Stay safe – stay at home. It’s the message being sent out across all media at the moment. But how safe is it, really?
Having a houseful of people for a period of time, all working online or completing home projects, can create its own hazards.
As we all attempt to stay connected via the digital world using electrical devices, or use our time productively with projects such as DIY and gardening, we thought a timely reminder to safeguard against electrical dangers would be helpful.
That’s why we’ve put together a list of tips and advice on giving your home a safety check up, ensuring it really is the safest place it can be.
A general safety check
While you have some time on your hands, go through the house and give all of your electrical appliances a visual check over. It’s well worth the effort.
Appliances should be professionally checked or replaced if:
• They have exposed wiring, where the protective coating has been stripped away.
• Using them causes the circuit breakers to trip.
• They give off a burning smell when switched on.
• They give you any kind of electrical shock, however mild. This could just feel like a tingle.
General advice would also include:
• Remain vigilant in the kitchen. Misuse of kitchen appliances is one of the main causes of electrical fire or electric shock.
• Remember that water and electricity are a deadly mix. The bathroom can be one of the most dangerous rooms in the house when it comes to electrical safety.
Don’t overload your sockets!
Every outlet in your home is designed to deliver a certain amount of electricity. Plugging in too many devices could cause a fire.
• If you have a lot of things to plug in, a power strip could provide a safe alternative.
• Avoid extension cords as much as possible. Where you do need to use extension cords, make sure these are in good order too.
• If you find yourself using extension cords a lot, consider having an electrician install new sockets throughout your home. It’s one of our specialities for residential clients.
These are the signs you need to look out for that could indicate you’re overloading your circuit!
• Flickering, blinking, or dimming lights.
• Circuit breakers tripping or blown fuses.
• Warm or discoloured wall plates.
• Cracking, sizzling, or buzzing from sockets or appliances.
• Burning odour from sockets or switches.
• Mild shock or tingle from appliances, sockets or switches.
If you need advice on increasing your power output, we can help!
A survey by Electrical Safety First highlighted that nearly half of all severe electric shocks are caused by DIY attempts, with the main errors including cutting through power leads, drilling into wiring and repairing electrical items while they’re still switched on.
• You should use a cable detector to help you track cables before you start work.
• Use an RCD (residual current device). An RCD will cut off the power in the event of an electrical fault caused by a DIY blunder. You should have one fitted in your fusebox (consumer unit). If you’re not sure, check and where necessary use a plug-in RCD.
The sun has been shining, and we‘re sure it’s tempting many people out into their neglected outdoor spaces to kill some time. We want to make sure that time is the only thing it kills.
• Make sure you give all electrical gardening equipment a thorough visual inspection and clean when you’re using them for the first time after the winter break.
o Make sure they haven’t been damaged or affected by water in storage.
o Check the cables on mowers and other products – make sure cable is not twisted, frayed or damaged.
• Don’t use electrical gardening equipment outdoors until it is dry – even dew on the grass can be dangerous.
• If you need to clean, adjust or check equipment part way through a job, always switch off and unplug electrical items. Unplug the lawn mower, for example, and wait until the blades have stopped turning before doing anything like cleaning grass blockages. The same goes for hedge trimmers and similar.
• Be aware of where the electrical power cable is at all times.
• Take care if you are digging in the garden – electric, gas and water services may be buried below.
• Wear shoes that protect your feet (not sandals).
• Keep children well away from electrical gardening appliances.
Know what to do in the event of an accident
If the worst should happen and you witness an electric shock – would you know what to do? Take time to read the guidance here.
Stay safe and well everyone and make your home time as enjoyable as you can.