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Two visits and two hours later a fault was found, but could it have been found earlier?

Hi, wonder if you can solve a puzzle for me. Came back from holiday to find that all 3 spotlights on my landing were not working. Electrician came and spent a little while trying to find the reason. He said he needed to come back when he had more time. On the second visit he took a long time looking at other areas in the loft, taking down the smoke alarm which was nearby, scratching his head and generally making out it was a real puzzle etc. Finally after an hour he came and said "you nearly had a fire". He had pulled all three spotlights down out of their holes so that they were hanging down and one was blackened. My question is, shouldnt he have pulled them down and discovered that on the first visit? I am totally naive when it comes to electrics etc but i feel i have been conned...i am young, blonde and female and to be honest he could have told me anything ...but i think i would have taken these down first before i wandered all over the house looking at other stuff? He had done other work for me always seems to make a drama out of it. Don't electricians have equipment to have them find faults?????? Hoping there are some honest guys on here...maybe i am just cynical. Thanks very much in advance.

4 Answers from MyBuilder Electricians

Best Answer

Hi Greenpeel. Its difficult to say if you have been conned or not, based solely on what you have said so far, and some faults do take a few hours to resolve sometimes.

But as with all fault finding there has to be a systematic and logical approach. So I would agree with you that the actual lights with the fault should have been the starting point, even if only to establish if there was power getting to them or not.

This could have been done with a voltage indicator or a voltstick. Depending on whether there was any power geting to the lights or not may account for why the guy needed to look further along the circuit? But the next probable place would have been the switch or light next along the circuit, e.g. next room. This should have been easy to establish from looking at the layout in the loft.

If the spotlights are of the open back type and not fire rated, then the heat from behind the lamp will
have caused damage to the wiring behind, and they are indeed considered a fire risk. Have a look at the free downlighter safety leaflet on the electricity safety council website for more info.

As you have not indicated the cost for the visit its a close call either way, but if you have had similar experiences with this guy in the past then its probably better to seek another electrician.

I assume it that this guy is registered with one of the three major part p schemes (NICEIC, ELCSA or NAPIT) and has issued you with certificates for the work he has done in the past? If not then it maybe doubtful if he is actually an electrician at all?


Answered 16th Nov 2011

Sounds like you need another electrician, my electrican usually finds the fault straight away.

Young blonde and female, you say hes always wandering round your house,Ill bet hes been rummaging in your underwear drawers as well.


Answered 16th Nov 2011

every fault is different. some will take 5 mins to find others 2 days. buy all faults should be approached in the same way. i use a process of elimination. @@@@ the guy who talked about looking in underwear drawers,what brought that thought into ur mind.


Answered 13th Dec 2011

Electricmick is correct. It is a process of elimination with the starting point being at the light its self. It is highy likely that the fault could have been found on the first visit, but that is down to fault finding experience. Depending on how much he charged says whether you were ripped off or not.

Lets say he was faily local, within 5 miles, and spent half a day at your house, you are looking around £80 - £100 plus materials, just a guide thats all.

Hope this helps


Answered 28th Dec 2011

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