Tuesday, 11 February 2014
Could these Electrical Hazards be present in your home?
There are lots of stories in the media about electricity and how dangerous it can potentially be. When we're carrying out electrical work in London, we come across many households and businesses who use electricity dangerously.
It is not always poor electrical work or dangerous electrical wiring that can cause electrical injury or shock, it can also be dangerous use of electricity by householders and employees. One of the typical instances we come across very often is overuse of extension leads which has caused overheating in the wall socket, the wrong fuses used in extension leads, and badly maintained electrical appliances. It is not unusual for us to find vacuum cleaners in workplaces that have insulation taped wrapped around potentially live cable!
Checking your home and workplace for electrical hazards
When did you last actively check for electrical hazards in your home? It is easy to take electricity for granted and problems can come as a surprise. It is also worth checking your workplace, particularly electrical appliances you use as part of your job. Check your workstation, kettle, microwave, vacuum cleaner etc that you use. Don't take PAT tested equipment for granted, accidental damage can still occur between PAT tests.
Leads to electrical appliances
Check the leads to all electrical appliances that you use. Damage can occur very easily around the plug so check to ensure no bare wires are exposed in the plug area and there are no rips or wires exposed anywhere on the cable. Always check to ensure the plug is still firmly in place.
Damage to cable can cause electric shock, overheating of the appliance and possible fire. It is particularly important to check appliances that will be left unattended whilst in use.
Take care when hanging items on the wall
Burst pipes and drilled cable is no fun however many people have hit a cable unexpectedly when drilling holes in walls in order to hang mirrors, pictures and electrical equipment. If you are not sure where the cables run in your home then do not drill. Hitting a cable with a drill can cause electrical shock not to mention the inconvenience and expense of repairing the damage.
If you do drill through the cable it is important to contact an electrical engineer in London as soon as possible in order that the damage can be assessed and to make your electrical installation safe.
Before drilling or putting nails in the wall, use a cable and pipe detector which will help to identify if any cables or pipes are present where you are intending to drill.
Don't take chances with electricity
All of us have heard people boast about how they don't switch off the light when changing a light bulb or who laugh at the thought of turning off electricity to carry out a simple repair. At FulcherEdwards we highly recommend that you always switch off AND unplug electrical items when carrying out maintenance whether it is a straightforward light bulb change or a belt change on a vacuum cleaner. Electricity can activate at any time when switched on and people have had their fingers trapped when mechanisms activate without warning.
Always use common sense with electricity. If you have a electric shaving point in your bathroom, don't use it whilst you are in the bath, shower or with a basin full of water. Try to keep the use of extension leads to a minimum. It is better to ask an electrical contractor in London to install additional sockets in your home particularly in high risk areas like a kitchen rather than risk overheating and electrical injury. Many kitchen appliances will overload an extension lead so it is better not to use them at all in the kitchen.
Double check the watts when changing a light bulb
Take care not to exceed the watts on your light fitting. Never be tempted to place a bulb into a light fitting which has higher watts than stated. It can lead to overheating and could even melt the light fitting itself. It could also cause fire to both the fitting and to the lampshade around it.
Using the recommended watts saves energy too. Although light bulbs now are all energy saving which is great, it is still not necessary to use any more energy than needed.
If any damage is suspected on light fittings, always ask a domestic electrician in London to take a look.
Check your sockets for noise and damage
Even hairline cracks increase your risk of electric shock. Never use a socket with even the slightest damage. Remember there are live cables behind sockets. If you discover any discolouring on your socket, particularly a mark where a plug has been, this is a sign of overheating. Similarly if you notice any buzzing or crackling noises, fuses blowing and electric tripping then this will need a qualified and registered NICEIC electrician in London to take a look.
Never cover electrical equipment
Electrical equipment like heaters, computer monitors and televisions have vents that are vital to prevent the appliance from overheating. Never be tempted to dry clothing on an electric storage heater. The heat can set fire to the clothes. Worse still, the water dripping onto the electrics could give you an electric shock.
For ultimate electrical safety
Have you had an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out on your property within the last 10 years? If not, it is worth having one carried out. Over time electrical installations can deteriorate which can cause electricity to become dangerous. It is also worth ensuring your are benefiting from the latest technology in electrical safety.
In you rent your home, the recommendation is that your landlord should have an EICR carried out every 5 years or when new tenants move in whichever is the sooner.
Take care not to become the next statistic
Electricity kills 1 person every week and injures 1000's of people. Taking time to check your home and your immediate workplace could actually save your life.