Loft Conversion Electrics in Wakefield
If you have been considering a loft conversion in Wakefield, then one thing you need to make sure you get right from the start are your loft conversion electrics.
Electricals are often overlooked among the more visual aspects of loft conversion works (such as roof windows or the decor).
However if you fail to properly plan out your loft conversion electrics then you may face problems further down the line.
Particularly as the electrics need to be installed early in your project, it is worth spending some time to make sure you get this aspect right.
In our latest blog post we look over the things you should consider before starting out on your loft conversion journey. We’ll also enlighten you about the couple of things that no one ever tells you before you start on with your loft project!
These is the complete guide based on what our customers have required and requested during our works completing Loft Conversion Electrics in Wakefield, West Yorkshire.
What Electrics Do I Need in A Loft Conversion?
Before diving into the building stage of the conversion, or allowing your contractor to begin, you should spend a little time thinking about how you intend to use your new space.
As previously mentioned, the electrics generally need installing at the start of the build. Cables and backboxes need sinking into walls prior to plastering and painting.
If you change your mind once the walls have been plastered, altering positions or adding new sockets can make a serious mess.
This would more than likely require that particular section of the walls to be plastered again. Hence the need to get it right first time.
The best thing to do is to sit down and plan out what electrical points you need and whereabouts you need them.
Loft Conversion Sockets
Sockets are the usual part of any electrical installation that people think of.
Whilst it may seem obvious, choosing the locations of the sockets within your loft can sometimes feel a little confusing.
If you have a clear idea of what you intend to use your loft conversion for, this will help you decide on socket placement.
We can offer advice on general placement, however this really depends on your own personal requirements for your particular loft conversion electrics.
A couple of things worth considering with regards sockets in your new room:
- Behind furniture or visible? – Some people like their sockets to be easily accessible, in which case they are better to be placed where they will not be covered by furniture. Alternatively, others prefer their sockets to be behind units and furniture, keeping a clean, uncluttered look.
- Number of sockets – again, whilst it may seen obvious, it is worth seriously considering how many sockets you may need. Adding additional sockets later is often messy and awkward. Bearing in mind just how many things require plugging in these days, it is often wise to overestimate the number you will need.
- Do you need USB sockets? – although not imperative that you decide this up front, some USB sockets require deeper backboxes and thus it is often best discussed with your electrician before the project begins in order to ensure that the correctly sized socket backboxes are fitted
- Are you having wall mounted TVs? – if you intend on fitting any wall mounted TVs (or even items such as SONOS speakers) then suitably placed sockets are a must. It is no good mounting your TV to the wall for a neat finish only to have to run cables down to sockets. Having sockets behind the TV (or again, other wall mounted items) will provide a much neater finish.
Lighting in Loft Conversions
Lighting your newly converted loft should be given more thought than just a quick light fitting in the middle.
Again, this is hugely dependent on what you intend to use the loft for.
Bedrooms often look best with mellow mood lighting. If you intend on using your new loft space as an office or something different then it may pay dividends to consider something brighter.
One thing that is always worth giving extra consideration to is the light switches and their placement. If you have to climb a flight of stairs to enter your loft (as indeed most will), then 2 way switching should be installed.
To illustrate what this means, imagine a regular light switch. You want to ascend the stairs to your newly converted loft bedroom at night. You turn the lights on at the bottom of the stairs but now you are at the top you cannot turn them off again. You would have to turn them off at the bottom and climb the stairs in darkness.
The same would apply if the switch was at the top. You could turn the lights on but then when you descend the stairs they would have to remain on until you return, unless of course you want to go down the stairs in darkness. Not ideal….
2 way switching, as fitted to most household stairs enables you to actuate the lights at either end of the stairs.
A modern alternative, and one which is gaining more popularity, is that of using “smart” light switches. These are interconnected with the internet and are usually controlled via an app on your smart phone.
Again, it would be wise to discuss your intentions on switching with your electrician “up front”, as it were. 2 way switching requires extra wires installing and some smart switches require a neutral feed to the light switch (again, something which your electrician may not do by default). Planning ahead for future usage is really crucial if you want to get the absolute upmost from your loft conversion electrics
Electric Heating for your Loft Conversion
Many homes are now fitted with gas fired central heating. There is no denying that this is generally more efficient than electric sources of heating.
However there are certain instances where extending your existing central heating into your new loft conversion may not be possible.
Perhaps your existing boiler is not powerful enough to run an extra radiator or two. Or potentially the pipework run may be particularly awkward and not practical.
It might even be that you are having an en-suite in the loft conversion and want some underfloor heating to keep the tiles warm for your feet
If you do need electric heating in your new room, then this should be planned up front (you might be noticing a theme here!).
Electric heaters often require their own dedicated circuit. This can sometimes be problematic due to difficult cable runs back down to the main consumer unit, or simply that your consumer unit doesn’t have enough spare space.
Again, prior planning with your electrician can work wonders here, ensuring that your new loft is toasty warm without any electrical problems.
What Doesn’t Normally Get Considered With Loft Conversion Electrics?
Whilst you may have already considered the sockets and lights you intend to have in your loft conversion, there are a number of other electrical items that often get forgotten about.
Failing to consider the following items can often lead to problems down the line. Again, once the conversion is completed, it can be difficult to retrofit these electrical items without damaging the wall finishings and requiring plastering and redecoration.
If your loft is currently housing any renewable electrical equipment, then you should consider upgrading these to use energy & battery storage devices, such as those from Greenbuild Energy
Loft Conversion? Don’t Forget Smoke Alarms!
If you intend on having your new space as an extra bedroom, then it’s likely to require signing off by building control after it had been completed. If not then you will still need to complete the work to building regulation standards.
As part of the latest building regulations, automatic smoke detection will require installing as part of your loft conversion electrics in Wakefield.
This will extend further than just your loft though, as the smoke detection system will need to “cover the escape route” and thus parts of your home which are likely not being renovated.
If we take a regular 2 storey house as an example: this would generally require a smoke alarm in the new loft room, one on the 1st floor landing and then an alarm in the entrance hallway.
Obviously properties differ greatly and as such your requirements may vary. Some properties have their escape route through rooms, living room or kitchen. In this case these rooms would need covering with a smoke alarm.
The current requirement in the building regulations is for these smoke alarms to be mains powered and interlinked.
They can either be either “hard wired” interlinked or radio interlinked. Hard wired is often cheaper, however running the interlink cable between them can sometimes cause disruption to your decoration (again this being in areas of your house perhaps not otherwise affected by the loft conversion).
The installation of mains powered smoke alarms can provide huge safety benefits to the entire house, giving your family crucial extra time to evacuate should a fire break out.
If the alarms are “hard wire” interlinked then they will need their own dedicated circuit. If they are radio interlinked, these can be powered from the lighting circuits in the respective rooms affected.
Ethernet & Data Cabling
If you intend to use your extra room as another bedroom this may not be as important to you. However if you are thinking of using it as an office or work space, quality internet access can be crucial.
As most routers are located alongside the BT master socket, this means many are downstairs.
If your home has particularly tall ceilings, multiple storeys, or is of older construction (which generally means thicker walls), the WIFI signal could struggle to reach up into the loft.
If quality connection and download speeds in your loft are important to you, then you should definitely consider having ethernet cables installed.
This can provide you with a faultless connection to the router (and to the internet) and will ensure that you aren’t left buffering or struggling to download.
It is easy enough for your electrician to install these as part of your loft conversion electrics, however note that there may well be disruption in other rooms which might not have been part of the conversion itself.
Fuse Board / Consumer Unit
If your property has an older fuse board then it is highly likely to require upgrading as part of the project.
The reason behind this is that the installation of any new electrical wiring will have to meet the latest wiring regulations.
As it currently stands, almost all circuits require RCD protection now when being installed.
As such, if your older board does not have RCD protection, expect an upgrade of this to be part of your loft conversion electrical installation.
It will, however, not only provide safety for the circuits affected by the loft conversion, but will also seriously upgrade the safety of the rest of the electrics within your house.
If your property does already have a modern consumer unit with in built RCD protection then this won’t apply to you.
Planning Loft Conversion Electrical Installation
The conversion of your old, draughty loft into a new, usable space will take some planning.
Although you should always entrust the installation itself to a professional, you can help ensure that you get the absolute best results by knowing exactly what you want from your new loft.
If you already have a plan for the conversion itself, having a copy with the locations of desired electrical switches & outlets is a great idea.
It doesn’t have to be inch for inch perfect, but a rough idea of what you want and where you want it really helps the electrician. That’s not to say that your electrician won’t help you decide, but ultimately it is your space and you know best how you intend to use it.
The plan can be updated/revised after discussing with your electrician if needs be, so don’t worry too much about the technicalities!
Drawing out your requirements onto a plan can also help you to visualise the layout a bit better and could help you decide on other parts of your loft conversion electrics.
Who Should Complete My Loft Conversion Electrics in Wakefield?
Some people employ single companies who profess to take care of the entire process of converting your loft.
This may seem like the easy option, however having just one point of contact means you may not be speaking to the professional who will actually be fitting your electrical installation.
Due to this, you could miss out on their expert advice during the design stage. This advice can be crucial when helping decide what you need and where you’d like it fitting.
It also makes it more difficult for you to ensure that quality tradespeople are being used throughout.
Sadly a lot of “one stop shop” companies employ subcontractors on very low money which can in turn reflect on the quality of the installation you receive.
Remember, over 90% of your electrical installation is effectively “invisible” behind walls and under floors. You need to ensure that you are using trades you can trust. (This goes further than just the electrics too, other trades play a huge rule in the finished article!)
Whoever completes your loft conversion electrics should be a fully qualified, insured and registered electrician. Before allowing anyone to begin electrical works on your property, you must always check their credentials on the Registered Competent Person website by clicking here.
You will need to use a registered electrician as the installation of new circuits (which will be required for the loft installation) requires a Part P Building Regulations Notification.
Expert in Loft Conversion Electrics in Wakefield
If your loft conversion is in Wakefield or the surrounding areas then ElectricBlu Contractors are local specialists in this field of works.
ElectricBlu Contractors are Part P Approved Contractors. This means we can self certify our works. All installation work is covered by a 6 year, no-quibble warranty against defects in workmanship.
We have an enviable reputation in the local area for domestic project works such as these and invite you to check our feedback online before deciding who to trust with your property and the work within.
We can help design, install and complete any ongoing maintenance or repairs that may be needed to your loft conversion electrics in Wakefield.
Loft Conversion Electrics Checklist
So, before you start on with your loft conversion take a look through our checklist. Make sure you have thought through what electrical items you need/want. If you need any further help with each item refer back to the appropriate section above.
- Light Switches
- Electric Heating (if appropriate)
- Smoke Alarm System
- Data Cabling (if appropriate)
- Fuseboard/Consumer Unit
If you do have any queries about any aspect of loft conversion electrics then please comment below and we’ll respond quickly. This way we can share any other pointers with everyone!
Thanks for taking the time to read
Regards, James – ElectricBlu Contractors
Expert Loft Conversion Electrics in Wakefield, West Yorkshire