How should I check electrical safety?

How should I check electrical safety?

Electrical Safety in your home is important to us. We want you to be safe and secure in your home.

You can help to keep your family safe by knowing what to check for on electrical items in your home. If something isn’t quite right or you are unsure, remember to contact us and we will be able to advise if repairs are needed.

Simple safety checks

  • Check where your mains switch is and that you know how to turn it off if there is an emergency.
  • If you have an RCD trip switch in your home, make sure you know how to reset it. We advise that you should test this every 3 months and instructions can be found on the inside of the board. Check appliances before you use it again if it has caused the trip switch to cut out. The appliance causing the problem is generally the last one you turned on. If in doubt, turn on the appliances you have been using one by one until you find out which one has caused the switch to trip.
  • If your electricity fails and you have a token meter – always check you have a supply of tokens in the meter.

Plugs and sockets

Look out for:

  • Hot plugs or sockets, scorch marks, fuses that often blow, or flickering lights. These are all signs of loose wiring or other electrical problems
  • Badly-wired plugs – any coloured wires sticking out could come loose and debris could also get into the plug
  • Overloaded sockets – plugging too many electrical appliances into one socket can lead to overheating

Cables and leads

Check for these problems:

  • Fraying and damage – make sure the outer covering of all power leads is in good condition and replace if necessary
  • Bad positioning – make sure leads cannot be tripped over and that they are not near water, cookers or other sources of heat
  • Do not run leads under rugs or carpets – they may wear out without anyone noticing.

Appliances

General rules:

  • Do not get them wet. For example, do not put a vase of flowers on top of the TV in case you knock it over
  • Do not leave them on at night – unless they are designed to be left on, like freezers
  • Do not put anything in the microwave that is made of metal, or has a metallic finish or parts.

Servicing

Arrange a yearly service by a qualified electrician, for appliances that run at high speeds and contain motors, like washing machines.

Plugs, sockets and cables

To use plugs, sockets and cables safely, always:

  • Change a plug correctly and make sure you cannot see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead
  • Make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug
  • Use sockets safely – it is better to use an extension lead than a single multi-plug adaptor
  • Only use 1 adaptor per socket – do not plug 1 adaptor into another and try to keep to 1 plug per socket

If you are fitting or changing a fuse, make sure you use the right fuse for the appliance. Check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse for appliances:

Fuses

  • up to 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse
  • between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse
  • more than 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse.
  • Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of a fire.

For more information please contact us or visit the Electrical Safety Council’s website at www.esc.org.uk

Installing Electrical Additions and Alterations

No electrical work can be carried out until it has been approved by us. If you plan to carry out any electrical installation works, such as installing new sockets, switches and wiring to outbuildings, this must be approved by us first as these works must be carried out and certified by an approved electrical contractor. Failure to do so will result in the removal of the alterations which will be charged back to you. Find more information here about the Building regulations and Document P.

Any light fittings or fixtures must be installed by a competant electrician.

Please contact us if you need any information about electrical upgrades in your home, we want you to live happily but more importantly safely.