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Electrical safety tips at home (and for kids)

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 socket by the cord, rather than the plug?

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

Electrical safety tips at home

1. Sparks were flying: don’t ignore a spark

An outlet that emits smoke or sparks needs to be investigated, and the only way your socket must 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 powerpoint, turn it off, remove any appliances, and do not use it again.

Contact our electricians in St Kilda to diagnose the problem and devise the right solution.

And don’t think you can do it yourself. While you don’t need a licence 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.

Not only can it void your insurance or incur hefty fees, but most importantly, it puts you and your family at risk of serious injury or even death. If you need an electrician’s services, call a professional every single time.

2. 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.

3. 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.

Piggybacking 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.

4. 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 helps reduce the chance of cardiac arrest, as a usual heartbeat is 0.5 of a second.

Electrician Melbourne

5. 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 illegal
  • Is downright dangerous
  • Can lead to serious injury

Bottom line: don’t do it. Instead, call a licensed and qualified electrician.

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.

Safety tips for kids

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.

Importance of electrical safety at home

Electricity is powerful and potentially harmful. First and foremost, your safety and that of your family, too, is the number one priority when it comes to practising electrical safety.

Additionally, electrical safety can help protect devices, appliances, and fixtures from wear and tear.

And lastly, a smarter, safer, and more efficient electrical system can save you money in the long run, reducing yearly bills.

Why is electricity dangerous?

Most of us simply take electricity for granted, never really taking into account what exactly it is, and what can happen if something goes wrong. Electricity is a fundamental part of modern-day living, but when misused or faulty, can cause serious harm and injury. This may include:

  • Electric shock
  • Explosions or fire
  • Nerve damage
  • Cardiac arrest
  • Injury and burns
  • Hearing or vision problems
  • Death

Ensure safety in the home with Briggs Electrical

Whether it’s some of the common electrical issues we’ve outlined above, or more complicated demands, our licensed electricians in Melbourne are ready to spring into action!

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.

With an in-demand emergency electrician service, we provide rapid electrical care 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Call Briggs Electrical on 1300 300 222 or lodge a job online today.