MOT Your Home - Warnings About The Dangers of the Electrical DIYThe new researches have revealed that homeowners are risking their lives by not getting their electrics fully checked, leaving potentially deadly faults lurking in thousands of homes. The NICEIC survey reveals that nearly nine out of ten (89%) homeowners don’t really think about getting their electrics fully tested, with eighty eight percent (88%) confessing that getting their gas boiler checked is more important to them. Over a third (32%) admitted they have never had the electrics in their home fully tested.
That’s why NICEIC has launched ‘MOT Your Home’, a national consumer safety campaign warning homeowners about the dangers of electrical DIY. Fronted by home-improvement expert, Linda Barker, the new campaign encourages homeowners whose property is over 10 years old to employ a registered electrician to carry out a Periodic Inspection Report, which acts like an MOT for the property. Linda Barker, NICEIC spokesperson, says:
I’ve teamed up with the NICEIC to encourage consumers to get their homes checked and make electrical safety a top priority. Even though it’s tempting to try and save a few pennies where possible at the moment, a simple home MOT could save lives. To help homeowners ensure optimum electrical safety in their home I’ve put together some simple tips and advice to protect families and homes from electrical fire risks.In this campaign, Linda Barker and Tony Cable from NICEIC provide some tips and advice to help you protect your family and home from electrical shock and fire risks:
- It's essential to ensure that sockets and switches are checked and repaired on a regular basis, especially after a prolonged use. Keep your eyes open for any obvious signs of over-heating or damage at socket-outlets and switches. Also, be aware of plugs that are hot to the touch, the smell of melting plastic and brown scorch marks - as these are among the first signs of an electrical defect.
- The flexible cables for extension leads and the appliances must also be checked regularly, ideally before each use. Be aware of any fraying and never touch frayed or exposed wires - this could result in painful burns, muscle spasms or at worst they can stop your heart from beating. Never try to tape up an old cable when damage is found - it is much safer to replace it instead. Also, make sure that you don't run cables under carpets or rugs - you will not be able to notice any damage to them and this might ultimately result in a fire.
- Do not overload sockets as this significantly increases the risk of fire, especially if powerful appliances like kettles, toasters, and hairdryers are plugged in. The use of extension leads and adaptors should be kept to a minimum and they should never be overloaded - they have a limit on how many AMPs they can take, and if this limit is exceeded, they could overheat, thus causing a fire. If you don't have enough sockets in your home, ask a registered electrician to fit some more for you.
- When you're seeking an electrician, always make sure you look among those registered with a Government-approved scheme, such as NICEIC. Only then can you ensure that any electrical work carried out in your home is safe and it also complies with the Building Regulations.
- When you replacing a plug top fuse, be sure to use one with the correct current rating(Amps) for the appliance, so that it does not overheat. Check in a manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to be sure. Remember: if a fuse blows for no obvious reason, it may be that the incorrect current rating fuse has been used for the appliance!
- Be sure not to put any electric heaters near curtains or furniture, or dry clothes on them, as this might result in a dangerous fire which can spread quickly. Be aware of warnings printed on the appliance or in the manual such as usage times and instructions to keep the appliance uncovered.
- Electrical equipment and electrical appliances deteriorate with use and over time. For this reason, it is advisable that you get them checked, inspected, and tested by a registered electrician periodically. Even if they seem to be working well, there may be internal deterioration that cannot be seen - which, if left undetected, may increase the risk of a fire!
- You can't smell it, touch it, or taste it, but electricity can kill! If the electrics in your property are over 10 years old, it is recommended that you employ a registered electrician to carry out a Periodic Inspection. The NICEIC contractors offer a "housecheck" (Periodic Inspection Report), which acts as an MOT for your home to confirm its condition and check that the electrics are satisfactory, keeping your family safe.
- Always turn off electrical appliances when not in use, especially at night. You don't need to turn off electrical appliances that need to be on permanently, such as fridges and freezers, but be especially wary of leaving on heating appliances such as ovens, electric heaters, and hair straightners.
- In case of an electrical fire, where it is safe to do so, switch off and unplug the appliance or switch off the power at the fuse box. Do not put water on fire, just get out of the house quickly and call 999.