Electrical Safety Tips
Electrical safety in your home
Most homeowners are not aware of potential electrical hazards around the home.
You could die or suffer serious injury because of electrical hazards. In South Africa, there are numerous causes for these hazards: unlawful connections, vandalism, cable theft etc.
The biggest hazard to electrical safety remains poor electrical wiring. Overloading of electrical plugs and faulty electrical appliances is the next biggest hazard.
According to the Fire Protection Association, electrical shorts cause more than 5,000 house fires each year. These result in more than 300 deaths annually.
- A shock from an electrical appliance, e.g. toaster, stove or washing machine.
- The smell of burning metal or plastic indicating a potential loose or broken connection, or a damaged wire.
- Flickering or dimming lights can indicate a loose connection, overloaded circuits, improper wiring, or arcing and sparking inside the walls.
- Hot, discoloured switch plates, cords or plugs, which indicate an overload or product malfunction.
- Too many appliances plugged into a single outlet can overload the plug circuit.
- A faulty circuit breaker can cause a fire on your distribution board.
- A wavering picture on the TV or computer screen may indicate that too many appliances are plugged into one circuit, or that the home needs additional electrical capacity.
If any of these problems present themselves: Switch off the mains! Get a qualified electrician to correct the problem immediately!
The International Electrical Safety Foundation recommends an electrical safety inspection for any house older than 40 years.
The same applies to houses older than ten years where renovations have been done, or major appliances have been added.
- Tamper with plugged in appliances.
- Touch an electrical appliance, e.g. hairdryer or shaver, with wet hands.
- Use an appliance, e.g. a kettle or a heater, which causes the power to trip.
- Use power tools for anything other than their original purpose. (Always wear shoes and safety glasses when using any such equipment.)
- Be barefoot when operating an electric lawnmower.
- Use electrical cords or extensions with exposed wires.
from an article by My Property