Choosing the Right Drill Bit

Choosing the Right Drill Bit

The whole issue of choosing a drill bit feels a bit of minefield. It doesn’t need to be.

We cover it on lots of our courses, so that you feel confident choosing the right drill bit for the right material.

Drilling into Wood

If you are just drilling into wood, you have a couple of choices…..

High Speed Steel (HSS)

HSS Drill bits

HSS Drill bits (High Speed Steel) are usually a gold colour or black.

The point should feel a bit sharp, but not painfully so. 

These are actually designed for metal, and they are great at drilling into metal, but they are also great for everyday drilling into wood, and can be used for plastics, as well.

They’re a great all-rounder. I generally buy them in packs of 5 from Screwfix, (in my favourite sizes). This makes them pretty economical to use. When they go blunt, I mark them up, and hang onto them to mark drill holes on plaster & masonry walls. 

If you’re using them in metal, then drill slowly and steadily. If you need to drill a large hold, start with a small hole, and gradually move up through the sizes. This gives you, the drill and the drill bits a fighting chance. 


Brad point Drill Bits

Brad Point Bits

You can also use a Brad Point Drill bit in wood. 

These have a really sharp point, which hurts when you press it into your finger (no need to try it, just take my word for it). They can only be used on wood, and possibly plastic, but use them on metal or masonry, they will go blunt immediately.

Image of Masonry Drill Bits

Drilling into Walls

When you’re drilling into walls, you will need Masonry Drill bits. 

These are often Silver-coloured or Gunmetal Grey. 

They don’t feel sharp to the touch, but have what looks like a reinforced point. This is because they will be drilling into a hard material, and can be used with a Hammer Drill. Basically they use both blunt force trauma & a cutting action at the same time, so need to be very robust. 

They’re not designed for using on soft materials like wood or plastic. If you do, you will probably just create an unpleasant burning smell. You can use them on plaster and plasterboard.

Drilling into Metal

Use HSS drill bits when drilling into metal  (that’s what they’re designed for).
Drill slowly, and don’t try using a blunt drill bit.
For larger holes, start by drilling a small hole, then slowly increase the size of the drill bit until you reach the right size.  Trust me, this may sound a bit slow and laborious, but it will be more successful more quickly.

Drilling into Plastic

For drilling into plastic, I generally use an HSS Drill bit (see how versatile they are). Plastic can get hot and melt, so make sure the drill bit is sharp, and don’t drill to fast.

Get more Practice…..

If you want to get some practice using Drills and choosing Drill bits, then why not try one of our Beginners DIY Courses. We will take you through the process slowly and clearly. You can have as much hands-on practice as you need …

Nailing it!

Beginners DIY Skills

Introduction to Hand Tools & Cordless Drills.
Essential Confidence-building Skills

DIY Next Steps

More DIY Skills

Put the knowledge into Practice. 
Learn how to fix things to walls.

Drill Down into Drilling

More Drilling Skills

Get confident with using more Drills. 

Build your DIY Confidence

Nailing it! Follow-up Information

Nailing it! Follow-up Information Sheet

Please download our Nailing it! Follow-up Information Sheet by clicking the button below.

Any issues, please don’t hesitate to get back in touch.

Don’t forget, we are always here, if you need us.

Just send us an email, or

WhatsApp: 07490764877

or give us a call: 0117 462 4161


Whatever works best for you.

Good luck on your DIY journey


Look forward to seeing you  again soon.

Electric Showers – what you need to know

Electric Showers – what you need to know

What is an Electric Shower?

Unlike traditional “Mixer” showers, electric showers only require a cold water supply, which they heat up instantly as you stand beneath the spray.

With a safety cut-out feature, you can enjoy your shower without worrying about getting scalded if the water supply suddenly drops.

Why choose an Electric shower?

Sometimes, a balanced supply of hot and cold water from a boiler may not be available in your home. In such cases, an electric shower is the ideal solution. It ensures that you always have a refreshing shower, regardless of the water pressure in your house.

So how do Electric Showers work?

Electric Showers  are directly connected to your cold mains supply and contain a heating element that warms up the water as it flows through, a bit like a sophisticated kettle.

The faster the water flow, the more power the shower needs to heat the water up. This is why it’s essential to have a properly installed electric shower with the correct cable size to prevent overheating and potential hazards.

This is where one of the main safety issues surrounding Electric Showers becomes apparent.

Fitting an Electric Shower is NOT a DIY project

We’re going to keep saying this….

Who should fit an Electric Shower?

*When it comes to fitting an electric shower, it’s crucial to seek the expertise of an Electrically Competent Person*. 

(*This is actually a defined term, which means someone who has sufficient knowledge and training to comply with Part P of the Building Regulations.)

With their knowledge and training in compliance with building regulations, they will ensure a safe and efficient installation.

Should an electric shower be installed by a Plumber, an Electrician or maybe a Handyperson? 

There’s no easy answer. Water and Electricity mixed together can be very dangerous. Because of this, Bathrooms are regarded as “Special Locations” for electrical work. What we can definitively say, is that an electric shower must be installed by an Electrically Competent Person. 

Fitting an Electric Shower is NOT a DIY project

….nor is it a job for an unqualified Handyperson….

What size Electric Shower should I choose?

So, there you are shopping in one of those lovely DIY stores, where there is a range of shiny new electric showers on display.

You need to replace your shower; its got a bit drippy, is looking a bit limescaly, or has gone that lovely yellow-plastic colour through age.

Time for an upgrade!

So many different sizes to choose though. Surely the more powerful the shower, the better showering experience you’re going to have. 

This is where the DIYer can come seriously unstuck, & put themselves and other users in danger

However the choice may not be down to you. The decision will be dictated by several things:

  • The size & quality of the cable supplying the electric shower
  • The length of the Cable run from your Consumer Unit (Fuse box)
  • The material through which the Cable runs.
  • (I have seen cables melted because they are running through newly-installed Loft Insulation)

These are all questions which an Electrically Competent Person is going to consider, before advising you which size shower to choose.

You may not even know that you should be asking these questions, let alone how to find out the answers.

The most powerful electric shower will generally need a very big cable. This will increase in size, as the length of the cable increases.

As a rule of thumb, Big Cables are much more expensive than smaller Cables!

If your existing electric shower has been there for a long time, the chances are that it may only be supplied by relatively small cable, which will not cope with the demands of a more powerful shower. You may need a whole new, much larger cable, to be installed. 

Installing new cables can be disruptive, messy & expensive.

Does the person installing your Electric Shower know this?

The Dangers of Loft Insulation

Loft Insulation is generally a very good thing. We should all be making sure that we insulate our lofts. It will keep heat in, make our houses more thermally efficient and save us money.

However, electrical cable and insulation need to be thought about carefully. If you cover all the electrical cables in your loft with insulation, this may affect the cable’s ability to carry current.

When the cables were originally installed, there may not have been very much insulation in your loft, so the cables were fine.

Now that your loft has 150 or 200mm of lovely warm insulation lying over the top of it, the cable is no longer able to do its job properly.

Cables supplying Showers are particularly at risk. On several ocasions I have found shower cables in lofts showing signs that they are melting. Even the cable clips have begun to melt.

This is very dangerous. I have spoken to people who install insulation in loft spaces for a living, who were unaware that this is an issue that they should be aware of, and taking into account during their insualtion.

I’m sure many of us have seen the Loft Insulation Installations carried out “under grant” where it looks as though the loft insulation was installed, by throwing it liberally  about the loft from the loft hatch. I’m prettty confident that the well-being of any cables being covered by the loft inulation was not a consideration.

Important Messages

  • Seek advice from an Electrically Competent Person before replacing an electric shower.
  • Make sure you choose the correct person to install an Electric Shower. If you ask for a quote from an Electrically Competent Person, and then find someone who "can do it cheaper," please make sure that they are competent.
  • If you are insulating your loft, please make sure that you are not covering up cables and creating a potential fire-hazard
  • Installing an Electric Shower is NOT A DIY PROJECT

Fitting an Electric Shower is NOT a DIY project

How old are your Smoke Detectors?

How old are your Smoke Detectors?

Which Birthday will your Smoke Detectors be celebrating this year?

Are your Smoke Detectors still looking gleaming white?

If they are beginning to take on that yellowing plastic look, it may be that they are approaching, or possibly have already celebrated, their 10th Birthday without you even noticing.

I know, I know, another one of those things that you need to check. There seem to be so many these days.

Anyway, back to the Smoke Detectors….

Generally Smoke & Heat Detectors are regarded as a “Good thing.”

You may not feel quite so well-disposed towards them when they start chirruping at you at 3 o’clock in the morning to tell you that their back-up battery is flat, but when they are just getting on with their job, they’re definitely a good thing.

In fact they’re such a good thing, that we electricians are required to install them a lot more often these days.

Very importantly, Landlords are required to make sure that they are installed and working properly in their rental properties.

This is probably something to do with the fact that they save lives.

Inter-connected Smoke Detectors

Nowadays, we encourage people to install inter-connected mains-operated detectors with a back-up battery.

Inter-connected means that if one detector is activated, the rest of them all join in and make sure that there’s absolutely no way that you can sleep through the issue.

Mains-operated means that they aren’t going to stop working, just because the battery has gone flat, or you’ve removed the battery in a rage in the middle of the night, and forgotten to put it back.

Why replace Smoke detectors?

Unfortunately, like a lot of good things, Smoke Detectors have a shelf life. In the case of Smoke & Heat Detectors, this is about 10 years, but can be as low as 7 years. They should have a date of manufacture and Expiry Date somewhere nice and visible.

It may be time to get a step ladder out just to check.

If the expiry date is in the past, then it’s time to replace your Smoke & Heat Detectors.

Many of the quality makes of Smoke & Heat Detectors allow you to retro-fit with very little effort.

Basically you can leave the base connected in the ceiling, so don’t have to touch the wiring, then slide or twist the detector off the base, and replace it with a new one.

Job done! No electrician required.


Why are there different types of Detector?

It can be a bit confusing, but here’s a quick summary….

Heat Detectors

Heat Detectors are designed to go in your Kitchen, Garage, or dusty areas. As the name suggests, they wil be triggered by an increase in heat, approx 55 degrees. They are not going to be set off by you burning the toast, or your Sunday Roast. They are less susceptible to dust than Optical and Ionisation Smoke Detectors.

Ionisation Smoke Detectors

Ionisation Smoke Detectors are the old style smoke detectors. They are being phased out and replaced by Optical Smoke Detectors. They are most sensitive, and are a bit more prone to false alarms.

Optical Smoke Detectors

Optical Smoke detectors  are replacing the old Ionisation Smoke Detectors.

Ideally they should be installed in Bedrooms, Hallways, Living spaces (except Kitchens).

They will detect smouldering smoke, but are sensitive to dust, so if you need to install a detector in a dusty area, then you should use a Heat Detector instead.

Replacing old Smoke Detectors

Some makes and models of smoke detector have stopped being manufactured. This can be annoying  if you want to leave the base in position and just replace the detector itself, without calling in an electrician.
Safelincs have a useful guide to compatible makes and models on their website.
Not all makes and models are replaceable, but some are, so its worth checking, just in case. It could save you some money.

Upgrading yor Smoke Detectors

If you need to upgrade your Mains-operated Smoke detectors, you will need to call an electrician in. 

We often fit AICO Detectors, because AICO make it easy for customers to retrofit detectors in the future.  They also make it easier to add additional Detectors in areas where it would be awkward or expensive to run new wiring.

Basically they allow you to create hybrid systems with mains and battery-operated detectors talking to each other.

They also have a range of Smart Detectors for those of us who like our doorbells and washing machines to chat to us on our mobile phones while we’re away from home. An exciting world of conversations with your smoke detectors awaits you, if you decide to go down that route.

Anyway, back to the point. Please check your Smoke Detectors and make sure that they are still in date. If they aren’t, please do something about it. Don’t leave it until it’s too late.

At the risk of sounding a bit doom laden, anyone who charges a battery in their home, particularly a larger battery for a bike or scooter, has the potential for an issue, so please…


Saw-sational Skills Workshop

Saw-sational Skills Workshop

Saw-sational Skills Workshop

As participants on our Nailing it! DIY Fundamentals Course will tell you, sawing is trickier than you think.

Once you get the hang of it, it’s like riding a bicycle, but it can take a little time to get the technique right.

There are many different types of saw. We will be concentrating on the saws which we think the DIYer is most likely to use. 

What you will learn…

On this Saw-sational Skills course we introduce you to different ways of cutting wood. We help you learn to choose the right sawing technique for the right circumstances.

Sawing by hand…

We will start with some hand sawing, including an introduction to cutting accurately with a coping saw. These are really useful skills when fitting Skirting Board, or scribing shelves and end panels.

Then we will progress onto introducing you to using cordless jigsaws and circular saws.

Cordless Jigsaws…

Jigsaws are extremely useful tools for the DIYer, but they are also difficult to get accurate results with.

We will teach you some simple techniques, and then give you lots of practice, so that you leave the course feeling much more confident in choosing and using a jigsaw, and getting accurate results on your DIY projects at home.

Circular Saws…

Lastly we will introduce you to using basic circular saws. These versatile saws can be extremely helpful in your DIY projects. However, they can initially appear to be a little intimidating. We will teach you how to use them safely, and show you techniques for getting the best out of them.

Boiler Condensate Pipes

Boiler Condensate Pipes

Protect your Boiler from Freezing

As we approach the end of Autumn the air of late is definitely feeling chilly! Jack Frost had well and truly put his stamp on the grass this Saturday morning at my local park.

With this change in the weather most of us will by now been getting used to putting the heating on. Now is the time to get your boiler serviced as it approaches its most hard working period of the year to check everything is in tip top condition when you need it most. Before we get too close to the festivities get your boiler service booked with a reliable Gas-Safe registered engineer.


There is something YOU can do…… 

……… particularly if you have any crazy pipework like that shown in the picture above.

Most modern combi boilers have a small plastic pipe that carries waste water away from the boiler. Ideally, this should terminate internally, but if it does run outside, there are 3 things which should be done:

  • The pipework needs to be lagged
  • The pipe diameter needs to be upgraded by at least one size. (i.e the  condensate pipe needs to be upgraded to at least 32mm waste pipe)
  • The overall pipe run should be as short as possible.

If this pipework freezes and your boiler can’t get rid of this water it will stop working probably at the most inconvenient time.

Limit the chances of this happening by getting busy with some lagging and plastic cable ties.

Armaflex (black coloured) lagging is recommended as it is designed for outdoor installations.

What to do if your Condensate Pipe freezes

1. Pour Warm water over the Pipe

This is easier to do, if the pipe is outside.
Be careful that the water which lands on the ground doesn’t freeze and cause a dangerous slip hazard

2. Use a Hot Water Bottle or Hairdryer (on low heat)

This is easier to do, if the pipe is inside.

So, before you suddenly discover that your boiler isn’t working properly, and your home is getting very cold, go and check that your condensate pipe is Cold Weather Ready

Electrical Safe Zones

Electrical Safe Zones

Where is it DANGEROUS to drill in a Wall?

This is, understandably, a very important thing to know. There are 3 main areas where you can definitely expect cables to have been run:

Image provided by Elecsa
1. Where two walls meet

An area 150mm (6 inches) wide along the top of the wall where it meets the ceiling.

2. Horizontally either side of a switch or socket

In a straight line either side of a socket/switch/fused spur etc. The line is the height of the socket/switch. It runs all the way to the adjoining walls, or an obstacle, such as door or window.

3. Vertically above and below a Socket or Switch

In a straight line above and below a socket/switch/fused spur etc. The line is the width of the socket/switch. It runs all the way to the floor and ceiling.

Very Important: 

If the wall is less than 100mm (4 inches) thick, then the safe zones operate on both sides of the wall. Bear this in mind when you are drilling from a different room!

Very Very Important:

Electricians in the past did not have these rules. Cables could be, and were run in all sorts of odd places.

We have found cables run diagonally across walls, doing sudden 90 degree bends and all sorts, so beware. 

If you suspect that someone in the past has carried out some electrical DIY work in your house, it is quite possible that they did not know about Safe Zones. They may have run cables wherever was most convenient for them, not always in the safest place.

If your current consumer unit does not have a functioning, healthy RCD, in fact, if you have any doubts at all,


Where is it safe to drill in a Ceiling?

The rule that electricians should follow is to run the cables through the joists, as close to the centre of the joist as possible, at a depth of at least 50mm from the top and bottom of the joist. i.e 50mm from the ceiling/floor.

It is not always possible to follow this rule. There are often existing holes and notches in a joist. It is extremely likely that in the past, cables will have been run all over the place.

It is also quite possible that cables can be lying on top of plasterboard ceilings.

Because it is not always possible to run cables this way, the current electrical regulations allow cables to be run outside the zones, provided they are protected by an RCD.

If the wiring in your house is old and you have a Consumer Unit which does not have an RCD, then you should be even more cautious. 

If you have any doubts…..


Where is it safe to drill in a Floor?

As with ceilings, the rule that electricians should follow is to run the cables through the joists, as close to the centre of the joist as possible, at a depth of at least 50mm from the top and bottom of the joist. i.e 50mm from the floor.

It is not always possible to follow this rule. There are often existing holes and notches in joist, and it is extremely likely that in times past, cables have been run all over the place. It is also extremely likely that gas & water pipes have also been run under the floorboards through notches in the joists, (in which case, it is worth checking very very carefully first) 

Because it is not always possible to run cables this way, the current electrical regulations allow cables to be run outside the zones, provided they are protected by an RCD.

If the wiring in your house is old and you have a Consumer Unit which does not have an RCD, then you should be even more cautious.

If you have any doubt,

If you have any doubts…..


How to re-pressurise a Boiler

How to re-pressurise a Boiler

How do I know my Boiler needs re-pressurising?

In most cases, you will suddenly discover that you have no hot water or heating, and your boiler is not working.

There are many things that cause a Boiler to stop working. Many of them will require an engineer to come out and repair the fault. However, by far the most common issue to stop a boiler working is a drop in boiler pressure. This is something that you can rectify yourself. (If there has been a suddent drop in temperature outside and the weather is freezing, check out our advice on Freezing Condensate Pipes as well)

In fact the pressure on your boiler is something that you really should be aware of and check on a regular basis. If the pressure is constantly dropping and you are regularly having to re-pressurise your boiler, that indicates that there is an underlying problem, and you should call in a Gas-Safe Engineer to investigate and rectify the problem.

Most Boilers have some kind of pressure gauge on them, which gives you an indication of the boiler pressure. They usually have a helpful Green section which indicates a safe operating pressure, and a  Red section, which indicates that the pressure is too high or too low.

They also often have some lines, to indicate a normal pressure. The needle should be slightly above this normal level, or, on some dials, between 1 & 2.

If the needle has fallen below 1, (or the line),  then the boiler pressure is too low and needs to be increased.


If the needle is in the high Red section, your pressure is too high. The boiler should rectify this problem itself by dumping (usually very hot) water out of the system through a Pressure Relief Valve. You may see this happening on an outside wall of your house. If this does happen, turn the boiler off and call an engineer.

How do I re-pressurise my Boiler?

If you’re lucky (organised) enough to still have the manual that came with your boiler, the instructions will be found there.

Failing that, there is a lot of information on the web to help with re-pressurising your boiler. Each make (and sometimes model) of boiler is different, so it is not possible to give a one-size-fits-all explanation.

Help, I have no Power….

Help, I have no Power….

I can’t promise that this is going to be an exciting read. I’ll do my best, but, unless you’re a complete electrical nerd, this is probably not going to really light your fire.

However, it may get you out of a tight spot in an emergency, and save you alot of money. Faced with a sudden loss of power,  many people, understandably,  panic and call out an electrician, when, with a little knowledge & patience, they can sort the issue themselves. 

What is an RCD?

It helps you know why we have an RCD, or Residual Current Device. Its a safety device which is now, fortunately, pretty common in most domestic electrical supplies.

If you’re not sure whether you have one, it should look something like this:

There will usually be a small reset button on it, sometimes red, yellow, blue or black – basically down to manufacturer’s preference. This button should have TEST written somewhere near it. As the name suggests, this button allows you to test that the RCD trips. 

It will either have RCD, RCCB or RCBO written on it. 

How does an RCD work?

An RCD measures the current in the circuits that it controls. It measures the current leaving and returning. If there is an imbalance, it assumes that some of the current has leaked out and is causing a danger. (Leaking current could be going into an object that you may touch, such as metallic light fitting, or into you, because you are laready touching it). This is generally regarded as a very bad thing.

The current is immediately (or, at least within a few milliseconds) switched off and there is no longer any power.

This bascially means that you won’t be electrocuted, and is therefore a very good thing.

How do I reset an RCD?

RCDs are designed to be reset. Sometimes they trip for no apparent reason. They can be tripped by a lightbulb blowing. It isn’t always an indication of a problem. 


Nerd alert….

Just as an aside that you can happily skip until another day…. the number of electronic pieces of equipment that we have in our houses these days is creating a problem for older style RCDs. Electronic equipment often leaks a bit more current to earth than these RCDs, can deal with, so we are likely to get more nuisance RCD tripping than we used to. This is being addressed by the introduction of new types of RCD that can identify this kind of earth leakage. These are now being installed in new installations as a matter of course. However, if you have an older type of consumer unit, and you are getting regular RCD tripping, it may be time to call in an electrician to help you deal with it).


Anyway, back to the real reason we’re here…..

If the lever on an RCD is in the DOWN position, it is OFF. To reset it, the lever simply needs to be pushed back UP.

Useful tip: For some RCDs, it is necessary to push the lever fully downwards before it will let you push it back UP and reset.

In many cases, this will be fine. The RCD will reset and all will be well.  You can now stop reading, pat yourself on the back & go and put the kettle on.

My RCD won’t reset. What should I do?

When I am called to a house where an RCD keeps tripping, this is the first question I ask:

What happened just before the RCD tripped?

It probably seems obvious, but when you’re dealing with what seems like an emergency, we often miss the obvious. Let’s face it. RCDs don’t trip when you have time to deal with them, they choose the most inopportune moments, such as when you’e about to put the turkey in the oven on Christmas Day, or when the kids are filthy dirty from some sporting activity, and need to get into the bath. The pressure is on, and you don’t have time to think.

If you were in the house when the RCD tripped, ask yourself what happened just before the RCD tripped. If you had just turned the Kettle on, or switched on the Iron or (common culprit) Hair-straighteners, there’s a possibility that this may be the cause of the problem.  Do the obvious thing, and fully unplug the Kettle/Iron/Hair-straighteners and reset the RCD. (i.e switch off and remove the plug from the socket).

If the RCD resets and stays reset, then you have probably found your culprit. 

The problem appliance can be dealt with in slower time. You have power, so you can pat yourself on the back,  stick the kettle on (unless its the culprit) & move on. 


The next question you might want to ask yourself is….

Did I just drill through a cable?

If you just drilled through a wall and the RCD tripped, there may be a strong link between the two events. It is quite possible that you may have drilled through, or otherwise damaged a cable. If you didn’t check the positions of cables prior to drilling, you have just learnt a useful, but possibly quite expensive lesson. Its time to call in an electrician to repair the damaged cable as soon as possible. It is quite possible that the RCD will not reset until the damage has been repaired.

Next time you get the drill out, it would be worth checking out one of our other posts on the inappropriately named Electrical Safe Zones. Contrary to their name, these are areas where it is actually dangerous to drill, as they could legitimately hide cables.

If you look at the Electrical Safe Zones. post and realise that you did, in fact, drill straight into one of these safe zones, please call an electrician as soon as possible. There may be some brown scorch marks, or even a bit of smoke coming out of the hole – all signs that things are not well.

How do I identify the cause of the fault?

If neither of these scenarios applies and the RCD seems to have tripped for no reason at all, there is a straightforward procedure to follow, which in most cases will identify where the problem lies.

Stage 1:

Your Consumer Unit should be properly labelled. The RCD will be labelled and the fuses (or MCBs) controlled by it, also labelled. Hopefully it will look something like this:

Make a note of the names of the circuits which are covered by the RCD.

Firstly switch off the RCD and all the fuses (MCBs) controlled by it. All the levers should be pointing DOWN

In this case, lets imagine that RCD 2 is the problem. The circuits covered by RCD 2 are:

  • Downstairs Sockets
  • Water Heater (Probably the Boiler)
  • Upstairs Lights

Turn off all those fuses (Lever pointing DOWN). Then unplug everything that is plugged into the Downstairs Sockets.

If the Boiler is also not working, and you don’t have an immersion heater in your house, it is quite likely that the “Water Heater” circuit applies to the Boiler. If it is plugged in, pull the plug out. If it has a fused spur, then pull the fuse out of the fuse holder on the fused spur.

Stage 2:

Now, we need to identify which circuit is causing the problems.

Start with the Downstairs Sockets.

First turn on the fuse (MCB) for the downstairs sockets, and see if the RCD also stays on.

If it doesn’t stay on, check that you have definitely unplugged everything on that circuit.

  • Might there be something plugged in in a cupboard that you had forgotten about?
  • Is there an outside socket?
  • Are the lights under the kitchen cabinets run from a fused spur in the Kitchen?

It is very easy to miss something at this stage, so you may have to really rack your brains. Cooker Hoods are an easy one to miss.

If you are pretty sure that everything has been unplugged and you still can’t reset the RCD, it is time to call an electrician. This scenario (which is pretty unlikely) would suggest that there may be a problem with the wiring or something on the circuit.

If the RCD remains on, then go round and plug in each of the appliances that you previously unplugged. Switch each one on. If at any stage, the RCD trips, you have found your culprit.

If the RCD remains on while you plug everything back in, it appears that the problem isn’t on this particular circuit.

Stage 3:

Move on to the next circuit and do the same thing.

In this case, it is the boiler circuit, so it will just be a case of putting the fuse back in and switching the boiler on.

If the RCD trips at this point, there could be an issue with the boiler. Take a look to see if there are any signs of water under the boiler. A leak from a boiler onto the controls is a common cause of this kind of problem. If you suspect that this is the case, you need to call a Gas or Boiler Engineer.

Stage 4:

Finally turn on the third circuit. In this case, it is the Upstairs Lighting Circuit. To save time,  you have left all the light bulbs in their fittings. If the RCD trips when you turn the fuse (MCB) for the lights back on, take all the lightbulbs out, just in case one of them is causing a problem, and switch the Fuse back on.

If the RCD stays on, put each light bulb back into its fitting in turn. For safety’s sake, make sure that you turn the fuse (MCB) off each time that you put a bulb in, and turn it on once the bulb is in position.  If the RCD trips when you put one of the bulbs back in, then that will be your culprit.

By this stage, hopefully, you may have identified your culprit. However, if the RCD is still not resetting, or turns back on and continues to trip, then it is time to call out an electrician.

Don’t despair…..

You have already saved yourself some money. You have gone through a methodical series of tests to eliminate any obvious issues.

You can tell an electrician exactly what you have done and what the outcome was. This means that the electrician already has a lot of really useful information before they start looking themselves. Believe you me, that makes an electrician’s job an awful lot easier.

Under no circumstances should you start taking a look inside any electrical fixtures and fittings yourself. This is a very dangerous thing to do, if you don’t know what you’re doing. Let’s be honest, you probably wouldn’t know if you were looking at a problem anyway, so why put yourself at risk?

Plumbing issues are generally pretty easy to see – dripping water is pretty visible, & gives you an immediate clue about where to start looking.

Electrical issues are a lot more difficult to find. Electrical fault finding is very like detective work. Any clues that you, as the householder can give, will speed the process up, and ultimately save you money.