Electricity is something we use every day without even thinking about. Although it aids us in our daily activities, we can sometimes forget about the dangers that are involved with electricity. Small changes to improve electrical safety at home can reduce the risk of accidents involving electricity. For an extra safe home, Heath Electricals offers electrical testing in Olney and the surrounding areas. But for the time being, to ensure that your home is a safe environment, we have come up with a guide on ways you can improve your electrical safety.
Electrical Safety At Home
Through the large scale of electrical inspections and testing in Milton Keynes that Heath Electricals carries out, we know that electricity is an important part of home functionality. Electricity is used throughout the home, from gaming devices to kitchen appliances, so it has become a big part of daily life. What you may not take into consideration is the fact that electricity can cause severe injuries, cause fires to break out and even death. Around 1,380 injuries, 15,400 fires (54% of fires in England are caused by electricity) and 64 deaths occur every year. It is important that you undertake fire safety precautions to ensure that you do not cause a hazard to yourself and your family.
General Saftey Checks
Although most safety checks should be carried out by a professional electrician, there are a few basic safety inspections that you can carry out yourself. Getting yourself into the habit of regularly carrying out these checks can help to prevent injury and accidents around the house. These safety checks can include:
- Look out for frayed or damaged wires – if you find a bare wire from any of your household applications, then it is best to replace them completely. This will make sure that there are no live wires around the house. If you need a wire fixed, then Heath Electricals can provide cabling and wiring in Milton Keynes and the surrounding areas.
- Checking sockets – when sockets look scorched or appear to be broken, call in an electrician to complete a thorough check of the socket and replace the socket completely if necessary.
- Location of appliances – make sure that any electrical equipment is out of reach from young children and that the appliances are not near water. Water can cause sparks in wires and possibly even start a fire.
- Power down – walk around the house and turn off any unused plugs, lights and electricals, particularly before going to bed or heading out of the house. Not only could this save your life, but it will also save you money.
When carrying out your basic checks, ask yourself hazardous questions. For example, question whether any wires are causing a trip hazard? If any little fingers or paws can interfere with electrical equipment, then its time to think about where you have placed them and whether they are safe to have around the house.
Due to the large quantity of electrical equipment that we use around the house, the majority of homeowners will have an extension cable somewhere in the house. Although this is completely fine, you should make sure that you are using a trustworthy brand for your power cables. Most people tend to buy their power cables from grocery stores and cheap appliance shops; however, these cheap products can cause a fire hazard as they are unreliable.
Overloading the plugs can also have a negative impact on the electrical system on your home. This is because the heat that is created by the overuse of the plugs can cause internal wiring systems to ignite. One way to minimise this happening in your home is to purchase a circuit breaker and have it professionally fitted by one of our electricians in Milton Keynes. Circuit breaker interrupts the flow of electricity when a fault in the power system occurs; this is to try and prevent a fire breaking out.
Although fires and accidents tend to happen around the plug sockets, the appliance that you are using may actually be the root of the problem. Not all electrical hazards come from the source of electricity and instead can be caused by faulty or poorly manufactured appliances. As discussed above, carrying out routine basic checks of your appliances will ensure that you can identify where the problem may be coming from and resolve it. To safely check your electrical appliances, use a multimeter to identify a faulty appliance. For a ‘how to do’ guide on multimeter diagnosis, take a look at Espares’ blog where you can find easy steps on measuring resistance.
Buying cheaper appliances may save you money in the short term; however, not only are they less likely to last, they are more likely to cause electrical dangers. The likelihood is that most electrical appliances that can be found online have not been through and thorough check before being sent to your doorstep. This is extremely dangerous as wires may not be in the right place, may be split, or simply not connected properly. When you use these faulty appliances, they can spark and ignite anything that it is attached to it.
During the winter months, we tend to use electricity more in order to keep ourselves cosy and warm. Heated blankets and additional heaters are often used to keep the home warm. Although this is a great way to keep the home cosy, it does mean that there are more electrical hazards around the house that you need to take into consideration when doing your basic checks.
Ensure that your heaters are placed on a steady flat surface so that risk of them falling over are minimised. Also, make sure that your heaters are kept away from walls or doors that could cause prevention of ventilation. Although it may get chilly in the winter, try and wrap yourself up in blankets and bed socks to avoid overusing heaters. Allowing your heater to get too hot can cause a fire hazard, and the heat ignites flames either inside the heater itself or the wires connecting it to your wall.
Electric blankets have also become a popular feature for families during the winter. Wrapping the whole crew up under a heated blanket is what makes winter so special. When using a heated blanket, make sure that you are aware of the precautions that you should take to ensure that it is safe to use. Before going to bed, make sure that you turn all electric-assisted blankets off so that it does not get over-heated and cause a fire. Going back to the danger of water and electricals, it is important that you do not use a hot water bottle as well as your blanket, as this can cause unpleasant electric shocks, or worse.
The kitchen is one of the most dangerous places when it comes to handling electricity. This is primarily because the kitchen tends to hold a large amount of electrical goods and theses goods tend to powered by a lot of electricity. For example, the average microwave is powered by 850 to 1800 watts which a massive amount of electricity travelling through one appliance. For this reason, it is extremely important that you make sure your kitchen is safe. After washing up, ensure that your hands are thoroughly dry before touching any electrical equipment, this will reduce the risk of creating an electrical hazard. Other ways to reduce electrical risks include:
- Oven and grill maintenance – make sure that your oven and grill are cleaned regularly so that it works efficiently as well as reducing the risk of a fire.
- Storing objects – try not to store any objects on top of appliances as this can block ventilation and therefore causes a fire risk.
- Stuck toast – we have all been there before. The moment you wait for your toast to pop out the top and instead it remains jammed in the toaster. It may be a tip that you have heard before, but there is no harm in saying it again, never put a knife -or any metal for that matter – into the toaster while it is still plugged in
- Smoke alarm – if the worst scenarios were to occur, and one of your appliances set on fire, it is best to have a smoke alarm to inform you of any fire. Smoke alarms can save lives, so it is vital that you have one in the kitchen.
It is lovely to see your child becoming inquisitive about the world around them, so it is important to maintain a safe home so they can explore freely. Unfortunately, children and pets tend to be completely oblivious to electricity, meaning that you need to make sure that the house is electrically safe. Little fingers can get poked into sockets and cause severe electrical shocks and injuries. Use plug covers on any plugs that are not in use to ensure that the house is safe. A great website to use for teaching your children the dangers of electricity is the Switched-On Kids interactive game, which uses fun teaching methods to inform children about electrical hazards.
Cosy And Safe Winter
Electricity is extremely powerful, but it isn’t as hard as it may seem to keep it safe. Making small changes around the house can not only save you money but can also save you and the family from severe injuries or worse. When using additional appliances over the winter period, it is vital that you check them regularly to ensure that they are safe to use around the house. Following this simple guide to winter electrical safety will help minimise electrical accidents around the home.