Archive for April, 2013

Electrical safety

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

Home Electrical safety

Electrical current in homes has enough power kill. Care should be taken with electrical appliances and repairs should only be carried out by professional electricians.

Take time to check your current fuse board and wiring is safe. Older fuse boards dated before 1960’s have little protection from electric shock, unlike the protection new 17th edition fuse boards will have.

Electricity is the motion of electrons moving through a conductor – this is electrical current. Material like metal is a conductor as it allows electrical current to travel through it. Electrical current must form a loop between the device and the power supply in order to work. If the path between electrical current is broken then electrical current can not exist.

People are often injured when an electrical current or circuit is broken as electricity will always try to find the easiest path back to the source and, because people are more conductive than earth, the current will try to flow through us to complete the loop if there is no other easy route.

This can cause either mild electric shock – possible muscle contractions and startling depending on the voltage of the source, thermal burns – from the heat generated, or even fatal electrocution – when the current travelling through the body affects signals between the brain and muscles, including the heart.

Always hire a licensed electrician for repairs. And follow these simple safety rules:

  • Never remove a plug from a power socket by pulling the cord; pull from the plug instead.
  • Switch off electrical items at the plug if not in regular use or when leaving the house, electrical items left plugged in are a fire risk as well as wasting energy if left on standby.
  • Do not use electrical items in the bathroom unless designed for use in there, e.g. Shavers and electric toothbrushes but still take care near water and avoid touching plugs with wet hands.
  • Do not use items with exposed wires or damaged cords. Check items regularly.
  • Similarly don’t use damaged sockets.
  • Always turn your electrics off at the mains when carrying out electrical repairs but only attempt if you know what you are doing.
  • Look for the BEAB seal of approval on electrical items when purchasing.
  • Do not use electrical equipment outside if it’s raining.
  • Use light bulbs with the correct wattage for all light fittings.
  • Check circuit breakers and fuses are the correct current rating for their circuit.

If your fuse board has a wooden back board, ceramic or cast iron switches, or a mixture of fuses then it is likely it dates to before the 1960s and will need replacing. A qualified electrician will be able to advise you on updating your fuses.