Screwfix SCAM available to all Participants!

Screwfix SCAM available to all Participants!

For anyone feeling left out by NOT being called by a Scam Call centre in Delhi (See BBC Panorama for more details) Screwfix have come to the rescue with their very own SCAM that many of us can enjoy.

It works like this:

Screwfix send you an Email with a a voucher code for £10 off a £100 pound order – Seems too good to be true??? Well maybe it is…

Here is how the SCAM works…. Say you make a purchase of £170 – for “Collection from Branch” – As you are well over the £100 spend needed – you get a £10 discount. BUT you won’t receive an proper Invoice before you collect. But you WILL receive an email of what you ordered with all prices stated, plus the £10 discount clearly showing just before the Total. Just to make things more confusing – If it happens that just a single Item is “next day in store” – you won’t even receive a proper Invoice until you collect that item 2 days later. If at the time of collection you decide to return an un-opened item valued at (say) £60 that you no longer required (or ordered in error)… How much refund would you expect? (Remember – your total spend is still £110 after deducting what you paid for that item)

Answer: £56.47! – Hello ??? Where has the £3.53 gone????

Answer in Screwfix’s bank account. You see you must be simply too stupid to do the Maths…. When you collect your final item – you can now be given your Invoice. On that you can see that you have NOT received £10 off a £100 order – you have really received 5.88% DISCOUNT off your TOTAL order (% varies depending on your Total Order Value to ensure the £10 discount is maintained) – so when you return your unwanted Item – you should only expect £56.47 back – NOT what you actually paid for it!
I know this is true because Screwfix Head Office explained it to me – apparently I was too STUPID to follow the small text at the bottom of the email with the Voucher Code saying “Terms & Conditions apply” where according to “Head Office” – It is explained that “£10 off” on spend over £100 is really a % discount not £10. However to save you wasting your time reading the small print that the link takes you to… I’ll save you the trouble:

It says NOTHING about the SCAM – NOTHING about “£10 off”, NOTHING about “Discounts” – but it DOES have a link to ANOTHER “Standard Terms & Conditions” page. To be honest, I have not wasted any more time following that link…

I am posting this so ALL can learn about this Screwfix SCAM. As I got the “Bums rush” from Head office I will waste MORE time using the “online@screwfix.com” address and I will also contact my local Trading Standards Department.

Why you should have regular Electric Inspections (EICR)

I was called in to carry out an Electrical Inspection for a Landlord. As part of carrying out a full Inspection & Test – I have to remove the covers from the Shower to test the cabling back to the Fusebox (Consumer Unit).
This is what I turned up – The Tenant had not noticed any problems!

This is the result of using a “Plumber” to change your shower and not having the work inspected (or the electrical connection made by) a Qualified Electrician. Also a reason why you should not do this in your own home either – unless you are Electrically Competent!

See “Before” and “After” photos….

Before….
After

First Fit on New Build Malinslee

I carried out First Fit Electrics on a New Build House in Malinslee in 2019.

This was for Michael Jessa (or Michal Jerzy Jezza) who is a Director of:

Jessa Enterprises Limited, Defined Construction Limited, Fox London Limited, Xpression Group Limited

Leave a reply below if you want to know more…..

The Electrical Safety Standards in the Private Rented Sector (England) Regulations 2020

For those looking for something to read in bed… Here is the Act that has been laid before Parlimement.

Interesting to note that although the Regulations: BS7671, 2019 (18th Edition) says the EICR’s should be carried out after each change of Tenancy – This act avoids saying that… I say “avoids” because its wording is along the lines of ….

… every 5 years – or whenever the tester has stated…. (my paraphrase)

Read it for yourself here:

http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukdsi/2020/9780111191934/pdfs/ukdsi_9780111191934_en.pdf?dm_i=5172,4SB5,94CDW,J6NJ,1

Mandatory Electrical Inspections for Rental Property 2020 England.

There is a currently a bill before Parliament that is expected to be “fast tracked” to require ALL “privately rented” homes in England to have Electrical Safety Certificates in place (EICR). (“Council” houses are exempt!)

This is planned to be in force for all NEW Tenancies starting from 1st July 2020!

Update: 23 Jan 2020 – See my next Article for a link to the Act itself.

It is planned that is will be required for all EXISTING Tenancies from 1st April 2021.

See here:

and here:

What is involved in an EICR? See here:

http://www.nccompliance.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/What-happens-during-an-electrical-installation-condition-report.pdf

“Anyone” can fill an EICR form in – you can find blank ones on the internet.  However, if that person is NOT Qualified to Test ((holds appropriate C&G qualifications) then, any EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) produced by them will “NOT BE WORTH THE PAPER IT IS WRITTEN ON”!.  Moreover, unless they also have “Professional Indemnity Insurance” whilst they may be legally liable for the report, you will be lucky to recover any compensation should someone subsequently be injured (or killed!) by the electrical system they said was “Safe”!

Ensure that whoever you call in to carry out your EICR is a “Registered Electrician”.  That is to say they are a Registered with a “Government approved Scheme”. The scheme ensures that they are regularly inspected to ensure that they can carry out such work.  In my case, I am registered with NAPIT.

See here to check / find a registered electrician in your area:

http://www.electricalcompetentperson.co.uk/

An EICR is not “just a quick look around”… In addition to a thorough visual inspection and tests made with Calibrated Test Meter, it requires EVERY circuit in the Consumer Unit (Fuse box) to be disconnected and individually tested.  This involves putting test conditions on the cables and going around to every socket and light fitting to check the circuits are operating correctly and safely. The tester has to complete an extensive checklist of the system and record all electrical results on a 6 page form. Every aspect of the Electrical System has to be examined and he (she) has to confirm by entries on the form that that have done this.

As a guide, to carry out a “proper” EICR on a 3 Bed Semi takes around 4 hours, plus the time to raise the paperwork afterwards.  It is hard to put a fixed time on an inspection as it varies depending on where the Consumer Unit is located, how many circuits there are, how many rooms there are, how many floors there are, how many lights and sockets there are, how much the electrical system has been “modified” over its life (and how well!) – and finally if any faults are found – the extent of the fault has to be investigated enough to ensure that it can be correctly reported (not necessarily find the cause or fix it, just the extent in order to ensure safety.).

Having carried out this EICR and having produced a “Signed, Dated and “Traceable” certificate” which carries a unique serial number including the registration code of the “Tester” – the “Tester” is now “Legally Liable” for that inspection.  If he (or she) passes the Electrical Installation as “Safe” – when they didn’t test it property (take the money and run) – and someone is injured by a fault that they should have identified by “proper” testing… they could be taken to court. Note they are NOT liable for any “Subsequent” modifications someone makes! (or bodges). Like an MOT, it reflects the condition of the system at the time of testing only.

BS 7671 says that “Rental Properties” should be inspected EVERY 5 years or on “Change of Tenant” whichever comes earlier.  Note this is NOT a quick check between change of Tenants – it is a FULL (and legal) EICR.

I am seeing some “nonsense” being reported on the websites at present regarding this new Legislation.  They are saying that ALL rental Property HAS to comply with the Current (18th Edition) Standards, BS7671.   THIS IS NOT TRUE!

All NEW installation work MUST comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition.

All TESTING (EICR) is made AGAINST BS7671:2018, 18th Edition, but the installation does NOT have to fully comply with BS7671:2018, 18th Edition!  Anything that does NOT comply with “Current” regulations is given a “Code”. A code C3 (not compliant, but not dangerous) is NOT a failure and a certificate with many C3 Codes is still a PASS.  A C2 code is “Dangerous should a fault occur”.  A single C2 means Failure.  A C1 means “Dangerous NOW!”.  In this event the electrician should isolate the faulty circuit. You may receive an FI (further investigation) – this means the tester was unable to test something for some reason (maybe he can’t find what is connected to a given circuit for example). An FI is a a Failure!

A C3 is similar to an MOT “Advisory”.

An EICR does NOT include “Fixing” anything, but I suggest you discuss this with your Tester before he starts to use his discretion (if simple, fix it and add to the bill before raising the report.)

BE READY for “unscrupulous” (or “mis-guided”) electricians who may well report a C3 as a C2 – hence you fail and NEED to get the work done.  An example of this to be aware of is:

Lighting Circuits:  Prior to 1970’s it was NOT Unusual for lighting circuits to be installed WITHOUT an “earth wire” (a CPC we call it!) to every switch and fitting.  IF there are NO Metal fittings (or all fittings are “double insulated” – this is only a C3! NOT a C1 or C2 !!!  Do NOT get ripped off.  If you DO have metal fittings (lights or switches), then replacing them by plastic is cheaper than a rewire!

If you have a C3 on “no earth on a lighting circuit” a notice to this effect should be placed on the “Fusebox” to warn everybody.  This “fault” is VERY COMMON on older houses, but does NOT require a rewire.

https://www.thelabelpeople.co.uk/user/products/WarningNoProvisionBS7671.jpg
Example Label to put on Consumer Unit

This also applies if you have your “Fusebox” (Consumer Unit) replaced.

Lack of RCD’s on an installation is only a C3! Do NOT be conned.  However, this means that your system is not as safe as it could be and you cannot have ANY changes made to your installed electrical system until this if fixed.  Normally, the advice is to replace the Consumer Unit which makes the house safer and compliant for the future.  However, if it’s just a simple change – another socket for example, provided the NEW wiring and socket is protected by an RCD, this IS compliant.  A “Fused Spur” (FCU) incorporating an RCD can be fitted where the new socket is required.  This device costs around £20 – 25  – Cheaper than replacing the whole fusebox (Consumer Unit) for a simple modification.  However, if you do NOT have RCD protection overall, I would advise a replacement Consumer Unit.

Also be aware of the fact that many older properties are only fitted with ONE RCD.  Sometimes this protects the whole installation (but if it trips – and they do “nuisance trip”) it will turn off the electricity to whole house.  Often on older properties that do have an RCD, it only protects the Power Sockets (and hopefully the shower!).  It is NOT Unusual for the Lighting Circuits in older installations NOT to be protected. Again, this is only a C3!!!!! Do NOT be Conned!  But be aware that you cannot make any alternations to the lighting circuit (fitting an outside light maybe – unless the power is fed from a Socket circuit which is protected by RCD).

If your system does Fail an EICR – read the report and try to understand the faults. Discuss with your Tester (Electrician). If any any doubt call another Electrician and ask his opinion. Advice over the phone may be “free” – but even if you call him out and pay – there is no reason why you should not get a second opinion if you are in any doubt.

A quick explanation about EICR codes:

https://www.procertssoftware.com/blog/how-to-code-observations-on-a-condition-report

A cautionary tale regarding NOT testing between Tenants (even though the original certificate is valid for 5 years):

I recently added some more sockets for a Landlord (who helped me install them). As I had to carry out some testing for the certificate for additional sockets, he asked me to carry out a Full EICR at the same time. My inspection took me into the “downstairs toilet” / outhouse attached to the rear of the house… Unknown to the Landlord – the Tenant had arranged for a “Family member” to add power and lighting into here at some point in the past (property is managed by an Agency!). On inspection I found that it wasn’t “too bad”, but was a little “strange” (obviously a DIY job) and incorrectly fused – meaning that wiring to the lights could have become overloaded and caused a fire. So this took us some more time to investigate, wire the circuits correctly and then test before I could issue the EICR with a “pass”.

If the Landlord had subsequently rented to a new Tenant – and someone was injured or a fire developed because of this electrical work … Whose fault would it be? Who would carry the can for it ? (CLUE: The Landlord!) In fact, if something had happened during the time of the Tenant that carried out unauthorised electrical work – who would carry the can ? (See CLUE above…) It’s the Landlords responsibility to ensure the property is safe – and how can he prove the Tenant carried out “un-authorised work” if they deny it ?

An EICR does NOT detail the installed Electrical System, it only reports circuits tested and inspected and the results. Perhaps a fully documented Electrical System should be added to the Inventory ?

Finally: Reminder that this Electrical Inspection needs to be carried out EVERY 5 years or on CHANGE of Tenant (according to BS7671, because you don’t know what the previous Tenants may have done!) – whichever occurs first! And make sure you ALWAYS give your Tenants a copy of the current certificate (and I advise you get them to sign a document to say they have received it). Maybe even consider getting some “As built” documentation raised by an Electrician for your records in case someone carries out un-authorised changes?

Also – see my later posting 26 February 2020 for example of WHY you should have an EICR at regular intervals….

Wireless Light Switches ? Outside Lights ?

I have had several enquiries recently for people wanting “Outside Lights” – Sometime Automatic – but sometimes “manual” (or Automatic with an over-ride) so they can leave the lights on for security – or on for when they come home (20W LED only costs about £0.003 (yes, 3/10 of a penny!) an hour to run… (3 hours for 1 penny!)

This always poses the 2nd question – How to fit a switch where they want it without making a mess? (The first problem is where to get the power from for the light! – Usually a Fused Spur from a socket and then straight through the wall to outside).

I have NOW found the ANSWER to the 2nd problem – Wireless Light switches – No Alexa, Hive, Nest or other such “Technology” – just a simple rocker switch (same size as a normal light switch – looks like a “designer” light switch) – No batteries – uses the energy of the “Rocker-Click” to generate a 432 Mhz radio pulse which sends a message to the receiver unit (up to 40 Meters away) to turn on (or turn off) the lights. You can even have “multiple” switches (2-way. 3-way etc) operating the same light. You can have switches operating multiple lights simultaneously and you can have a single switch unit with up to 3 Gangs (3 x switches) in it.

Am *I* impressed!

No channelling light switch cables, no ugly trunking to the switch, no lifting floorboards to run the light switch cables.

Whats NOT to like !

Control box for light & two light switches

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 3

If you don’t want to remove your tank / access your Tracker Device, then skip to Part – TBA

  1. Remove all the cushions from the on-board tank area of the van (front offside).
  2. Unscrew the brown plastic U section strip the runs the length of the locker.
  3. Unscrew the wooden batten the goes across the tank at the front. There are screws in either side, but maybe a little difficult to reach.
  4. Using a “Multi tool” cutter (or a junior hacksaw) cut through the long batten that runs the length of the locker (underneath the plastic U section removed earlier). Cut the bar in the middle of the batten underneath so that both pieces can be secured when you put it back together.
Cut the bar…

5. Persuade these three bars out (there is a vertical on in the far corner attached, that you can’t see!). You will find there are pins holding the batten where you cut it – Persuade these to release! You will find a vertical bar “stapled” to the horizontal piece… it may be reluctant to come out and play… but persuade it if it knows what’s good for it!

Battens removed (upside down)

6. Disconnect the Drain pipe hose from underneath the van (outside drain tube – held in place with a Jubilee clip. Remove this from the tank – otherwise you can’t pull the tank up inside the van!

7. Remove all three screws from the tank – and lift the tank out. Behind/under the tank at the front you will see an MDF panel with your Tracker & Alarm system mounted on it. The tank screws to this piece of MDF. In my case, it had pulled the MDF away from it’s mountings – and split the MDF where the tank screwed into it.

Secret Tracker Device – Battery on the right.
My battery was bulging – I’ve seen worse. The volts were measured at 2.3V having been “on charge” (Van connected to hook-up) for around 8 weeks!

8. Unplug the tracker / alarm unit where it connects to the Caravan harness. Pull the spade connectors off the battery and remove the four nuts holding it to the MDF. You can order a replacement battery from Ebay. 12v 7AH – Type: NP7-12

This cost me £13.50 on Ebay – Delivered

If you don’t want to cut your van up to replace the battery, I read somewhere that you can have a “man” visit you to replace the Tracker Battery – It cost around £180 – but that may have been written a few years ago. But, for this HE will cut your Van up for you!

To be Continued…. (27 Sept 2019)

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 2

Ok, so you want an easier way to fill your onboard water tank?

Eez Simples:

Just cut a hole in the side of the caravan, install a Trumu Filter Water inlet panel with external pump connection as I did (or similar interface). Or install an onboard pump, with a water inlet of you choice.

I located mine as close to the tank as I could, so as to not infringe too much on the remaining locker space. I didn’t need to remove my tank, however, I wanted to because:

a) It was “loose” the screws holding it down (3 of them) had come adrift, I needed a little remedy. The hold down screw at the front of the tank was screwed into some sort of board. This board had completely come loose from the caravan and was floating. This board also contained some “electrical” equipment – What *could* it be ???

b) I wanted to locate the “hidden / Secret” Tracker / Intruder Alarm device to change the battery. My van is 10 years old and so I knew the battery would be shot! I don’t pay for the tracker service, but I do receive a discount from my Insurance because I have a installed alarm system, so I wanted to make sure it worked even if the van battery was removed. Also, I didn’t want a *shot* battery constantly draining my van battery.

This is what I did:

See part 3…

Hive Heating System

I fitted a Hive Heating System today for a friend of mine. I am very impressed. Plugged the Hub into router, removed the old time-clock and Thermostat, fitted the controller in place of the time-clock and installed the “app” on his phone… He has a portable” wireless thermostat that he can move from room to room (if desired) … Now he can control his heating with different temperatures at different times of the day automatically. Control the heating / hot water from his phone – whether in the house or out and about… control the heating from his computer or tablet – or just use the “manual” control box / thermostat.

Whats more – having installed this one, I know can install one for you too!

Automatic On-board Water Tank fill System (& Tracker) Part 1

This article is written around my 2009 Bailey Senator Arizona – but this could probably be done on many other caravans that already have an on-board tank (or you are fitting a tank).

On holiday in France recently, we had problems (yet again), with the O rings of the Whale water inlet (connection to the external barrel), such that I couldn’t even fill the onboard tank properly (which is a pain in itself – messing with manual change-over valves!).

It occurred to me then that if I *could* fill the onboard tank (even by pouring water in the top), I wouldn’t have to bleed the air every time the offboard tank ran out of water! (I have already fitted an Audible alarm to the low level warning light for the onboard tank -which you can’t see on the Bailey, unless you make a point of looking!).

I couldn’t find my spare O rings at the time, but I fixed the external filler using “gas grade” PTFE tape (thicker than the cheap water stuff), that I always keep in the van as part of my “first aid kit” (good to refit worn screws for example). I wrapped it around the damaged / missing O rings.

Anyway – I decided I wanted an “auto-fill” to my on-board tank – similar to a modification I made to my Lunar around 20 years ago.

I looked on the market – there is NOTHING, nothing on Ebay, Nothing on “The Web”, nothing on YouTube, nothing in the Forums on how to do this… No gadgets, no advice, no discussion – maybe I’m the only one that wants this ????

So here is how I did it on my Bailey Senator:

Oh – and BTW if you came here looking for “Tracker” – I will also tell you how to replace the battery in your On-board (hidden) Tracker device. (Bailey Senator Arizona only – Other Bailey’s may be similar!)

Continued in Part 2…