Kimmy is our ‘Sparky of The Month’.
Kimmy of Kim the Electrician speaks to Zano about her entry into the trade, nightmare experiences with LED dimming and dream install.
Company: Kim the Electrician
Location: East London
Why did you become an electrician?
I was working doing admin and accounting tasks for an electrical company, when I saw how much the electricians were getting paid. It really inspired me to consider a trade career, instead of my original plan of becoming a psychologist. I worked as an apprentice on a few jobs before I committed to a course, and completely fell in love with the trade. Every day was different. It involved time in the office, typing up reports and certificates, as well as dirty onsite work and lots of mind-bending fault finding. I was intrigued from every angle.
What do you enjoy most about your job?
I enjoy the freedom as a self-employed electrician, as well as interactions with different types of people. I get to choose my hours - electricians are required around the clock, so I can work in the daytime, evening, weekends or even after midnight. I also get to interact with so many different people in their home – their sanctuary - seeing what their homes really look like behind closed doors, how they are decorated and how different people react to having a woman tradesperson in their home.
What's the most interesting job you've completed to date?
This is a very difficult one to answer, as there are so many that are all interesting in their own ways. Some of my favourite jobs have been with House Multiple Occupancy (HMO) clients. One specific property was a huge 6-bedroom Victorian home. I had to deal with the old agents and tenants, then consult with the new buyers. I also had to educate myself on the laws and regulations of the local council and their requirements to get the property up to a HMO standard.
I had to provide all the certification, install the fire alarm system with a panel, install emergency lights, complete a full rewire, create an emergency floor plan, complete a fire risk assessment, get an EPC, test all of the appliances and compile a folder for the client to pass over to the council for the HMO license approval. It was very interesting learning so many things that you can do as a tradesperson that stretches beyond your regular work.
What are the biggest challenges you face day-to-day?
The biggest challenges I personally face as a self-employed electrician, with no members of staff or assistants, is having to wear many hats. I have to ensure I do all the jobs: admin, accounts, electrician, qualifying supervisor, CEO, health and safety manager… the list goes on! Eventually, the plan to resolve this is expansion and hiring team members.
What services have been most in demand this year?
There were updates to the smoke alarm regulations, which meant a lot of landlords wanting to install smoke alarm systems in their rental properties.
Fun fact about you?
I love conspiracy theories and philosophical debates. I actually have a secret group on Instagram stories where tradies, that are interested, are added and we have some wonderful debates about life there.
How did you find out about Zano Controls?
I’ve had a history of many dimmer breakdowns, and recently had a nightmare job with installing some dimmer switches. After sharing my sob story on social media, Zano came highly recommended. It gave me some hope and I was very keen to give Zano dimmers a go!
What's the biggest LED dimming problem you've faced?
A client found me through their local wholesaler. I got their details, called them and spoke about what they would like done. A very easy job to replace x3 spotlights with dimmable ones and replace the 2-way switching system in the hallway with dimmers. Once I got on site, tested the circuit, and everything looked good, I bought some dimmable spotlight fittings and some dimmers. I installed them and had a flickering issue.
At this point, I will admit my mistake (every day is a learning day in the trades). I completely forgot that a 2-way dimmer doesn’t mean you can have two of the same dimmers together. You either need a slave/master system if you want two dimmers, or you have to settle for one dimmer and one standard switch. I blew those and had to bin them.
Following this, I tried a different brand and replaced it with just one dimmer and one standard switch. This brand was very smart - it can be programmed so that you can select your brightest and lowest setting. Unfortunately, I programmed it accidentally whilst testing functionality, so that the highest setting was quite dim. After spending hours trying to ‘factory reset’, I had no luck.
I called the brand helpline, and they told me I blew that dimmer too. Eventually, the client decided they didn’t want dimmers as it seemed to be causing so many issues. I didn’t charge the tenant for any of the dimmers as it was my fault, but I took this job as a “Course in Dimmer Switches” and decided to never accept another dimmer switch job in my life. However, after sharing this on social media, I discovered Zano and my faith in dimming solutions has been restored!
If you could rewire anyone's house, who would it be?
I would love to work in the home of my favourite artist – Wretch 32. It would be an amazing opportunity to work with someone that inspires me creatively.
Think you have what it takes to be our next Sparky of The Month? Be sure to share your installations and projects with us, and it may just be your face appearing in our next Sparky’s Corner! For any project or product enquiries, please call the team on 0345 519 5858 and we will be happy to help.