Fault Finding



1    Illegal upgrades  An illegal upgrade is where the ICP (aka Power Control Switch) has been removed or bypassed. Illegal upgrades are no longer possible in properties fitted with Smart Meters. Those same properties now experience power cuts when too many powerful appliances are switched on together.

Sparks recommends always obtain a valid boletin for a legitimate upgrade


2    Over rated Circuit Breakers Cowboys and DIYers fit over rated circuit breakers to prevent nuisance tripping out problems caused by overloading. It’s a quick fix that creates a fire hazard. Always consult a qualified electrician before replacing circuit breakers.

Sparks recommends some simple rewiring to cure tripping out problems


3    Dangerous sockets – Several types of obsolete socket outlets are still in use in properties built before 2002. Some do not provide an earth connection for a modern Spanish plug and create a risk of electric shock. All socket outlets in Spanish homes should be the Schuko 16 Amp type F.

Sparks recommends check yours now


4    Dangerous light fittings installed in bathrooms – Standard light fittings are not suitable for bathrooms or shower rooms because they do not protect water and steam from direct contact with electricity. This is potentially life threatening when using the shower. Consult a qualified electrician if you are uncertain about the correct light fittings to purchase for a bathroom.

Sparks recommends light fittings rated at IP44 or higher should only be fitted in bathrooms


5    Reversed Polarity  It is not uncommon to find the live and the neutral on the main supply cable connected the wrong way round in Spanish properties. This is a major safety concern if a single pole ICP is used to turn off the electricity supply because the installation will still be live.

Sparks recommends getting your polarity checked and test your installation every 10 years


6    Nuisance Tripping – earth leakage spikes that cause power cuts by tripping out the RCD for no apparent reason.

Sparks recommends fitting a Recloser “auto-resetting” RCD


7    Inadequate power surge protection Did you know that air conditioning units are most at risk from power surges. Forget those multi-socket surge protectors, and get whole house surge protection. All electrical appliances and equipment should be fully protected from damage caused by voltage spikes and lightning storms. Surge protection should be provided by a Surge Protection Device fitted in the consumer unit that protects the whole house. 

Sparks recommends whole house surge protection


8    Air conditioning overloading – Too many air conditioning units wired to an existing circuit will cause the circuit breaker to trip out. Never allow an air con fitter to replace a circuit breaker in order to prevent this happening.

Sparks recommends wiring air conditioning units on a dedicated circuit.


9    Electric heaters overloading – This occurs when powerful oil filled electric heaters are plugged in and cause the electricity to trip out. Never upgrade the circuit breaker cure this problem, or the only heat you will get is your consumer unit going up in flames. Check out our ECOMBI heaters for a cost effective heating system.

Sparks recommends Ecombi smart heaters


10    Moving the washing machine causes the electricity to trip out – Washing machines often get moved from their original position during kitchen refits.  Washing machines, and other heavy loaded appliances (e.g. Jacuzzi, cooker, water heater, air conditioning, etc.), should be wired to a dedicated circuit directly from the consumer unit. Never allow kitchen fitters to replace circuit breakers.

Sparks recommends some simple rewiring when re-siting washing machines