40A RCD serves up to 4 breakers
63A RCD serves up to 8 breakers
If like many of my customers your fuseboard has been upgraded, it will consist of rows of circuit breakers. Each row will be protected by an RCD which will be the larger size switch, normally at the start of the row on the left. An RCD is a Residual Current Device use for protection/earth [as per picture below]
Next door to the fuseboard is an independent box the main switch, the property of your energy supplier – see picture with the words 30/45/60A and in a glass window, ever so small, you will see a number either 30, 45 or 60A and this tells you the amount of supply you have coming into your premises. [as per picture below]
40A RCD serves up to 4 breakers
63A RCD serves up to 8 breakers
Over many months I have received calls from customers who have experienced regular tripping of the RCD which would suggest that an upgrade from 40 to 63A is recommended. And on subsequent follow ups, this has often been the case. As always, if in doubt, speak to a qualified electrician.
As of 1st January 2018 new energy efficiency regulations regarding electric heating have been introduced. Lot 20 legislation states that space heaters for sale in the EU will need to adhere to these new laws or be axed.
Lot 20 is a piece of legislation that most people have not heard of but massively effects the manner in which electric heaters are produced. It has been introduced by the European Ecodesign Directive which governs all energy using products including lighting, washing machines, vacuum cleaners to gas boilers and solid fuel burners. These are split into several 'lots' and Lot 20 applies to local space heaters including storage heaters, electric radiators, radiant heaters and underfloor heating to name a few.
Many heaters now include smart technology to help reduce energy consumption, electronic time and temperature controls, open window sensing technology, predictive start functionality and remote app based control. Old non compliant radiators can still be sold after 1st January 2018 provided they were manufactured before this date.
The use of electric heaters are still popular for home owners in France, French and non French alike. So for the home owner if you are thinking of upgrading or adding electrical heating to your home, use this information to help guide you, so that you are aware of what the legislation is and the choices that are available to you.
New products to the market will have price increases but the long term use of them, should see consumption being used effectively and therefore not compromise your bills.
For more information regarding this directive, please visit this English site https://www.lot20.co.uk/
When customers are not living in France full time and have commissioned work to be carried out they need peace of mind that the job is going to be done in their absence.
I have recently finished an electrical job at L'Isle Jourdain, Vienne  for a client who divides time between France and the UK. I initially was asked to provide a devis for the work via a team of builders who I have worked with before and submitted the devis to the client which was accepted shortly after submitting. The work commenced with the client the other side of the Channel and was more than happy for me to liaise with her designated key holder along with other trades who were on site.
The property was a typical older French property which didn't not comply to current NF normes. When clients are not here full time I take photos of the work that I am doing and then share to either dropbox or google drive so that they can see exactly what I have done, as per the devis submitted. Regular updates help me keep in mind any considerations or suggestions I need to make as the job goes along.
This particular job continued right up to Christmas and the New Year. With other works continuing, such as installation of the heating system, it meant working on site was cold, as working alongside a plumber who was installing the central heating system. A lovely job to do with no real challenges other than the fact initially it was a 3 phase installation but when EDF came along for some strange reason they had made it single phase, so modifications had to be made to accommodate single phase installation.
The job was completed on time and with the detailed photographic work, the client was more than happy with the results. I shall look forward to returning in the Spring to work on new recommendations that I have made.
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Despite Brexit I was fortunate enough to benefit from a number of house purchasers who made contact with me to provide electrical devis. Subsequently the autumn and winter months for Paul Wilkins Electricien was extremely busy in the Deux Sevres and departments 16 and 86 bordering.
As with many older French properties, many lack earthing which predominantly helps make the electrical installation safer, along with updates to fuseboards and circuits to service clients needs and appliances in their homes.
I closed 2016 with a couple of ongoing rewires for habitats where clients have gone all out in redesigning their homes and have enjoyed working with many building teams [it can be lonely working on your own, but my new Bosch 360 Professional PowerBox Jobsite Radio will keep me company]. Plus enquiries where clients want to concentrate on outside garden lighting, and entertaining areas where outbuildings are being turned into bars.
Here's to another successful year of keeping homes electrically safe,
As a registered and insured tradesman myself, I hear lots of horror stories from customers and potential customers who have experienced unpleasant circumstances. As a registered and insured tradesman I have no qualms in presenting any details to any customer. For me, I want a customer to feel that they can do business with me that is legal.
When you are seeking the services of a tradesman the likelihood is that you will ask for recommendations from people that you know or from your local magazine. Don't take these at face value. There are a number of obligations that you need to consider before anyone crosses your threshold and commences work, as there are serious implications for the homeowner should you choose to use unregistered or uninsured trades people on your premises.
There are a number of sites that you can visit to check siret numbers :
However, please note that these sites will only provide details of the main and primary activity and not any subsequent activities. If in doubt, feel free to call your local Chambre de Metier and ask them to verify what they are registered as, or enquire with your local Mairie.
Don't be afraid to ask to see attestation or confirmation of the relevant insurances attributed to trades. Who is the insurance with? Are payments up to date? We all know France loves a law and insurance. Each activity needs to have the corresponding insurance. Insurance for one activity does not cover for all. Please note that there is difference between public liability insurance and decennale insurance and some trades are required to have both. If you have doubts, eliminate them from your research.
Artisan tradesman are required to have decennale insurance and a carte professionnelle – this provides confidence to a potential customer that they have had their qualifications verified by the Chambre de Metier and are appropriately insured. Plus artisan tradesmen are not allowed to register additional activities. For example as a registered artisan electrician you won't see me offering to cut your grass.
Devis and factures will need to show siret number and insurance details, these are recent requirements, so if you don't see this on any paperwork, again feel free to eliminate from your research.
Devis should be clear and set out exactly what will be done. Do not sign a devis until you are happy that everything you want done is included. There should be no hidden surprises between devis and facture. Be clear about when works are to commence, particularly when there are a number of trades involved.
A reputable tradesman will ask for a deposit or materials to be paid.
A reputable tradesman will clearly state how future payments are to be made.
A reputable tradesman will not insist on being paid cash.
A reputable tradesman will happily give you references of customers that you can contact if you request to do so.
A reputable tradesman will have more than just a mobile number to be contacted on.
It is not unusual to seek 2 or 3 devis and a reputable tradesman will be aware of that. You as a customer should be able to ask questions and feel confident about who you are dealing with, as ultimately they will be working in your home and you will be paying them. So any doubts or concerns you have eliminate them from your research.
Always work with a reputable tradesman, there are serious implications as a home owner should an unregistered or uninsured or not appropriately insured tradesman be working in your home. Should an accident or death take place in your home, you as the home owner will bear some responsibility.
Should you wish to sell your house you may be asked by the Notaire to provide invoices for major works that have been carried out within a certain timespan. If you are unable to do this, you may find yourself footing a bill should something untoward happen in the future once your home is sold.
The last couple of months have been busy for Electricien Anglais En France with the van clocking up some miles. Here’s a round up of electrical works carried out in April and May.
Bouin 79: Installation of new time clock for swimming pool pump.
Chaignepain 79: Start of full rewire for new purchasers. Overhaul of electrics to blend with customers needs.
Fontenille 79: Corrective works for new house purchase. Diagnostic report had identified a number of corrective works.
La Gours 16: Start 1st fix installation for ongoing project.
Lezay 79: Kitchen sockets for kitchen for one customer and installation of separate cooker feed for another. Another customer wanted lighting and extractor fan installed for new bathroom.
Loize 79: Connecting extractor fan and new outside lighting for one customer and connected an additional satellite feed installed additional sockets and phone points.
Lusseray79: Client had new kitchen fitted and wanted lighting and circuits updated.
Montalembert 79: New external supply for workshop and install required number of sockets and lighting.
Paizay Le Tort 79: Conversion of barn into bedroom with en suite. Installing lighting, sockets and heater outlets.
St Martin L’Ars 86: New feed for hot water boiler. Initial visit also identified lack of earth rod, so new earth supply installed plus replacement of VMC unit.
Tillou 79: Barn converted into new lounge area. Wiring for sockets and wall lighting plus adding new circuits to garage, outside lighting and pond pump. Regular visits to another Tillou based client for lighting repairs and additional lights and sockets.
Electricien Anglaise En France is definitely keeping homes electrically safe!!
These brief blogs are brought to you by Paul Wilkins of Paul Wilkins Electricien.