Stay Warm and Keep it Bright this Christmas with us at SparksDirect!

Christmas is a little over a month away, but many of us are already considering what present should we get for our friends, family, relatives, etc.

We at Sparks do not sell Christmas lights anymore (they can create too many problems and hazardous situations, plus there’s so many other Christmas lights you can get in other shops), but we have quite a few nice items that one could consider as a bright or warm Christmas present!

Actually, we have even reduced some prices for some particular items just for Christmas so that you would get a nice LED lamp for example but not pay an outrageous sum while doing so.

Prepare to be warmed up and brightened this Christmas with Sparks!

Stay Warm this Christmas with Sparks!

Stay Warm this Christmas with Underfloor Heating at Sparks!When we think of Christmas we’re looking forward to the Christmas holidays, when we get to spend more time at home with family and friends. When the cooking and the eating takes place it’s quite nice and warm, but what about when there’s no cooking going on, when you wake up in the morning and want to take a shower and it’s so cold in the bathroom….

There’s a solution for that, and, believe it or not, it’s not that expensive! You can make sure that your bathroom floor is nice and warm all year round, and you can have a warm kitchen floor no matter the season with the underfloor heating systems!

In particular we would recommend the Danfoss DEVImats and the now-cheaper-and-on-SALE Dimplex RTS2M. The latter comes complete with a thermostat controller to maintain a warm floor at the desired temperature, and it covers 2 square metres (that’s 4.0m x 0.5m).

Just a few of these will cover your bathroom and make you the best dad in the world! So why not keep it warm this Christmas with these underfloor heating mats!?!

Sparks helps you Keep it Bright this Christmas

LED is the word; LED is the new technology that is in constant development and improvement, and we at Sparks can recommend you some really cool LED strip lights (instead of the Christmas lights), LED table lamps, and color-changing LED strips and lamps that will keep your home bright and cool without draining your bank account on electricity!

Keep it Bright this Christmas - with the Color Changing LED Table Lamp at Sparks!For example, take a look at the Firstlight 8385CH color-changing LED table lamp with remote control: only 12W, nice for both the children and the master bedroom, offering red, green, and blue light as desired – and now available at a reduced price for a perfect Christmas present!

If you prefer a more directional yet flexible LED table lamp, the Wing 11W LED table lamps (in black or white) offer you a flexible neck lamp for re-directing the light beam where you want it to be. What’s more interesting and cool about these LED lamps (besides being available at a reduced price) is that they are simply “plug-and-play”, no transformer needed!

 the LEDK1RGB flexible LED strip light - keep it bright this Christmas!And if you’re inexplicably drawn to the DIY and just want to have a color-changing LED striplights in the house, you have to try the LEDK1RGB flexible LED strip light – a 5m adhesive LED tape for installing indoor or outdoor (it is IP65 rated). You can install it on the countertop, in your car or motorhome, on the top shelf, in the cupboard, in the window frame, indoor or outdoor – and the best part is (besides its low price) is that everything comes in the package – it’s a complete DIY RGB kit!

These are just a few of the cool Christmas presents one can offer to your family for Christmas; for more information, prices, and offers, don’t hesitate to contact us!

What Light Fittings should we Install Outdoors when it Rains and it’s Wet?

What Light Fittings should we Install Outdoors when it Rains and it's Wet?It’s raining. This is not abnormal here in the UK, especially during this time of the year, but this changes everything. Less time spent outside, more time spent indoors, and if possible, minimise the trips through the rain. Take the bus, drive, or take the train, so that your day won’t be ruined by the rain. That is, unless you love rain and you’re a hardcore outdoors person, in which case go for it!

When it rains outside and we have a wet and humid weather we need to be extra careful with what kind of lighting we use outdoors. There’s such a thing as IP rating, the international protection rating, which says what kind of lights can be used outdoors (especially in this country!).

IP44 rated light fittings are good for wall ligthing (especially if they are covered by a roof extention or something), but it is best for a light fitting to be IP65 rated, that is, to be waterproof and sealed for any dust and water particles.

So what kind of of light fittings can you use outdoors when it rains and there’s such a wet weather?

Waterproof Wall Lights for Outdoor Lighting

Waterproof Wall Lights for Outdoor Lighting - Verona V405 Black wall lightThere is a wide range of wall lights, but not all can be used outdoors; it is recommended to install a wall fitting that is at least IP44 rated so that water would not reach the electricals, or even an IP65 or IP67 waterproof fitting (to be more secure).

Also, depending on where do you want to mount the light fitting – whether by the entrance of the house, the side wall of the house, behind the house, on the garden wall, etc – there are all kinds of fittings that are suitable.

Take a look at the V405 Verona IP54 round lights in silver or black, or at the Astro Lighting IP67 rated Beam one / two LED wall lights.

For a more traditional look light fittings by the door entrance, why not try the Homefield wall lights in black, bronze, or nickel (a finish for every taste!) from Astro Lighting.

All Garden Lights need to be Rainproof!

All Garden Lights need to be Rainproof - including the RO7 LED step lightWhether to light up the entrance or the pathway, shed light on a statue or area of the garden, or simply to indicate which way is the exit of the garden, all the garden lights need to be rainproof, that is, completely IP65 or more rated.

Water just cannot – and should not – reach the electrical circuit. You can use some really nice LED deck lights and LED step lights for highlighting the side of the house, the pathway, or just for design; most of them come with the driver included and they offer a discreet light when needed (and with the shorter daylight these are very much needed!).

Take a look at the RO8, RO9, and RO7 1W LED brick lights, or at the stylish Astro Tango 1W white, black, stainless steel, or polished chrome 1W square or round lights.

And don’t forget about the spike lights and the flood lights, much needed and very useful either for alerting of the intruders or highlighting the facade!

Exterior Ceiling Lights – Stylish and IP Rated

Exterior Ceiling Lights - Stylish and IP Rated - see the Calvi exterior pendant lightThe ceiling lights used outdoor are mainly under some sort of a cover, either a roof or a porch; this allows them to be not only stylish but also have a lower IP rating. Unless the exterior ceiling lights are under direct rain or contact with water, you can safely use IP44 or even IP23 rated pendant lights or ceiling mounted lights under the right cover.

This allows you to choose from a wide range of traditional ceiling lights like the Montparnasse pendants, Calvi suspension lamps, and Galatea bronze pendants, just to name a few.

Many of them now use LED lamps, and so you can save energy (and money) when leaving the porch light on until midnight or so! Of course, you can fit these with a PIR sensor, and they will come on only when someone is actually using that area…

Installing Waterproof Lights for Outdoor

Always remember: never DIY when it comes to installing light fittings, whether indoor or outdoor. Always use a registered electrician to install or replace outdoor lights, whether wall, ceiling, ground, spike, post, recessed, or flood lights.

Also, never assume that a particular light fitting can take LED lamps – always check with the manufacturer’s specifications, and make sure the LED lamps fit that light fitting.

For any other enquiries regarding our wide range of exterior lights which can be used in a rainy weather, don’t hesitate to contact us at Sparks – or simply visit our showroom in N19 5SE, Archway, North London, UK.

Patio Heaters: What are they, How do they work, and Where are they used

Patio Heaters: What are they, How do they work, and Where are they used? See the White and Black BN Thermic Patio Heaters at SparksPatio heaters. We all have seen them and enjoyed the warmth they give out. Recently I was walking by a small restaurant in Central London when a “heat of wave” hit me. It was so pleasant to have warm air come my way, since it can be quite chilly these days.

As autumn comes in and we’re getting closer to the end of the year, the weather becomes colder and colder.

It’s time for both businesses, restaurants, cafes, night clubs, and also the home owners to consider some kind of outdoor patio heating.

At Sparks we have a great range of heating solutions, and when it comes to patio heaters we rely on BN Thermic with their HWP2 patio heaters (in white or black) to give us the warm comfort we need when we sit or do things outside on the patio.

Patio Heating from BN Thermic for both Domestic and Commercial Applications

The HWP2 range of patio heaters from BN Thermic are a stylish means of providing comfort heat in both indoor and outdoor locations. You can have a professional quality patio heater at home or in a commercial application including pub gardens, pavement cafes, golf driving ranges, and restaurants. And what’s best about this is that they are completely safe to install and to leave outdoor all year round! Here are some top reasons to use a patio heater:

  • Provide safe, instant comfort heat in outdoor locations.
  • Ensure the maximum use of outdoor facilities even during a cold weather.
  • Minimal maintenance: especially when compared to gas systems!
  • Low running costs by selecting from a range of control options.
  • Smart modern design to complement the external decor.

Typical Applications of a Patio Heater

Here are some of the most typical applications of a patio heater – both in pictures and in words.

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  • Patios – both commercial and domestic; whether at home, at the restaurant, at the shops, or at the cafe, we need to stay warm!
  • Pub gardens – why let your customers freeze while eating their lovely dinner at the pub when you can provide a warm environment for them to enjoy their meal?
  • Pavement cafes – the hot tea or coffee is not enough to make your customers warm; try a patio heater!
  • Golf driving ranges – you know where the golf players stand when they practice – why not make sure they are warm when they use the golf driving range?
  • Nightclub queuing areas – having customers complain when queuing up to get into the nightclub or club is awful!
  • Smoking areas – Maybe not all the smoking areas need heating (we need less smoking!) but at least the most popular areas need to be heated up!
  • Tube stations – see the picture above: why not heat up the tube stations or platforms with a patio heater?

How does a Patio Heater work?

According to BN Thermic, the manufacturer of the popular HWP2 patio heaters, here’s how these heaters work:

HWP patio heaters use quartz heat lamps to produce shortwave energy. This energy is directed at the required target area by a precision designed parabolic reflector. Shortwave energy moves in straight lines from the reflector to the target area without heating the air in between. However once the energy is absorbed by solid bodies, which could be objects or people, it is experienced as heat. Shortwave energy cannot be blown off course by breezes and draughts making it ideally suited to outdoor use.

As HWP patio heaters are 100% effective the instant they are switched on, there is no need to pre-warm an area. For this reason it is a good idea to use control devices that ensure that an occupied area is not heated. Typically these would be time delay switches or movement sensors. See the ‘controls’ tab for full details of the BN Thermic range of patio heater controls.

Patio Heaters – Features and Benefits

  • Ideal for outdoors: the IP55 rating allows the heater to be installed and left outdoors throughout the year.
  • Solid and safe: the construction is of aluminium with stainless steel safety grille.
  • Long life lamp: High quality halogen lamp with 7000 hours average operating life.
  • Replacing the lamp: the halogen lamp is easily replaceable.
  • Finishes: choice of black, white or silver finish.
  • Wall or Parasol mounting: Wall mounting bracket and parasol clamp supplied as standard.
  • Heat Efficient: the open fronted design provides a 25% increase in heating efficiency when compared with glass-fronted heaters.
  • Suspension: the convenient rear mounted lugs facilitate suspension.
  • Easy to control: you can simply use the patio heaters with an existing switch, or you can purchase a push button timer (2mins to 2h setting), a movement sensor (yes, they work with a PIR), or even a dimmer (0-100% heater output – how great is that!).

You can safely and securely (and warmly) purchase the HWP2 range of Patio Heaters at Sparks – see the Heating Solutions section.

Introducing MK and Hager Amendment 3 Compliant Consumer Units at Sparks

After speaking of the 3rd Amendment to the 17th Edition Regs (which comes into full application in the beginning of 2016), we need to pay attention to what kind of consumer units we install in new built properties, HMOs, or when we replace a consumer unit.

The main considerations with these new boards is the protection against thermal effects (protection against fire) for a longer period of time and the protection against electrical shock (via an RCD).

It used to be that the consumer units could use a plastic enclosure, but starting from the 1st of January 2016 ALL the consumer units installed have to be of metal and need to have an RCD protection. Most of the consumer units manufacturers came out with a range of Metal Consumer Units (RCD protected, fire proof), and in this article we would like to introduce some of the most popular ones from MK and Hager.

MK 10 Way Metal Consumer Unit (Amendment 3 Compliant) – Best Value for Money!

MK 10 Way Metal Consumer Unit (Amendment 3 Compliant) - Best Value for Money!The MK Sentry K7666sMET consumer unit is a 17th Edition Amendment 3 compliant metal board, a 16 way enclosure with 10 useable ways. It comes fully populated with 10 MCBs (3 x 6A, 2 x 16A, 4 x 32A, 1 x 40A) and it has a 100A switch disconnector. This metal consumer unit has a stylish design, curved, and it makes full use of the floating bus bar system, offering you an ample wiring space.

This unit comes in a white coloured metal and comes pre-fitted with a switch disconnector and RCD together with all the necessary split-load cabling. The flexible design allows you to position the RCD to suit the required configuration. At Sparks this MK board is now at a reduced price – it is the best Amendment 3 consumer unit value for money!

Hager Design 10 Consumer Units – Reliable and Supportive

Hager Design 10 Consumer Units - Reliable and Supportive

Hager came out with quite a few ranges of consumer units to comply with the third amendment to the 17th edition regulations, one of which is Hager Design 10. This range is designed for safety, installation, and aesthetics, and it reliable and supportive. Here are some of the key points concerning these amendment 3 compliant boards:

  1. Cable Space – Maximum cable space is available even with RCBO’s fitted to make installation easier.
  2. Terminal bar – The top mounted terminal rail makes the wiring of the neutral and earth connections neat and simple.
  3. Fixings – Multiple points allow the use of No.8 or No.10 fixings giving a range of fixing options.
  4. Full metal DIN rail – Minimised distortion to ensure the devices sit square and are not easily displaced.
  5. Snap-able busbar – Provides quick and easy configuration of circuits.

Enjoy a video presentation of this great range from Hager below:

See the entire range of Hager Design 10 – from 2 way to 20 way boards (all of them Amendment 3 Compliant and with 63A/100A switch disconnector incomer) at Sparks.

NEW: USB Sockets from Heritage Brass in Flat, Stepped, and Raised Plate!

NEW: USB Sockets from Heritage Brass in Flat, Stepped, and Raised Plate!It’s about time that Heritage Brass would get in on this, and so they did – there’s now a brand new range of USB socket wiring accessories available in the popular flat plate, stepped plate, and raised plate ranges!

More and more what is needed is not only a regular double socket in a polished chrome flat plate or a twin socket with a stepped plate finish but a USB socket (or two USB sockets if possible) on a 2 gang regular 13A socket plate.

They are becoming commonly used and installed in both public places such as universities, schools, trains, train stations, restaurants, etc and in more domestic environments, and with the rising of the number of gadgets we buy, use, and own, we can’t keep carrying the charger with us – a simple USB cable will do the trick!

Heritage Brass USB Sockets – Engraved USB Socket

The Heritage Brass USB Sockets (also called, Engraved USB Sockets) compliment the popular Elite Flat Plate, Elite Stepped Plate, and Victorian Elite (raised plate) ranges of sockets. They come in all the well-known finishes such as Polished Brass, Polished Chrome, Satin Chrome, Satin Brass, and Satin Nickel.

Besides the 2 x 13A switched sockets (with white or black insert) on the plate there’s a clear engraving: on the left it says TABLET and on the right it says PHONE. The TABLET USB socket is 2A rated and is ideal for any tablet battery charging (such as iPad, Samsung Tablet, Nexus, Sony tablets, etc).

The PHONE USB socket is on the right and is 1A rated, being ideal for most smart phone charging (be it an iPhone or an Android phone). The clear engraving on the socket makes sure you won’t mistake which USB socket to use when charging your Samsung Galaxy tab or iPad (for example) or your iPhone (or Samsung Galaxy S6 for that matter, with that fast charging).

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate range

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate rangeThe Heritage Brass Elite Flat Plate range is famous for its choice of luxurious finishes designed to complement all types of installations and interior designs, combining style with elegance in one of the most extensive ranges of high quality flat plate electrical wiring accessories available.

The USB sockets in the Elite flat plate range come with White or Black plastic inserts and use a regular 35mm back box. These USB engraved sockets complement the Elite flat plate range, coming in all the regular brass, chrome, and nickel finishes.

USB Sockets in Stepped Elite range

USB Socket in the Elite Flat Plate rangeThe Heritage Brass Elite Stepped plate is an elegant range featuring full plates with an attractive stepped edge and contemporary square profile. They are ultra-slim and are preferred sometimes to the flat plate range.

The Stepped Plate USB sockets use a 35mm back-box and come in all the popular finishes (polished / satin chrome, brass, and nickel), with a choice of black or white plastic inserts. They fully comply with the relevant standards.

USB Sockets in the Victorian Elite raised plate range

USB Sockets in Stepped Elite rangeIf you prefer neither the stepped plate nor the flat plate, the 8mm projection “raised plate” in the Victorian Elite will definitely catch your attention. This is a most attractive range of plain raised plate wiring accessories designed by M-Marcus to complement the popular Elite Flat Plate ranges.

The USB sockets in the Victorian Elite range feature a choice of elegant finishes like the polished brass, polished chrome, satin chrome, and satin nickel, and they can be used with 25mm shallow back boxes.

Where can you find the Heritage Brass USB Sockets? Just search for Heritage USB or simply USB sockets on our website and you will be presented with a wide choice of flat plate, raised plate, or stepped plate USB engraved sockets from M-Marcus.

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