Top Ten home electrical tips to know and for your safety.
Step 1: Know your circuits
Your consumer unit or commonly called the fuse board, has several different circuits and each one is protected by a fuse or circuit breaker. Clearly labelled each separated circuits to ease your life when there is an electricity outrage.
Step 2: Power failure
- If a fuse blows or a circuit breaker trips on the consumer unit, it indicates that the circuit has been overloaded. It is to prevent the usage of too many appliances, which could otherwise cause serious damage or a fire.
- If the RCD (Residual Current Device) trips out and won’t reset, it indicates a fault. Unplug all appliances. If the RCD cannot be reset when all appliances are disconnected, this indicates a fault with the circuit so call a professional electrician in.
- If the RCD can be reset, then one of the appliances has a fault so reconnect one at a time each appliance and then reset the RCD. Repeat this process, starting with the RCD off. If the RCD trips after connecting an appliance, it means that appliance is faulty. Have this appliance repaired.
Step 3: Emergency light / torch
Make a torch available in case there is a power cut and make sure you know where it is and can find it easily.
Step 4: Safety recommendations
- First, make sure the power is off. Turn off the power at the consumer unit and take out the fuse or switch off the circuit breaker to isolate the circuit concerned.
- For appliances that plug in, remove the plug from the wall socket first.
- When changing a lamp, be certain that the light switch for a fixed light is off.
Step 5: Correct fuses and lamps
- New plugs are often fitted with a standard 13 amp fuse but you may change this to suit the appliance it’s used for.
- A light fitting should be labelled with the maximum allowable wattage for the lamp so choose appropriate lamps for a light fitting and never exceed the maximum.
Step 6: Energy saving and lamps
- Use low energy lamps as it can save quite significant amount of money on your bills.
- When buying a new appliance such as a fridge or freezer, prefer an energy efficient model.
Step 7: Only work on electricity issues if you are 100% certain of what you are doing
Many electrical jobs must, by law, be carried out by an approved contractor or professional electrician, then be inspected and certified. Advices: don’t touch electricity issues if you have doubts.
Step 8: Plugs, adaptors and extension leads
- When disconnecting a plugged in appliance, switch the socket off first and never pull the plug out by its flex.
- Never plug one adaptor into another as it is dangerous and can overheat and cause a fire.
- When using an extension reel, make sure you unwind it fully before use. Coiled flexes and cables generate heat which may melt the flex.
Step 9: Electrical repairs
If you have a faulty switch or a damaged socket, get it replaced straight away.
Step 10: Outdoor safety
When using an electrical appliance such as a power drill outside, make sure it is protected via an RCD (Residual Current Device). In the event of a fault this will isolate the power supply and reduce the risk of electric shock. Never use power tools outside when it’s wet or raining.
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