Carelessness or lack of awareness about electricity in your home can lead to serious, and most likely preventable, accidents. Electricity benefits us all everyday, but there are some basic rules to follow to ensure that your experiences are safe.
Wiring in your home
The first place to start is the wiring in your home. Many homes are acquiring numerous appliances and entertainment devices. For this reason, you should make sure that your home is wired to handle the extra load. If you live in an older home, this is especially important. These homes may not have been equipped to handle this load and the wires and cables may have deteriorated over time. Some signs that would indicate a potential problem:
- Overheating plugs and sockets
- Cables heating
- Fuses blowing frequently
Remember, safety is your responsibility. If you notice any of these problems, you should contact an electrical contractor immediately to investigate the situation.
Before using a new appliance, make sure that you read the owners manual and the manufacturer’s instructions that come with it. Most electrical accidents that occur with appliances are due to improper care of the cord and plug. Here are some appliance guidelines:
- Check appliance cords frequently for signs of wear. Especially in frequently used items like irons, vacuum cleaners and portable tools.
- Make sure that the cord is comfortably long when ironing or vacuuming so that you are not stretching or straining the cord as you work.
- DO NOT repair a damaged cord. Replace it!
- Do not drag an appliance by the cord or pull the plug from the socket using the cord.
- Avoid using multiple adaptors in one socket.
Portable electric heaters are very popular in the winter time. They come in many different styles and models, but there are some common rules to follow when using one.
- Make sure the heater has a mesh wire or guard to avoid direct contact with the heating element.
- Some older designs are less sturdy and may fall over. You should replace yours with a newer model that meets safety standards.
- Make sure that young children are kept clear of the heater by using a fire guard.
- Keep heaters away from flammable materials such as curtains, beds and clothes.
- Never put anything over the heater. This could disrupt the flow of air through the heater and become a potential fire hazard.
In the kitchen
There is a dangerous combination of water, electricity and trailing cords in the kitchen. For this reason, extra caution must be used to prevent accidents from occurring.
- Do not let cords hang across the sink.
- Do not wrap cords around kettles, toasters or irons while they are still hot, the cords may be damaged.
- Do not clean or wash any appliance while it is still plugged in.
- Do not handle plugs or switches when your hands are wet; dry them first.
- Do not try and release jammed toast from the toaster while it is still plugged in.
In the bathroom
Careful precautions must be taken when using electrical appliances in the bathroom. Because of use of electricity and water in such a close proximity, there is a greater chance of electric shock.
- Never use hair-dryers, curling irons, electric shavers or any other electric devices around water.