How safe are you around electricity?
Electricity has transformed our world, and now it is hard to imagine life without it. Not a day goes by without us using it, but it can also be very dangerous.
Read on to 10 important electrical safety tips that could save your life.
1. Unplug Unused Appliances
If your appliances are not in use, remember to unplug them. Unplugged items are at no risk of power surges, overheating, or any form of electrical failure.
This isn’t only about protecting your home and appliances. Following this tip could also save you money. Each year Australians waste $100 on vampire energy. That’s an easy saving to make.
Although it is the simplest electrical safety tip on this list, it is the one we all struggle with the most. If you find that you often forget to unplug your unused appliances, consider smart plugs that allow you to schedule when each outlet is active.
2. Read the Instructions
It’s simple, but most of us never read the instructions before we start using an appliance.
Most appliances are simple, but some have special handling requirements. You need to read the instructions to discover any cleaning instructions or maintenance actions you should carry out. They may also contain troubleshooting guides or potential faults to be aware of.
If you are following the instructions but have any problems you should stop using the appliance. Contact a qualified electrician in Elsternwick to have it checked it out immediately.
3. Look After Your Unused Cables
Just because they aren’t in use doesn’t mean you should stop treating electrical cables with care. Even when not in use you should store your cables to prevent damage.
When storing cables, try to avoid the temptation of wrapping them around other items. Over time this behaviour can stretch them and increase the chance of overheating.
Keep cables out of hot areas (and off hot surfaces) as heat can damage the insulation inside – increasing the chance of problems.
4. Allow Space for Air Circulation
No matter how efficient an electrical device, it will always create heat when in use. Unless you have good air circulation around your appliances, they are at risk of overheating and shorting out. This can make them a major fire hazard and shortens their lifespan.
Larger appliances like cookers and driers often have exhaust fans. As well as overheating, fan failure can allow dangerous gasses to build up. Regularly check them for dirt and debris and call an electrician if you notice they are not working.
5. Respect Your Outlets
If they are at ground level, it is easy to accidentally knock outlets. So always check them before you use them. Make sure that they do not feel warm and that the faceplate is secure and undamaged. If you feel heat coming from an outlet, do not use it and get it checked out by a qualified electrician as soon as possible.
Each outlet in your home is designed for a certain load. Overloading an outlet risks an electrical fire or damage to your appliances. Under normal circumstances, this is more than enough for your needs but using extension cords and converters can cause too much load.
Try to limit your use of extension cords where possible, and ensure that only one high draw appliance, like a heater, is connected to each outlet.
6. Don’t Mix Water and Electricity
Make sure that all your electrical appliances and equipment are always dry and away from water. Failing to do so risks damage to your appliances and personal injury to yourself. If you electrocute yourself, you will know about it!
If you are working with electrical appliances, make sure that your hands are dry, and you are away from water sources. Even water-resistant should be handled very carefully around water.
7. Replace Damaged Cords
Damaged and faulty power cords are one of the major causes of electrical issues. They are a leading cause of electrical fires and a major electrocution risk.
Rubber fatigue, crushing, and stapling are the most common reasons for cord damage. Avoid making hard twists and bend with your cables and keep them away from furniture legs. If you have pets (or pests) always check your cables for chew marks before you use them. Try and keep cord uncovered. The increased heat can speed up rubber fatigue.
If you do find a bad cable, always make sure to cut it in half before you throw it away. This way you cannot forget and accidentally use the cable again in the future.
8. Always Cut the Power
Whenever you have an electrical issue, your first action should always be to shut off the power. This will immediately stop a problem before it grows out of control. Make sure you know exactly where your circuit breaker is, and how to isolate each area of your home.
If you are carrying out any electrical work, make sure to cut the power first to ensure your breaker is working, and test that the circuits are correctly labelled. Older homes are particularly prone to having non-standard setups.
9. Install GFCIs
GFCIs are devices that trip your circuit if they detect current leakage or a ground fault. These are useful for protecting your home from electrical issues, as they make you aware of faults before you would notice them. These have been mandatory in homes since 1991, but if your home is older you may not have them.
10. Installations of Residual Current Device (safety switches)
RCD’s or RCBOs ( Residual Current Breaker with Over-Current) are safety devices installed in your electrical board that trip you circuit if they detect current leakage or a ground fault. These are useful for protecting your home from electrical issues and more importantly your family from electric shock. As of 2018 all circuits whether it is power, light or appliances such as ovens are to be protected by an adequate safety switch.
11. Always Hire a Professional
When renovating your home, trying to DIY as much as you can is a sensible idea. But unless you are an electrician, your electrics should always be handled by a qualified professional. Poor electrical work creates an ever-present danger to you and your family.
An electrician will know not only how to get everything to work, but also which codes and best practices to follow to make sure your work is safe.
Electrical Safety Tips to Protect Your Home
Although electricity plays a huge part in our lives, we must respect it. By following these electrical safety tips you will avoid the most common causes of electrical injury, and make your home safer for you and your family.
If you need a quality electrician in Elsternwick, contact us today at Carda Electrics. All our work in guaranteed and our staff are fully certified to current Victorian safety regulations, so we guarantee you’ll have peace of mind.