Did you know that a third of all accidental house fires are caused by faulty or misused electrical equipment?
A few simple checks and precautions can make all the difference to the safety of your home.
- Unplug appliances and electrical equipment when not in use, unless they are designed to be left on, like your fridge or freezer
- Regularly check for worn or frayed wires – always ensure cables are secured properly to the plug before plugging in anything
- Ensure tumble dryers and washing machines are cleaned and maintained – excess fluff can build up over time and catch fire
- Keep all appliances clean and in good working order – look out for fuses that blow, circuit-breakers that trip for no obvious reason and flickering lights
- Keep heaters clear from curtains and furniture – never use them to dry clothes
- Unplug your electric blanket before you go to bed, unless it has a thermostat for safe all-night use
- Check all of your appliances have a British or European Safety Mark. Get a qualified person to check if you are unsure
- Use an RCD (Residual Current Device). It works like a circuit breaker to protect against electric shocks and electrical fire risk
- Register your appliances so you will be the first to know of any safety repairs or recalls. www.registermyappliance.org.uk
- Don’t overload plug sockets – extension leads and adaptors will have a limit to how many amps they can take. Try to keep one plug per socket
- Don’t leave electric blankets folded as this damages the internal wiring. Store them flat or rolled up instead
- Don’t buy second hand blankets and check regularly for wear and tear
Socket Overload Calculator
Most people have extension leads in their homes, using 4-way bar adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket. However, although there is space to plug in four appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so.
Click here to use the Socket Overload Calculator and to get useful tips on how to avoid overloading your sockets.
View our safety videos below:
If you notice any of the warning signs below, ask a qualified electrician to check your wiring:
- hot plugs and sockets.
- fuses that blow for no obvious reason.
- lights that flicker.
- brown scorch marks on sockets, plugs and fuse boxes.
Small Electrical Appliances
- Use a proper ironing board and turn off the iron after use. Make sure the iron is left to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that may catch fire.
Portable electric devices ie laptops/hair straighteners should be placed on a well-ventilated surface and never left on beds or sofas
- Always switch off hair straighteners/curling tongs after use and leave to cool on a heat resistant surface away from curtains, carpets and anything else that can catch fire.
Electric blankets are a hazard in the home, particularly when they are old and badly maintained. Many of those affected by faulty blankets are elderly people. If you have an elderly relative or neighbour, make sure they know how to look after their electric blanket.