Fitting a ceiling light.

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Paul555

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Thanks for all the comments guys, but it seems I made a schoolboy error. Electrician showed up today...asked me exactly what I had done. I pointed out the switch that I had turned off on the consumer unit before starting the job...the same switch I had thrown when I was re-fitting lights for the last 20yrs. Turns out it was the wrong switch...all I was ever doing was isolating the wall sockets!!!! Apparently I should be dead by now....
 

Sandyn

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At least you now know which switch to turn off in future. :ROFLMAO: :ROFLMAO:
I find it hard to believe you have been working on live circuits for 20 years and not get a shock. You must be very very lucky. I would go buy some lottery tickets for Friday!
 

Spectric

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The biggest error here is assumption, you assumed that your actions had made the circuit dead and safe to work on without actually proving it was dead, you also assumed that you had turned off the correct isolator so when you found it still to be live you then thought you had a problem and not that it was an error on your part. This shows how easy it can be for someone not qualified or without the right test equipment to electrocute themselves or others, the main switch in a domestic consumer unit is obvious because it is red and looks different from all the individual circuit protective devices, this is done so it is obvious for the homeowner to knock of the power in an emergency.
 

Alasdair

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Maybe emergency lighting battery backup feeding back via the neutral in box? Seems odd when the main breaker was off. Get a cheap meter or probe. I normally just trip the circuit I am working on but always check after its off. I also put a piece of insulating tape over the MCB so no-one can turn it back on when I am working on it and a sign on the box
 

TheTiddles

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Take the isolator out and put it in your pocket, or whatever else means it’s all off and nobody else can turn it back on.

I was replacing a light fitting for a neighbour once having switched the mains isolator off, then I heard the kettle boiling.
 

Phil Pascoe

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I bought a house in 1985. I decided to remove a dividing wall and so had to remove a piece of lead sheathed 6mm cable - this was the spur that fed the cooker from the dining room light. Standing on a ladder, I cut the cable and got a wallop the knocked me off. I had switched the property off at the incoming main.
I called the electricity board and when the chap came he told me I was a fool for checking everything was dead. Even after receiving this? I said, showing him a letter from the electricity board informing me that the property had been disconected from the mains. The switch had arced, the metalwork was welded together but the plastic still moved as normal.
 

Phil Pascoe

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The house we moved to needed a quick clean up, so it was paint everything white. I found a loop of 2.5mm in a cupboard, where someone had obviously intended to put a socket. I said to my wife to hold off the painting and I'd fit a socket to tidy up the wiring. The C.U. was in the basement so I plugged a radio in and pulled the fuse I thought it was supplied by. It went off. I pulled the fuses and put them back, the first one turning the radio on again.
All the tails were mixed up. The rings were fed from two fuse, the basement lights and the immersion on one ... I got a multi tester, found what went where, replaced them with the correct fuses and labelled them all. Job done. I was in the pub a few days later and a friend said one thing I wouldn't have any problems with was the electrics. Why is that ? I asked. Because the guy who owned your house is a qualified electrician. :LOL:
 

Daniel2

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Thanks for all the comments guys, but it seems I made a schoolboy error. Electrician showed up today...asked me exactly what I had done. I pointed out the switch that I had turned off on the consumer unit before starting the job...the same switch I had thrown when I was re-fitting lights for the last 20yrs. Turns out it was the wrong switch...all I was ever doing was isolating the wall sockets!!!! Apparently I should be dead by now....

A sage lesson, and I respect your honesty coming on here and telling us.
It does sound as if you have been generally very lucky.
Some things, though, are best not left to luck. As Priscilla famously said;
"Assumption, my dear, is the mother of all fu** ups".
Time to brush up on safe working practices, I think. :)
 

Stevekane

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You can buy lockouts for most electrical isolators, fit and lock then you are safe. Lockout Tagout Kits | Tester.co.uk
Hmm ,,,Maybe a good idea,,perhaps his wife has beeen warming up the life insurance and flicked the electric on when she could see him up the ladder,,,this is panning out like an Agatha Christie mystery,,,I hope were not going to next hear about his untimely demise!
 

Alasdair

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Not a chance. Only do it when I cant turn off power completely and only on lighting circuits. Its a pain resetting all the clocks etc if I cut out the whole house. I know its a bit risky but so far so good. She is so paranoid about electricity she wont even reset the breakers so I reckon I am pretty safe. Life insurance isnt worth that much anyway and who would fix the lights
 

Ozi

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This seems like a good time for a story. Amateur electrical work can be frightening, personally I only tackle very basic things such as replacing fittings like for like or adding the odd socket, only in my own home AND I read the electrical regulations. A few years back I was buying a house to rent out previously worked on by some local fiend with his own three hands. Many dodge things but by far the best was fitting a new power point for the oven. The original now being under the sink he had also installed (a few questions there). To make a spur would you A) fit a blanking plate assuming the old power point to be in a suitable dry location or B) knock a hole through the face plate and thread through a bit of 2.5 twin and earth. Would you A) put the new cable into earthed conduit or B) run it diagonally across the top of the kitchen tiles then make safe by plastering over with filler.

He had also bypassed the meter and consumer unit for all downstairs power both Cooking and ordinary wall sockets so that they were on the same circuit and you couldn't turn them off. Cost me quite a lot getting that put in order and certified before I could let the place.

Some professionals are not much better, I had an electrical inspection where they missed a plug face plate being smashed so badly the back box had to be replaced, told me that a brand new battery CO alarm was an out of date hard wired smoke alarm they would replace for me, checked the wrong gas meter box that supplied the flat upstairs via a clearly visible external pipe and told me my system was not earthed. When I complained told me I was lying and as proof sent me a photo of the smashed socket showing the cracks. Another firm moved a bathroom light the builders had fitted over the shower told me what cowboys the builders were for fitting a light that was not the correct spec for that location but extended it's wiring using the twist the wire together with pliers and insulate with tape method even when leaving me to make good the ceiling.

Anyone know a reliable way of finding trades, I only use people who are recommended


Sorry rant over I'm going back in the workshop till I feel better
 

woodieallen

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I'm a qualified electrician (retired) and even us pro's can get caught out. Replacing a consumer unit in a flat in a block that was wired with old style metal conduits and single core red and black wires. Turned off the old consumer unit. Went into the landing utility cupboard and removed the fuse feeding the flat. Tested the incomer - with two different testers. Dead as a Dodo. Proceeded to undo all the wires (after labelling them up). Fixed the new consumer unit to the wall and proceeded to reconnect the cables. My knuckle brushed against a neutral and to my surprise got a belt. Tested the neutral - it was live.

Your starter for ten. How could that happen ?
 

TheTiddles

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The problem with people recommending trades… do they know what good looks like?

There’s a cowboy plumber across the road from us, someone said “he’s very good, did a wonderful job on my leaking tap”… if you needed a plumber for a leaking tap, you probably don’t know if they did a good job or not.

All my electrical work has been signed off on the safety certificate for the house issued 6-months after we moved in by a person who never visited.
 

Flynnwood

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I'm a qualified electrician (retired) and even us pro's can get caught out. Replacing a consumer unit in a flat in a block that was wired with old style metal conduits and single core red and black wires. Turned off the old consumer unit. Went into the landing utility cupboard and removed the fuse feeding the flat. Tested the incomer - with two different testers. Dead as a Dodo. Proceeded to undo all the wires (after labelling them up). Fixed the new consumer unit to the wall and proceeded to reconnect the cables. My knuckle brushed against a neutral and to my surprise got a belt. Tested the neutral - it was live.

Your starter for ten. How could that happen ?

It was a "borrowed neutral"? Edit to add; Or a broken neutral that your body earthed ?
 
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