There are numerous potential electrical hazards in your home. We have listed some of them along with some simple suggestions to keep your home a safer place.
Flexible leads – what condition are they in? Damaged insulation increases the risk of the cable overheating and catching fire. It also increases the risk of electric shock. If the cable is damaged, replace it.
Hanging pictures on walls or partitions – without hitting pipes or cables. Hitting a live cable with a drill or nail is dangerous and could cause an electric shock, a fire or burns.
Do not drill holes or fix nails in walls or partitions where you are unsure what is behind the plaster. A cable and pipe detector can help you identify where cables and metal pipes lie in the wall.
Making electrical equipment safe – always unplug for peace of mind. Simple maintenance, like changing a belt on the vacuum cleaner, should only be attempted when it’s unplugged. This prevents the risk of injury from electric shock, hot or rotating parts. If parts have become hot while running, let them cool before you touch them.
Just use your common sense and follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Electric shavers plugged into shaver sockets, which comply with the relevant British Standards, may be used safely. But don’t do it while you are taking a bath, as water and electricity don’t mix, and you might end up with a closer shave than you’d like.
Make sure the adaptor is in good condition, doesn’t get hot and has no burn marks on it. If it is damaged, replace it with a new one.
Having a separate socket for each item you want to plug in is always the safest bet.
Always use a registered electrician.
Light fittings – overheating can be dangerous. Using a bulb with a higher wattage than its light fitting can lead to overheating e.g. 100 Watt bulb in 60 Watt lighting fitting. This may result in a scorched shade, the lampholder crumbling when touched, or even fire.
Install the correctly-rated bulb and you won’t risk it overheating. You could save on electricity too. Even better, fit a low-energy bulb, which lasts around eight times longer than a normal tungsten bulb.
Always use a registered electrician to replace any damaged parts.
Damaged sockets, switches, or anything electrical – beware. These can create electric shocks, burns or worse, fire. Always check burn marks, sounds of buzzing or crackling, fuses blowing, circuit breakers tripping or excessive heat. Have a registered electrician fix it before it breaks – or worse.
Ventilation holes in electrical equipment – they are there to stop over-heating. If these slots get covered up, the equipment may catch fire. Never dry clothes by placing them over the ventilation slots of an electric heater. Wet clothes dripping onto any live electrical parts can create electric shocks and fire hazards. Always keep water away from electricity.
Never cover the back of a computer monitor. Likewise electric convector heaters when covered may overheat and cause fire. It’s simple. Keep ventilation slots open.
Pulling the plug out of a socket – there’s a right way and a wrong way. Pull the plug not the cable. That way you won’t damage or strain the wires. A loose wire may cause overheating, whereas a loose green and yellow earth wire could cause you to be electrocuted. Prevention is always better than cure. So press the socket’s switch 'off' (where there is one) grip the plug and pull it out being careful not to touch the plug's pins.