. Another way to check is by looking at you Consumer Unit/Fuseboard and meter. If you have a new, digital meter it will have a flashing red light, if the incoming electrical supply is okay, this will go off in the event of a powercut. If all your trip switches are in the on position (up) yet still you have no power, again its likely to be a supply problem.
If you have an older fuseboard and meter, it can be more difficult to determine whether the problem is internal or external to your home. Try switching on different lights and appliances in different areas of your house to where you have lost power. If any other lights, sockets or appliances are still working, this means the problem will be internal to your home only. If you think you may have a powercut you can ring the following number for confirmation and further details about the problem.
Northern Powergrid Help line-
0800 375 675 or 0330 123 0675 (Yorkshire including Leeds)
0800 668 877 or 0330 123 0877 (North East including York)
What to do if the fault is definatley within your property.
If the problem is within your property, its most likely one of your trip switches or fuses within your fuseboard has blown. If you have a modern Consumer Unit see if one of your switches is in the off position (down). This switch could supply a single lighting or socket circuit, or multiple circuits. If you have an old style re-wireable Fuseboard, remove each fuse cartridge one by one and inspect the wire to see if it has blown or not.
Once you know which switch or fuse has blown, identify what this supplies. This should be clearly labelled on your Consumer Unit or Fuseboard. If its a lighting circuit it could be one of your light bulbs has blown. It can be a common occurrence when a bulb blows for the trip switch or fuse to also blow. Try to reset the switch or replace the fuse and see if the power stays on. If it is a lighting circuit, check all your lights to find which bulb has blown and replace it. If the circuit was a socket circuit and is now staying on, its possible you could have overloaded the circuit by using too many appliances at once.
If the trip switch or fuse will not stay on when resetting its most likely you have a fault on your wiring or an appliance. If you have a modern Consumer Unit with trip switches, you can take the following steps to further identify the source of the fault. If you have an old style rewireable fuseboard and the fuse keeps blowing when replaced, its not recommended to keep re-wiring the fuse over and over, so contact us to arrange a visit or for further advice. If none of the following steps help you in re-storing power, or if you don’t feel confident running through them, then again contact us to arrange an Electrician come and fault-find. To determine if a device is a ‘Residual current device (RCD)’ or a ‘Miniature circuit breaker (MCB)’ try to read the small info on the device. Usually an RCD will be twice as wide as an MCB and feed multiple circuits. The picture to the left shows a typical Consumer unit with the Main switch, RCD and MCB’s.
If an MCB trips
1. Switch the MCB on.
2. If the MCB trips again switch off and un-plug all equipment on this circuit.
3. Switch the MCB on again. If the MCB stays on, one of the items of equipment you’ve just unplugged is faulty. If the MCB still trips you have a fault on you’re wiring, if this is the case contact us to arrange for an Electrician to come and fault find the problem.
4. If your MCB is now on, identify which appliance is causing it to trip. To do this switch on and plug all equipment back in one by one. When the MCB trips, this will indicate which piece of equipment is faulty.
If an RCD trips
1. Switch the RCD on.
2. If the RCD trips again switch off and un-plug all equipment from every circuit supplied by the RCD.
3. Switch the RCD on again. If the RCD stays on, one of the items of equipment you’ve just unplugged is faulty. Follow the above, MCB step 4.
4. If the RCD is still tripping, you have a fault on your wiring. Dependant on the type of fault, it may be possible to find out which circuit is faulty and restore power to other circuits supplied by the RCD. Switch off each MCB, then switch on the RCD. If the RCD stays on switch on each MCB one by one. When switching an MCB on trips the RCD, leave this circuit off. It may not be possible to reset your RCD at all after doing these steps. In both cases the faulty wiring requires attention, so feel free to contact us to arrange for an Electrician to come and find the fault.