Understanding and learning what electrical hazards to look out for in your home is one of the best ways to prevent any electric shocks or fires and will protect you and your loved ones.
- Outdated or poor wiring
This is one of the leading causes of residential fires. It is important to have a qualified electrician check your home’s wiring frequently so you are aware if any wiring needs to be repaired or replaced. This test is known as an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report).
If the wiring in your home is 30+ years old you should have it inspected regularly.
You should contact your local electrician immediately if the lights in your home dim or flicker without explanation, breakers repeatedly trip or outlets feel warm or spark. These are all common signs of faulty wiring and will need investigating.
- Leaving appliances plugged-in near water sources
Should a plugged-in appliance get wet, do not unplug it!
Go to your fuse box and switch off the power source to the outlet your appliance is plugged-in to. You can then unplug your appliance safely and contact a qualified repair person to evaluate its safety.
To reduce the chance of this happening, always unplug appliances when they are not in use.
Installing a residual-current device (RCD Protection) protected outlets is an effective way to minimize the risk of electric shock or electrocution. RCD will immediately cut off power if it detects power leakage to the earth cable.
If the power outlets located near water sources in your home aren’t RCD protected, consider hiring a qualified local electrician to install them or have RCD breaker added to your main fusebox.
- Wrong wattage light bulbs for light fittings
Using a light bulb with a higher wattage than the light fitting can accommodate may overload the wiring which can cause a fire. To help avoid this hazard, use a light bulb with a wattage that is less than or equal to the maximum wattage displayed on the light fitting.
If you need a stronger, brighter light you should purchase a light fitting that uses a higher wattage.
- Unprotected electrical outlets
Young children can be curious when it comes to electrical outlets which can present a serious danger. If they put their little fingers or a toy into the outlet they can be burned, shocked or electrocuted. You can protect young children from these risks by using plastic protective enclosures to any outlets within their reach.
- Improper use of extension leads
Extension leads are very useful and are safe provided they are used properly. You must ensure that the extension lead you use is appropriate for what you need it for.
For example, if you are using it for outside power ensure you purchase one designed for outdoor use so it is weather proof.
If you are using a multiway extension lead do not overload it by plugging in multiple heavy-duty appliances and avoid running the cable underneath a rug or any other surface. Ensure the cable is in good condition before using it, as these cables don’t last forever.
If you find you are relying on an extension lead for power in a specific area of your home, install additional electrical outlets instead.