Electrical faults range from the simple
to the complex. In all cases safety comes first, if you are unsure
about anything stop and call a competent person.
If all your power is off the first thing
to do is look out of the window. Is your neighbours' power on?
The street lights? If not then the likely problem is a supply
failure. Check with your power company!
If you are the only household without power
then locate your consumer unit (or fuse board). Many properties
now have safety devices which 'trip' in the event of a fault.
Trips can be caused by light bulbs blowing (particularly halogen
fittings). Look at your consumer unit. Are all the trips in same
position? Is there a trip with a 'test' button? Has this switched
Start with the trips with the test button
(most consumer units have one although modern installations have
two). These are called RCDs. Some reset by first pushing down
and then up, some by just pushing up. If one has tripped then
turn off all the associated circuit breakers (that's the smaller
trips). Try resetting the RCD. If it resets turn on the circuit
breakers one by one. If it trips out when a circuit breaker is
turned on then that will indicate where the fault is and should
enable restoration of power to the majority of the property. If
it won't reset then if possible unplug all devices and switch
off all lights. Try the RCD again. If it will reset plug appliances
back in until it trips again. If all is fine check for blown light
bulbs and change faulty ones (with the power off). If the RCD
still won't reset call 50plus.
If the RCD(s) is fine or you only have
the smaller trips, of which there will be several the same size
(but of different ratings), simply pushed back the switched off
trip into the on position. If the trip won't stay in the on position
stop! If possible unplug all devices on that circuit and/or switch
off all lights. Try the trip again. If it will reset carefully
plug appliances in one by one until it trips again. The faulty
appliance will then be found. If the trip still won't reset call
call 50plus. One of the most common issues is self
installed ceiling lighting. Ceiling lights frequently have several
wires connected to them as the ceiling 'rose' is used as a junction
box. It's very easy to change this and get the wiring wrong. If
you can't read the circuit diagrams referenced below stop and
call in the experts.
Information on what to do in an emergency, electrical
installations and lighting.
For information on changing fuseboards / consumer
units click here.