New Year resolutions are often dreamt up and discarded with less levels of care and attention than we might devote to our next meal. However, one resolution which should be taken seriously is ensuring that the electrical appliances and fittings in your home are in a safe condition.
Electricity is responsible for more than 20,000 domestic fires in the UK each year, with 90% of these being caused by electrical appliances. As a result, it is imperative that you avoid catastrophe by taking basic precautions when using such equipment and checking them regularly for any signs of wear and tear or damage.
You can minimise the risk of an electrical fire breaking out in your home by following a handful of simple and easy guidelines with respect to your electrical appliances. In particular, you should ensure that you:
- Turn off and unplug any appliances when not in use
- Take care when handling appliances which can become hot during use – such as hair straighteners, irons, curling tongs or hairdryers – and after use, make sure they do not come into contact with combustible materials
- Always check the power rating of adaptors and convertors on all appliances to ensure the current will not overload the appliance’s capacity
- Always check the wattage of light bulbs before plugging them in
- Do not overload wall sockets, especially with extension cables or multi-socket adaptors
- Never cover heaters or radiators
- Never store combustible materials near your fusebox
It is important to get your home checked by a certified and qualified electrical safety professional whenever you move into a new house, or at 10-year intervals. For outdoor electrical equipment, which is at greater risk of damage and decay due to the elements, more regular checks are required. Homeowners should seek a professional inspection from approved contractors such as electrical professionals Spark Squad, who provide comprehensive testing services for those living in the East Devon area.
However, the responsibility to regularly check for signs of wear and tear on your appliances lies at your feet. Get into the habit of making frequent checks on all of your outlets and equipment, in particular looking out for the following:
- Burns marks on plugs or sockets
- Buzzing or crackling coming from electrical sources
- Circuit-breakers tripping or fuses blowing on a regular basis
- Frayed wiring on cables
- Loose plug heads
- Unexplainable smells of burning
If you notice any of these symptoms or warning signs, call a trained professional or the local Fire and Rescue Service (not the emergency service) immediately to have it checked out.
Keeping to these simple rules and guidelines will ensure that your home is as safe as possible – and that your hopes and plans for 2015 don’t go up in smoke.
If you’re in any doubt as to the condition of the electrics in your home, get in touch for a chat.