If you are an avid DIY fan, it can be tempting to try and fix your own electrical appliances, wiring and sockets, to save on time and costs. However, many people tackle electrical projects without fully understanding electrical safety and the hazards involved. Each year, hundreds of electrical fires occur, causing widespread damage to homes, injury, and in a worst case scenario, death. Some of these fires could have been prevented if homeowners had more information about electrical safety.
By following a few basic electrical safety processes, a number of potentially hazardous situations could be avoided. Here are a few electrical safety tips to use in the home:
- Never remove a plug from a power point by pulling on the cord of the appliance, this can cause damage to the wiring, the plug and the socket. Always turn the power switch off and pull on the plug instead.
- Do not plug adaptors into adaptors - and try to limit the amount of plugs used in adaptors to prevent potential power overloading.
- Switch off any electrical items that are not in regular use at the plug. If you are away from your house for any period of time (i.e. while at work, or on holiday) - unplug and switch off electrical items.
- Generally speaking, you should not use electrical items in the bathroom or in any excessively wet areas - unless they are specifically designed for use in there i.e. shavers and electric toothbrushes. If you do use items such as these, take care not to get them wet and do not insert or remove plugs with wet hands - by doing so, you are risking an electric shock.
- If you notice that the cord on an appliance is damaged - to the point where wires are exposed - repair or replace the appliance immediately.
- Do not use damaged sockets, replace them straight away.
- If you are carrying out any electrical repairs - turn off the electricity at the mains first. Only attempt electrical repairs if you know what you are doing - if in doubt, call an electrician.
- Make sure that all of your electrical items are of an approved standard when purchasing them and ensure that you maintain them as recommended.
- Never use electrical appliances outside if it's raining.
- Always use the correct wattage light bulb for all of your light fittings.
- Circuit breakers and fuses should be the correctly-sized current rating for their circuit. Don't be tempted to use an incorrect size.