Rewiring A House 2

5 Electrical Safety Tips for the Home

Defective electrical wiring in home causes almost 40% of house fires, which poses a significant threat to the safety of families around Australia. That’s why electrical safety is something all homeowners should have knowledge of.

The gravity of this issue further emphasises the fact that electric shock kills about 76 Australians a year, according to the Australia Wide First Aid site. Another staggering figure is that 73% of those deaths occur in the home (about 55 fatalities). And many other incidents result in serious injuries or go unreported.

It is imperative to understand the potential hazards of electricity, as even a small mistake can lead to life-threatening consequences. By taking appropriate precautions, individuals can prevent the occurrence of electrical accidents and protect themselves and their loved ones from harm. That’s why we’ve put together five electrical safety tips for the home.

1. Always Use a Licensed Electrician

DIY electrical work is one of the primary culprits behind accidents that occur in households. Amateurs with no training should refrain from doing any electrical maintenance other than simply changing a light bulb.

It is important to note that wiring switches, installing ceiling fans and adding power outlets to your home is strictly the domain of licensed electricians.

Taking up electrical work on your own not only poses a severe threat of physical injury or even death, but it can also lead to electrical fires and potentially void warranties on your appliances.

We strongly recommend carrying out regular electrical maintenance, particularly if you’re in an older home. These reasons alone make it imperative to hire a licensed electrician to perform any electrical work required in your home.

2. Upgrade Your Electrical Safety Switches

To safeguard your family, one of the most important electrical safety steps to take is to ensure your switchboard is equipped with modern day safety switches.

Switchboards generally feature three types of cutout devices – safety switches, circuit breakers and fuses. If your switchboard still uses fuses, it indicates that it is outdated and requires immediate upgrading.

Ideally, your switchboard should have circuit breakers installed at the very minimum. Circuit breakers automatically cut off the power supply in case of problems such as an overload, thus preventing the occurrence of a fire hazard.

On the other hand, safety switches are specifically designed to prevent electrocution. These switches operate at lightning-fast speed, instantly cutting off the power supply as soon as it detects any flow of electricity out of the circuit.

This means that the switch will stop the power supply immediately as soon as it starts to flow through you. By installing safety switches, you can take the first and most important step towards enhancing electrical safety in your home.

3. Do Not Overload Outlets

Overloading an electrical outlet by plugging in too many devices can cause it to overheat and potentially start a fire. When you need power for a number of devices, always use power strips (aka powerboards) or power surge protectors, but be careful not to exceed their capacity.

Overloaded powerpoints are a threat to electrical safety because they cause overheating and put incredible strain on your entire electrical circuit. This can also cause serious damage to your appliances.

And always beware of “piggybacking” double adaptors, as this can easily lead to overloading a powerpoint.

4. Take Precautions Using Extension Cords

When working indoors or outdoors, it’s crucial to exercise caution when using extension cords.

Ensure that you’ve fully unwound the extension cord so there are no kinks. Avoid running the cord under rugs or across areas that experience foot traffic. This is not only because it poses a tripping hazard but also because it can lead to the cord being damaged when stepped on.

If working outside, we recommend using an outdoor-rated extension cord.

Given how easy it is to bump or knock an extension cord, it’s important to inspect them before use. Check for any exposed wiring near the plug as this could pose a potential hazard. If you come across a cord in such a state, it’s advisable to discard it altogether.

5. The Importance of Insulated Plugs

When it comes to electrical appliances, we always recommend inspecting the cords for any signs of wear and tear, particularly at the point where the cord meets the plug.

It is crucial that all appliances using three-pin plugs must have insulated pins. A number of fatalities and injuries have occurred because thin metallic items (e.g. slats of metal blinds) have contacted the active pins of plugs which were not fully engaged in outlets.

Therefore, on 240-volt plug tops and equipment with live pins must be insulated for a prescribed length of the pin. This means only the tips of the pins engage with the live parts of sockets (information from the WA Government website).

General Electrical Safety Tips

Electricity is an everyday part of modern life. As a result, we may sometimes become complacent about electrical safety in the home. That’s why it’s always important to keep the above advice in mind.

Here are eight more handy domestic electrical safety tips:

  1. Instead of pulling a cord, always pull on the plug when unplugging an electrical appliance or device.
  2. Before cleaning any electrical appliances, make sure to turn them off and unplug them.
  3. Switch off any electrical outlets that are not in use to avoid wasting energy.
  4. If there are toddlers around, use child safety plugs in any unused sockets to prevent accidents.
  5. When replacing light bulbs, be sure to switch the light off first.
  6. Avoid overloading powerboards with too many electrical appliances.
  7. Never leave heaters or dryers running unattended.
  8. Do you have wet hands? Avoid turning on any electrical devices, as this can pose a hazard.

By following these tips, you can help prevent accidents and ensure electrical safety and efficient use of electricity in your home.

In Conclusion

Electrical safety refers to the precautions and practices taken to prevent electrical accidents in the home. In other words, they are good habits to get into to protect your family and yourself.

This is the way to avoid electrocution, electrical burns and fires. We use electrical appliances and devices all day and every day, so it’s easy to take them for granted without considering the potential dangers.

Get into good habits when it comes to electrical safety and you can relax knowing your home is a safe haven for friends and family.

Please note: This information is provided for advice purposes only. Regulations differ from state to state, so please consult your local authorities or an industry professional before proceeding with any work. See our Terms & Conditions here.


Published: 2023-04-06

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