If you’re worried about the electrics in your home, you are not alone. From landlords to tenants and first-time buyers to investors, we all have the right to be concerned about our safety – and with very good reason. Every year, 2.5 million people experience a mains voltage electric shock, with 350,000 of those suffering serious injuries as a result. It’s not a statistic to be ignored – and when you consider the number of fires caused by electrical faults and misuse, the scale of the problem becomes worryingly apparent.
Thankfully, it’s not all bad news. There are plenty of ways you can protect both you and your family from faulty electrics. How? By carrying out simple visual checks, backed up by the advice of a professional.
Ensuring the safety of your home is straightforward – as long as you know what you’re looking for. So, if you want to know, “how do I know if my electrics are safe?” this blog will help. We’ve compiled a guide to check that your electrics are safe, and what to do if you need a second opinion.
Simple visual checks
Electrical safety is best checked on a routine basis. Faults can happen at any time – so you should be alert and aware of danger signs at all times. It doesn’t need to be an onerous task. In fact, the following visual checks are so simple that they’ll eventually become second-nature. Here’s what you need to do.
1. Check the cabling
Start your visual checks by looking at the cabling for your appliances. Any signs of wear and tear should be taken seriously; exposed wires are dangerous.
2. Examine plugs
When examining plugs, look for damage to the cable grip, and ensure that the earth connection is in place. If the plug casing is broken or the insulation on plug pins have been worn, it will need to be replaced.
3. Look at the connections
Sometimes, connectors are used to join two pieces of cable. These are generally dangerous, so refrain from using any appliances with these kinds of connections.
4. Check electrical casing
If an appliance or electrical installation has broken casing, the exposed wires could pose a threat. To be safe, ensure the casing is fixed right away.
5. Count your sockets
Overloaded sockets can be dangerous, so make sure you keep connections to a minimum. If you use extension leads, keep the number of plugs as low as possible – especially if they are supplying other adaptors.
6. Look for signs of overheating
An overheated socket is easy to spot – it will be brown and discoloured by burn marks. If you notice signs of overheating, ask a professional to check both your appliance and the socket itself.
7. Be perceptive of hazards
As always, common sense is your best friend when it comes to electrical safety. Keep appliances away from water or equipment that could cause damage.
Call in the experts
If routine visual checks raise concerns, it’s time to call in the experts. A professional, certified electrician will be able to spot problems and rectify the situation before harm is caused. But while your instincts are important, there is always room for human error; especially as electrical installations deteriorate with age.
To err on the side of caution, the Electrical Safety Council recommends that homeowners arrange a Periodic Test and Inspection every ten years, while landlords should arrange checks every five years or with each change of tenancy. To find out more, visit our electrical inspection and testing page - it will tell you all you need to know!