During the Christmas period, it is important to share information regarding electrical safety in the home. We have come up with 12 Electrical top tips to help you stay safe!
Don’t overload sockets
Overloading plug sockets is a common cause of electrical fires. Ensure that there is only one heat-producing appliance plugged into a multi-way socket at a time.
Look out for damaged electrical cables
All power cables and extension leads should be checked regularly and replaced as required.
Use the correct wattage for lamps and lighting fixtures
The recommended wattage is what keeps your lamps shining safely. There should be a sticker indicating the maximum wattage of the bulb needed. If you’re using incandescent bulbs, lamps should also be used with a shade or globe to prevent other items heating up if they’re too close to the bulb. LEDs are a great way to light up a room without all the wasted heat energy.
Never run cables under carpets, rugs, doors, or windows
Running cables throughout your house can cause trip hazards as well as inviting electrical accidents. If you find you’re using extension leads regularly, consult your electrician about adding new outlets around your home within reach of the things you need to plug in.
Be safe with heaters
It might sound like common sense but keep flammable and combustible items away from heaters. Portable heaters shouldn’t be used near curtains and should always be on a level stable surface.
Keep unused cables tidy and secure
Electrical safety doesn’t only apply when cables are in use. Make sure they’re stored away safely when you’re not using them. It’s best not to wrap cables around objects (like your hairdryer or laptop plug), as it can stretch them, and cause overheating. Also never put an electricity cable on a hot surface, as it can damage the insulation and wiring inside.
Unplug all unused appliances
An unplugged appliance is 100% safer than one that’s left plugged in. Not only does it save you money, as plugged-in appliances still use power when on standby mode, but it protects them from overheating. If your sockets are harder to reach, such as behind bookcases or sofas, you could invest in a smart plug or energy-saving extension bar to help achieve this.
Allow space for air circulation
Electrical equipment needs room for the air to circulate, to keep cool it while it’s working. Without this, it can overheat and be a fire hazard. Don’t put anything on top of electrical appliances like a microwave. Don’t run electrical equipment such as a toaster in cupboards!
Real Christmas trees can be a fire hazard
A “real” Christmas tree is a popular choice when it comes to turning your home into a winter wonderland. But a real tree can catch fire a lot quicker than a fire retardant artificial one, so consider buying one of the fabulous fakes that are available.
If you do have a real Christmas tree:
- Keep it well away from heat sources, such as portable heaters.
- Make sure that you keep it well watered. Real trees can absorb up to a litre of water a day and its important you don’t let it dry out!
- Don’t spray hairspray on the pine needles to stop them dropping off – it’s VERY flammable!
Check the fuse
It’s easy to replace a fuse on plugs but make sure you use the right one for the appliance. Using the wrong fuse can cause a cable to overheat, and means the appliance isn’t protected against electrical faults.
Avoid counterfeit goods
Be wary of items purchased outside or imported into the UK, as these don’t always meet national safety standards. Additionally, avoid counterfeit electrical goods, such as fake-brand hair straighteners, as these are the leading cause of electrical shocks and fires. This goes for batteries and chargers too. Only buy the official branded chargers for your laptop or phone, ideally straight from the manufacturer.
Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions
Possibly the best piece of advice when using any electrical appliance is “read the instructions”. Using your devices correctly improves performance and keeps you safe.
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