How shocking is your home electrical safety?
As we usher in the new year and say good riddance to 2020, we thought we should get back to basics by making sure electrical home safety is up to scratch. Schools are still out which means kids are at home, potentially getting up to mischief, it is also our stormy season which means lightning strikes and electrical surges are frequent and I’m sure that home ‘to-do-list’ needs to be tackled while on leave. The saying ‘common sense ain’t that common’ comes to mind with regards to electrical safety in the home. We are around electricity every day and forget just how dangerous it can be. Here are 20 + 21 electrical safety tips for 2021 to make sure your home and family are safe.
Inside the Home
If anything trips in your DB on a regular basis get it checked out. Don’t wait for something drastic to happen.
Water is a NO NO. Keep electrical equipment, points, circuits and tools away from water, indoor plants or any water-containing item to prevent shock or potential fire. Never touch or work with electrical items with wet hands as it increases the conductivity of the electric current, in others words, OUCH!
Do not overload plug points or a single outlet as this causes overheating and can become a fire hazard.
Unplug your appliances when not in use so that they can not be damaged or affected by surges.
Be sure to give your appliances proper space for air circulation to avoid overheating.
Use surge protectors and/or lightning protectors on your DB board to protect the whole house.
Unplug telephone lines and/or other lines that don’t run from the DB, like fibre, as these can be affected by lightning.
Even with a surge arrestor, appliances can still be damaged through the satellite dish when lightning strikes. Bonding and strapping (earthing) your dish can lessen the damage.
Do not run extension cords under rugs and inside walls.
Switch to LED lighting as much less heat is emitted compared to halogens thus less of a fire hazard, especially when in close contact to material items like curtains and lamp shades.
Do not pull plugs out using the cable as it strips and damages the cable creating a potential hazard.
Check your appliances regularly for faults in switches, plugs and frayed cords, especially irons and movable fans.
Unwind cords fully during use to prevent overheating.
Service aircon and clean exhaust fans to prevent fire hazard.
If you have a generator, do not feed it back into your house, get it connected correctly through a changeover switch and through the DB.
If you use solar-power, back-up batteries or generators, install an inverter so that electricity can be safely switched between main power and your alternative source without damaging any appliances in the home.
If you are having issues and cannot figure it out, turn off your main switch to avoid further complications.
Outside your home
When installing outside lighting be sure the electrical joins are covered as children or animals playing outside can touch the join and get shocked.
Ensure exposed outdoor light fittings & plug points are waterproof – water & electrical do not mix.
By having a plug socket turned off doesn’t stop one from being shocked if something, like a little finger, is put into the holes. So for child protection, place plug top covers over ALL the sockets.
Teach children to never put metal objects into the toaster like a knife or fork.
Store kitchen and bathroom electrical appliances, such as toasters and hair dryers, as well as cables and cords out of the reach of children.
Do not climb on power poles or trees near power lines
Never fly kites near power lines
Keep away from broken or fallen power lines
Keep away from anything that has a electrical warning sign
Home Improvements & Repairs
Use a certified and recommended electrician to do electrical work or repairs around your home to ensure it is done correctly the first time.
Be sure the main switch ‘isolator’ is switched off when doing any electrical work. It is also a good idea to put up a sign saying you are doing electrical work on the service panel/DB so that nobody turns the main switch on by accident
Always use insulated tools and the appropriate insulated rubber gloves and goggles while working with electrical items or on any branch circuit or other electrical circuit.
Never use equipment with frayed cords, damaged insulation or broken plugs.
Be sure to replace or repair damaged cables.
Turn off light switches when replacing a light bulb.
Do not leave any power tools unattended.
Never try repairing energized equipment. Always check by using an electrical tester that it is de-energized first. Check all the wires, the outer metallic covering of the service panel and any other hanging wires with an electrical tester before proceeding with your work.
Avoid using an aluminum or steel ladder if you are working on any receptacle at height. An electrical surge will ground you and the whole electric current will pass through your body. Use a wooden or a fiberglass ladder instead.
Use the recommended size cabling during installations to avoid the risk of a fire or short circuit.
When doing electrical joins in the home ensure the join is insulated properly to avoid the risk of fire
Know where your electrical wires are before drilling on walls or digging holes in the garden.
Check for loose connections or warm sockets as this signifies an electrical wiring problem.
Electrical hazards include exposed energized parts and unguarded electrical equipment which may become energized unexpectedly. Such equipment always carries warning signs like “Shock Risk”. Always be observant of such signs and follow the safety rules.
Water will NOT put out electrical fires! It may seem to put out the flames at first but will fuel the fire more. Only fire extinguishers/fire retardant chemicals can put an electrical fire out. Install an extinguisher, if you haven’t done so already.
The safety of your loved ones and your home is always of paramount importance and we hope that these 20 + 21 electrical safety tips will help you in 2021 to have a safe and successful year without any shocking surprises.
Remember, if you require any of these above products or advice visit one of Northside Electrical's branches or call and chat to a sales consultant to personally assist you with your specific needs. Northside provides the KZN region with superior quality electrical, lighting and security products with remarkable service.
Red Hill - 031 569 1005 firstname.lastname@example.org
Ballito - 032 946 0977 email@example.com
Durban North – 031 564 5692 firstname.lastname@example.org
Hillcrest – 031 765 4140 email@example.com
Umbilo – 031 942 7755 firstname.lastname@example.org