Turning on a light switch, or plugging in an iron, are things we take for granted. Electricity is always there, if we’re fortunate enough to live in a warm, powered home. It’s easy to forget that electricity can be lethal; strong enough to cause injury, fire or death.
Every year in the UK there are 70 deaths and 350,000 serious injuries due to electrical faults. Electricity causes over 20,000 fires annually. With the number of electrical items in the home constantly on the rise, it’s vital to know the warning signs that you could have electrics which could kill you.
1. Old wiring
Old and damaged wiring is the most common cause of an electrical fire in the home. Look for these signs:
- Black rubber coated cables
- Lead or fabric coated cables (sometimes these look like plaits or braids)
- Black, iron switches in the fuse box
- Round sockets and round light switches
- Light switches in the bathroom which are mounted onto the wall
In general, if anything is frayed, scorched or pre-historic, it has no place in a modern home.
2. Faulty plugs on electrical appliances
When was the last time you inspected the plug on your TV, or your hair straighteners, or the lamp behind the sofa? Loose wires, faulty fuses and missing screws can all lead to electric shocks or fires.
Plugs should be checked on a regular basis. If there’s excessive heat when taken from the socket, or visible signs of damage to the plug, then it should be checked and either fixed or changed.
Cut, worn or damaged cables can be a huge electrical risk. All cables need to be checked regularly, including wires attached to appliances, and wires that run around skirting.
Cables should never have joins in them and should never run diagonally over a surface. There should be absolutely no signs of repair using insulating tape, and you should not run a cable outdoors unless it’s designed for that purpose.
4. Bathroom electrics
In terms of electrical safety, the bathroom offers the most risks for obvious reasons. There should be no wall sockets in the bathroom, other than a shaver socket; if you have an old property with standard room sockets, this is an urgent job.
Light switches can be just as dangerous because of use with wet hands. Again, if this is what you have at home, talk to a qualified electrician to change these to a ceiling-mounted pull-cord switch.
Heaters, lamps, hair dryers and hair straighteners should not be used anywhere near water.
5. Sockets around the home
A qualified professional should always install sockets. If they ever feel hot or there are sparks when an appliance is plugged in or removed, the socket must immediately be checked.
Sockets should be firmly fixed to the wall and showing no sign of damage or missing fixings. Take great care not to use any socket that is cracked.
Talk to the professionals if you notice any danger signs
Unless you are experienced in repairing, installing and rewiring electrics, it’s vital to talk to a qualified electrician. MD Bespoke Solutions has a team of electricians who can carry out any job in a domestic or commercial setting. We will also be happy to inspect your home for potential problems before they occur. Talk to us today and keep your family safe from electrical danger.