How can I make sure my home electrics are safe?
There are more than 20,000 electrical fires in UK homes each year. Follow these top tips to make sure your home electrics are safe.
- Don’t overload sockets or extension leads as this can cause a fire. If you don’t have enough sockets, use a bar adapter on a lead rather than a block adapter. But for appliances that use a lot of power, such as a fridge or washing machine, put only one plug in each socket.
- Check your plugs, sockets, cables and appliances for any damage, such as fraying and exposed or loose wires. Damaged electrical appliances are a fire hazard. Don’t ignore warning signs such as burning smells, buzzing or crackling sounds, or fuses blowing.
- You should get a registered electrician to check your wiring at least every ten years. Wiring in the home can suffer wear and tear, which could make it dangerous.
- Take particular care when using garden equipment that needs to be plugged in. Make sure any garden equipment is plugged into a socket with RCD (Residual Current Device) protection. RCDs protect you from electric shock.
- Get your electric blanket tested by an expert at least every three years and replace it every 10 years. The shop where you bought the blanket or your local Trading Standards office may be able to test it. Check for danger signs, such as frayed fabric or scorch marks. Check whether you have the type of blanket that can be left on overnight – if it can’t be, always unplug it when you go to bed. Never switch it on if it’s damp or wet, and never use it with a hot-water bottle.
For The Isle of Wight Trader Approval Scheme, visit islefindit.org.uk/cat/electricians
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