Do you know how to correctly test a safety switch?
Or maybe you’ve developed a bad habit of yanking your laptop charger out of the plug by its cord?
The following electrical safety tips will not only keep you and your family safe from the dangers of electricity, but they’ll also help protect devices, cords, appliances, sockets, and more.
Electrical safety tips at home
Sparks were flying: don’t ignore a spark
A outlet that emits smoke or sparks needs to be investigated, and the only way you’re socket will be inspected is by a licensed electrician.
While it mightn’t always be a major cause for concern, without proper diagnosis and possible repair or replacement, you’re taking a risk with the unknown.
If you notice smoke or sparks from a power point, turn it off, remove any appliances, and do not use it again. Contact an electrician in Melbourne who’ll diagnose the problem and devise the right solution.
And don’t think you can do it yourself. While you don’t need a license to go to your local hardware store and buy a new plug or plate, it’s actually illegal in most Australian states to do your own electrical work like rewiring.
Keep an eye on plugs and cords
The worst thing we do (which we probably don’t even realise) is yank cords out of the wall sockets. This causes unnecessary pressure and stress on a cord, leading to earlier damage, potentially exposing you to an electrical hazard.
Similarly, a frayed or cracked power cord can be a catalyst in an electrical fire. If it’s damaged, throw it out and replace it.
Don’t overload power boards
While it can seem highly convenient to load up a power board with chargers, stereos, lamps and other devices, plugging in too many devices puts stress on an outlet, resulting in power failure or even an electrical fire.
Piggy backing power boards – that is, plugging one power board into another to double the amount of plugs sourcing power from the one socket – is not only preposterous, but it can have disastrous effects, too. It sounds bad enough, yet people are still doing it, overestimating the bandwidth of their power socket and devices, and taking real safety risks.
Lygon St restaurant Il Gambero suffered $1 million worth of damage in 2009 thanks to an electrical fire caused by a cheaply made $3 power board.
Get to know your safety switch
Your RCD (which stands for Residual Current Device but you probably know it better as a safety switch) activates itself for a reason, not just to annoy you. An RCD disconnects supply when a fault is detected in that circuit, whether it is from an appliance or fault in the wiring itself.
The end goal is to save your life!
An RCD will break supply in 0.3 of a second. This help reduces the chance of cardiac arrest, as a usual heartbeat is 0.5 of a second.
Don’t try to DIY
You’ve tried and tried, but you can’t resist the temptation to get in there yourself and try to fix a broken power socket or frayed cord.
It’s important that you never try to DIY your own electrical work.
So important, in fact, that we’ve written a whole other blog post about it. You can read it here, but to summarise, doing your own electrical work:
- Can void your insurance
- Is probably illegal in your state
- Is downright dangerous
Bottom line: don’t do it.
Electrical safety for kids
These days, you’d be hard pressed to find a kid who isn’t glued to his tablet, mobile phone, or laptop. Electricity powers up these devices they (and, admittedly, us too) have come to rely on.
Teach children to respect electricity and help them understand that while it’s amazing, it can also be dangerous.
Cover up power points
Curious toddlers will grab anything: cover up power points to prevent any chance of electrocution. Conduct regular checks and remove and replace faulty sockets, plugs, and boards.
Never leave electrical appliances near water
We all know electricity and water do not mix, and we need to teach that to children, too. The simple reason behind the dangerous combination is that water, in its normal form, contains solids that can effectively and quickly conduct electricity.
Keep appliances out of reach
Appliances should always be stored out of reach when not in use, and supervision during use is paramount. These appliances are usually found in the kitchen or bathroom.
Tidy up electrical cords
Cords can provide a tripping hazard, so whenever possible, keep cords concealed behind furniture or use clips or cable trays to keep cords and wires neat and out of the way. Do not, however, run them under rugs or carpets, as you then risk overheating.
Keep items away from “hot” appliances
Light bulbs can get extremely hot, so first thing’s first, use a shade to keep curious young hands away from the bright, alluring glow. Older kids should learn to keep lamps clear of flammable materials like curtains and bedding like sheets and doonas.
Briggs Electrical: local domestic electrician in Melbourne
Whether it’s some of the common electrical issues we’ve outlined above, or more complicated demands, choosing a qualified electrician in Melbourne is a non-negotiable!
Small, routine domestic electrical issues include:
- Faulty socket repairs
- Wiring issues
- Tripping safety switches
- Flickering or dimming lights
Larger and more composite requests include:
- Home theatre installation
- Antenna removal and installation
- CCTV security solutions
- Lighting designs and installations
- Complete wiring installations for new builds
Make Briggs Electrical your sparky of choice for a variety of domestic electrical services.