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  • How to Measure Your Pond

    Pond Volume Calculations 

    A common issue that customers have when they are trying to decide which pond pump, filter and aerators to use in their pond is how to measure their ponds. You may have been taught these calculations at school, but you didn't imagine you would have a fish pond then and certainly didn't pay attention! Here is a simple guide to help you measure your pond accurately enough to work out the capacity of your pond in litres.  Continue Reading

  • A Guide to Bathroom Zones

    A Guide to Bathroom Zones

    The IET 17th Edition BS7671:2008 wiring regulations stipulate that electrical equipment must only be used in certain “zones” of a bathroom as defined by their IP rating. An IP rating for an electrical product indicates its level of protection from the ingress of foreign objects or water. The bathroom zones are designated by their distance from showers, baths, sinks and any other washing device that splashes water. The regulation does not apply to emergency facilities, e.g. emergency showers used in industrial areas or laboratories. Continue Reading

  • IP Ratings

    IP Ratings


    The IEC protection code (International Protection IP)

    The IP codes are used to define protection against the ingress of solid foreign objects and water with harmful effects. The protection against the ingress of solid foreign objects is also used as a means of specifying protection against accidental contact with live parts and therefore serves two different but related purposes. Continue Reading

  • Electrical & Electronic Symbols

    Electrical & Electronic Symbols

    Continue Reading

  • A Guide to Dimmer Switch Selection

    What Dimmer Switch do I need?

    A very common problem that faces the enthusiastic home decorator and even seasoned electrician is which dimmer switch is correct for my lights? There are so many out there with different wattages and fancy names that for even technically minded people, this area can become a bit of a mine field. Continue Reading

  • Basic Electrical Equations

    Watts, Volts & Amps

    The most commonly used equation in electrics is the relationship between Watts, Volts and Amps. This can be displayed in a simple triangular reference diagram:

    Continue Reading

  • Electrical Units & Definitions

    Electrical Units Table

    Continue Reading

  • Air Purifiers Can Help Prevent Migraines


    Take the “pain” out of Migraines!

    If you are a sufferer then you will know how debilitating migraines can be, but did you know that it could be the air in your environment, either at work or at home that is causing them?

    That’s where Air Purifiers can help. If you feel like you have tried everything but with little success, then why not consider an Air Purifier from Air Con Hut? If your migraine is triggered by substances in the air of your surrounding environment,  an Air Purifier can help alleviate the problem by eliminating a potentially major irritant of your pain.

    Scent and strong fragrances can often be a trigger and one that can be hard to avoid in many situations, as it is often the result of someone around us.  Research indicates that scent induced headaches are a reaction of blood vessels in your nasal passage caused by the offending scent – this affects our circulation, which eventually brings on a headache. For scent induced headaches or migraines we recommend an Air Purifier with a carbon filter. The active carbon filter is highly absorbent, trapping any strong odours, gases and large dust particles in the air which cause your air to smell stale.

    However if the trigger for your headaches is mostly from breathing indoor allergens such as dust and mould spores then we recommend an Air Purifier with a high efficiency filter like an  Air Purifier with a HEPA filter and ioniser . Chronic head pressure brought on by nasal allergies and sinus congestion can be helped significantly just by introducing an Air Purifier with a HEPA filter and ioniser to your environment, as it reduces both strong odours and potentially headache triggering dust and pollen particles. Even if you are not quite sure what triggers your headaches, these type of Air Purifiers make a great solution as they will eliminate most airborne triggers.

    If you are suffering from these types of migraines then why not consider an Air Purifier from the Delonghi range at Air Con Hut?

    Delonghi have developed a range of intelligent and stylish Air Purifiers suitable for varying room sizes of up 40 meters squared. The Delonghi Air Purifiers can even monitor the quality of the air in your room. Delonghi models AC150 & AC230 have a visual colour indicator – orange for poor, green for moderate and blue for optimal air quality, so you can visibly see the quality of your air improving. The Delonghi Air Purifier range also have a multi-stage filtration sensor system, which improves air quality by removing particles large and small. The multi-level filtration system can remove things like pet hair, human hair and dander, invisable dust and gases, smoke and odours. At Air Con Hut prices start from just £159.00.

    Tired of the pain? Then this could be just what you need to aid in the prevention of your environmentally caused headaches and migraines. Browse our range of Air Purifiers at Air Con Hut now, by clicking here - Take me to the range at Air Con Hut.

  • How To Become An Electrician [infographic]

    Jobs in the trades are becoming more and more popular again, which is fantastic news! As the electrician's mate, here at QVS Direct, we're always interested in trying to help those in the trade or those looking to break into it for the first time. However, we know that it can be a little confusing to begin with - how do you train? What qualifications do you need? Should you get an apprenticeship? These are all questions which need to be answered, plus plenty more, so we've done just that!

    We've put together an invaluable infographic with links to a whole host of useful articles and websites, which should provide all the information you need to get started as an electrician, and then some essential advice for when you've finally got your foot in the door. So take a look at the graphic below, and good luck on your journey to what can be a very rewarding and lucrative career.

    Wherever you see the little lightbulb symbol, hover your mouse over to learn more...

    Use the code below to share this image on your site

    So you think being an electrician might be the right job for you? It’s a very rewarding career and will teach you some invaluable skills that people will always be in need of. It’s also the highest paid of all the trades, with the average electrician’s salary clocking in at just over £30,000, so there’s plenty of money to be made as well, particularly if you start up your own business.

    And don’t think that this is just a job for the boys - being an electrician is a job for anyone, men and women. So whoever you are, there’s potential to have a lucrative and rewarding career.

    So how do you become an electrician? That’s what we’re here to tell you, detailing all the important information you need to know, from deciding whether it’s the right career for you right through to starting your very own electrical contracting business.

    How to train as an electrician


    Is an electrician the right career for you?

    The first thing you need to decide is whether being an electrician is the right move for you. It won’t suit everybody, but it’s definitely a career that can appeal to a wide range of people.

    There are some relatively simple questions you can ask yourself to get a rough idea as to whether you might be suited to being an electrician. Do you like working with others? Are you physically healthy? Are you good with your hands? Do you have a problem with physical labour? Do you have good vision? Are you OK with heights? If you can answer those positively, then there’s no real reason why you can’t become an electrician.

    Extra reading:
    Should I Become an Electrician?
    Is an Electrician a Good Career Choice?
    10 Reasons Why You Should Become an Electrician

    Understanding the industry

    Before you embark on your career as an electrician, it’s wise to understand the basics of the industry so you have a better idea of the direction you want to go in, and so you have a clue what people are talking about within the industry.

    It would be sensible to read up on basic electronics so you get your head round some of the terminology and you’re not starting from scratch. It would also be worth understanding the different types of electrician you could become and what each job entails. For example, do you know the difference between an installation electrician and an instrumentation electrician? You will likely have to start from the same point and then branch out further down the line in your desired direction, but it’s good to have an idea at this stage what’s available to you.

    Extra reading:
    Basic Electronics
    Electrician Job Profile
    What Types of Electrician are There?

    Find an electrician course

    Now we move onto actually training to be an electrician, and one way of doing this is by going on an electrician course. There are a wealth of training providers online but you need to be a little wary about who you go with as some may not offer the correct qualifications. As a rule, always go with someone that offers City & Guilds qualifications as they’re well respected.

    You can also get in touch with any local colleges in your area, as they also might run their own courses, or may be able to point you in the right direction. You may also be able to apply for funding to train, which will help with the costs.

    Extra reading:
    Choosing an electrical training provider
    How to find a good online electrician course
    Can you get a bursary to become an electrician?


    Get an electrician apprenticeship

    The alternative to going on a course is to get an electrician apprenticeship. For those who don’t know what an apprenticeship is, it’s essentially where you learn on the job rather than going on a course - plus you earn while you’re doing it. They’re funded by the Government for those aged 16-18, so won’t cost you a thing, and you’ll work towards getting the necessary qualifications.

    There are various places that run electrical apprenticeships, from small startups to huge international companies. Have a search around the internet but, again, be wary of those that may not be all they claim. Once you choose a place to do an apprenticeship, ask lots of questions - what qualifications will you get? Can they provide references for other apprentices?

    Extra reading:
    Why choose an apprenticeship?
    What to expect as an electrician apprentice
    7 Tips for applying for an electrical apprenticeship
    What are the benefits of doing an electrical apprenticeship?

    Get the right qualifications

    There are certain qualifications that you should aim to get so that you’re recognised within the industry. There are various qualifications you can take, and it can be a little confusing, but any decent course or mentor on an apprenticeship will help you. Again, just be careful which qualifications some course claim to offer - some will be next to useless, so ensure you’re getting the ones you really need.

    Extra reading:
    What qualifications do I need to become an electrician?

    Register with the appropriate authorities

    While you’re training or once you’ve qualified, you’ll need to register with the appropriate authorities. This will help to prove you’re qualified, as well as provide invaluable help and advice, as well as essential things like insurance. There are also various other groups and organisations that might be worth be a part of - again, any course tutor or mentor will help you choose what you should be a part of.

    Extra reading:
    Get an ECS card
    Join NICEIC
    Join the NAPIT
    Why Join SELECT


    What to do once you’re an electrician


    Get insured

    Insurance is absolutely essential for any electrician, whether you’re operating as a business or self-employed. There is a range of insurance options available that cover you, anyone working for you, the property you’re working on, your tools & vehicles, and much more. Do some in-depth research about the insurance you need, and don’t skimp on it - the last thing you want is to make a mistake and then have to fork out a huge sum of money.

    Extra reading:
    A quick guide to insurance for electricians
    What is covered in business insurance for electricians?

    Find your first job as an electrician

    So you’ve completed your course or your apprenticeship has come to an end, and now it’s time to get your foot on the employment ladder and get a job. Some apprenticeships may offer you a job once you finish, but there’s no requirements for them to do so. As with any other job, you will likely have to craft a CV and attend job interviews - just don’t be disheartened if you don’t get something straight away; it’s all good experience. There are plenty of job sites online you can search for electrician jobs, or you could take the initiative and contact some local businesses to see if they’re looking to employ anyone.

    Extra reading:
    Seven tips for getting started as an electrician
    How to write the best electrician’s CV
    Electrician job interview tips
    Top tips for your first day on the job

    What tools do you need as an electrician?

    Of course you’ll the right tools for the job, so make sure you’re fully equipped for the job at hand. Hopefully you’ll have learned what tools you need on your course or apprenticeship, and so you may well have already accumulated a good selection. Decent tools aren’t cheap though, which is why tools insurance is important.

    Extra reading:
    Nine basic electrical tools that every electrician needs
    Definitive electrician tools of the trade

    Develop your skills even further

    Just because you’re qualified and have secured a job, it doesn’t mean that’s the end of things. As an electrician, you’re always learning, even if you’ve been at it for years, and so you need to constantly be looking at the latest technology, whether there are any other qualifications you can apply for, and even what your competitors are up to - don’t get left behind!

    Extra reading:
    How to become a better electrician
    How to better yourself as an electrician

    Start up your own electrical business

    Many electricians, once they’ve found their feet in the industry, like to start up on their own. It can be tough to begin with, but it’s much more lucrative to have your own business than to work for someone else. There’s a tremendous amount to think about - it’s much more than just setting up a Facebook page and of you go - and it can cost a fair bit initially, but you may be able to get financial help from the bank. You’ll also need to think about insurance, registering your company, accounting, whether you’ll be employing anyone, and much more.

    Extra reading:
    Guide to starting an electrician business
    Starting an electrical contracting business
    5 ways to grow your electrical business

    We hope that our guide on how to become an electrician and the extra reading resources will help you on your way to becoming a fully qualified electrician!

  • 24+ Loans, A Helping Hand for Apprenticeships

    Recently, TradeSkills4U contributed evidence to The House of Commons' Select Committee Department for Business, Innovation and Skills Debate on Apprenticeship Funding. With this evidence, TradeSkills4U suggested that those over 24 and on "Apprenticeship Vocational Courses" should be able to secure student loans just as much as those who go to university.

    As a result of the debate and TradeSkills4U's contribution, apprentices can now look forward to having the cost of their courses covered by a loan. The 24+ loans will become available next month (August 2013) and those who are on or looking to start their Level 3 2365 Diploma in Electrical Installations can expect the loans to help them towards paying all or some of their course fees. Students will only start to repay the loan after they are earning more than £21,000 or above for themselves out in the workplace. The repayments are worked out at a percentage of the earnings that a person makes above £21,000, so for example, if you earn £22,000, you will pay back £7 per month.

    This option has not only been welcomed by students, but also by potential employers, as Managing Director, Carl Bennett points out, "Apprenticeships are a great way to learn, however, the reality is that too few employers are able to take on an apprentice. Our experience of training mature students shows those who can self fund their education can then enter the electrical workforce as a trainee, work their way up and complete their NVQ at a later stage. These students are much more attractive to employers as they arrive armed with a set of skills that makes them far more useful than someone with no training whatsoever".

    If you are 24 or older when your chosen course starts, you can apply for loans to help with your vocational course as long as it starts between the 1st August 2013 and 31st July 2014. If you would like any further information on the 24+ Loans or TradeSkills4U, follow the links at the bottom of the article.


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