There are potential electrical safety hazards in every home. Thankfully, the risks associated with electricity in the home can be reduced or eliminated altogether by staying aware and taking proper safety precautions.
1. Old or Defective Wiring
Old, worn-out or defective electrical wiring is one of the most common – and dangerous – home electrical hazards, and has the potential to result in power surges and electrical fires.
Electrical wiring can degrade over time, and may not meet current safety standards. Be on the lookout for loose connections, such as electrical outlets or switches, and take note if you find your circuit breakers need to be set more than occasionally.
If your house is older, it’s worth having a registered electrician check your wiring and electrical components, and make any necessary repairs or upgrades.
2. Extension Cords & Multi Plug Adaptors
If you have to use an extension cord, double adaptor or multi-plug box, ensure it is carefully fixed in place to reduce the chance of tripping or accident, and never use them as a permanent substitute for additional power sockets.
Check your extension cords regularly for bends, fraying or damage, and avoid overloading multi-adaptors with too many appliances at once.
Few of us think of lightbulbs as being electrical hazards, but lights – like all sources of electricity – can cause electric shocks. Always turn the light switch off at the wall before replacing a light bulb, ensure you use a light bulb with the correct wattage to prevent overheating and never replace a light bulb or touch a light switch with wet hands.
4.Old or Damaged Appliances
Still using the toaster you inherited when you moved into your first flat? While they may look harmless, old or damaged home appliances also make our list of the most dangerous home electrical hazards.
Keep your eyes peeled for frayed appliance cords, cords that have been pinched or pierced, cords with insulation cracking (which could be caused by heat, corrosion or bending), over appliances that overheat.
Smartphone, tablet and laptop chargers are particularly susceptible to damage, so be sure to replace them at the slightest sign of wear and tear to avoid a safety mishap.
5. Exploring Children
Young children – particularly babies and toddlers – are extremely inquisitive, so it’s crucial that measures are taken to prevent them placing objects or fingers into electrical sockets, or pulling appliances down from their cords. While it’s best to supervise children of this age at all times, parents and caregivers can take extra safety steps by purchasing cheap and effective wall outlet covers, and ensuring appliance cords are tucked safely out of reach of little hands.
6. Wire-Chewing Pests & Pets
Electrical wire that has been chewed by pets or rodents can pose a serious risk to your home and family, so call in a pest control expert if you have signs of mice, and keep an eye on family pets. Puppies are particularly fond of chewing anything within reach, so keep cords and small appliances out of harm’s way where possible, or invest in some pet repellent that you can safely spray on cords.
7. Do It Yourself Wiring
Electrical wiring should NEVER be performed by anyone other than a qualified electrician, so always leave this to the experts! If you’ve purchased a house that appears to have some DIY electrical work done, this could pose a major health and safety risk. Seek the advice of an electrician if you’re unsure.
All of us know that water conducts electricity, but many Kiwis still suffer from shocks or serious injury each year when appliances are used too close to water or touched with wet hands.
To reduce your chance of injury, never use a radio, hair dryer, phone, or other device in the bath, near the pool, or anywhere with a wet floor, and be sure to dry your hands thoroughly before picking up any appliances.
9. Electric Blankets
Old or damaged electric blankets can pose a serious threat to your health and safety, so take care when using them in your home. If an electric blanket is showing signs of wear or deterioration, replace it, and never leave an electric blanket on when you leave the house or after you go to sleep.
Avoid folding your electric blanket when it’s not in use, as this can damage the wiring. Have a qualified electrician check your electric blanket each winter before use.
We use electronics day in and day out, so it’s easy to get complacent or careless about proper use. Unfortunately, one small mistake could result in serious injury, harm or even death – so remember to always take care using every appliance or electrical component in your home. Never stick anything into an appliance, attempt to repair an appliance yourself, or use electronics equipment for anything other than their intended use.
Need a qualified and registered electrician for an inspection, repair or upgrade? Give our team a call now!