Handling electricity is often considered a dangerous magic, and not the kind you learn at Hogwarts. Being electrocuted is a commonly feared danger associated with electricity. There are sadly over 200 people dying from house fires in the UK yearly, and approximately 37,000 house fires are caused by electrical equipment misuse. There are multiple safety features and checks you can apply to significantly reduce risk, even if you are not planning to become a DIY electrician.
#1 – What is the safest way to use electrical devices?
Let’s kick off our list with the obvious here. Avoid doing the following activities to minimise risk using your everyday devices:
- Electrical sockets should only be used for plugs; don’t force any other objects into it. If you have children at home, looking around with bright eyes and eager to explore the world around them, use socket covers to protect them.
- Keep metal objects out of the microwave and toasters.
- Never use anything with a cord or plug around your bath or wet room. Your safest option here is not to use electrical appliances in those areas unless specifically made, manufactured and designed for bathrooms or wet rooms.
#2 – How to handle cables and outlets for them to last longer?
In many cases, it may seem easier to pull the plug off the vacuum cleaner from a distance; however, a seemingly intact socket can become easily damaged. A loose outlet is among one of the safety issues related to electrical fires in your home. It is also worth mentioning that forcefully unplugging the appliances damages the cables and may result in damaging the protective cabling which will then directly expose the electrical wires, putting you or a loved one in immediate danger.
#3 – How to avoid overloading your electrical system?
To prevent electrical fires, you need to make sure that you do not overload your system from the fuse board to all outlets, some of which are (but not limited to) your sockets, lighting system, cooker, hob, or electric shower.
Never overload electrical sockets by plugging in multiple devices with high power consumption. Plugging an extension lead into a socket for a quick win of a few extra plugs might result in a huge loss in the long run as it causes electric instability within your system.
Changing an oven, hob, or electric shower? Check the cable size is suitable for the new installation as if it is not, this can cause the copper of the cable to become damaged, and over a period of time the cable will catch fire.
Did you know that by using LED light bulbs, your overall electrical consumption can be significantly reduced? Check out our ‘How to have an excellent lightbulb moment’ blog for some more information on lighting.
#4 – What to look out for if you plan to become a DIY electrician?
We strongly believe that electrical installation is extremely dangerous to apply the ‘do it yourself’ methodology. YouTube is not your best friend here. If you must act to avoid immediate danger and do repairs on your own, make sure to disconnect the whole system and use personal protective equipment.
If you’re ever unsure, please seek professional advice from a competent electrician before upgrading any of your current systems.
#5 – Do you do professional assessments of you electrical system often enough?
For rented flats and houses, a regular checkup is suggested every 5 years or change of occupancy to ensure that the electrical system is capable of handling the necessary load. For homeowners, the best frequency of professional assessment is every 10 years.
A periodic inspection (also known as an Electrical Installation Condition Report) includes the electrician checking potential system overloads, searching for any previous defective or damaged electrical work, and changing parts of the system or suggesting a complete refurbishment for your family’s safety demands.
When was the last time you had a professional electrical inspection?
Check out our ‘All you ever wanted to know about fuse boards but were afraid to ask’ blog for some interesting information.