Avoiding electrical dangers in your home

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Common electrical hazards are found all around the home – from exposed electrical pins to overloaded or broken power points. Sometimes, these risks aren’t so obvious, but the consequences of not protecting against them are very real.

Here are just a few of the hidden electrical dangers you might find around your house.

Yellowed laptop cords

Frayed cords and broken power points are easily spotted electrical risks. But did you know that if your laptop charger begins to turn yellow near the connector, it can mean the cord is overheating and fraying internally? This issue can build up overtime and lead to a power surge or combustion.

The best solution is to have your cable checked out by an electrician or return it to your local supplier for replacement.

Outlets close to water

Everyone knows that electricity and water don’t mix – but did you know that even having power points in your bathroom presents a risk? In the United Kingdom, rules about domestic power use mean that it’s rare to see power outlets in the bathroom at all.

To stay safe, it’s important that power points are installed and operated far away from active water supplies to remove the chance of electric conduction. When using a powered device near water, all cables should be tucked away and handled with care, and it’s a good idea to supervise your kids when using tools like electric toothbrushes in the bathroom.

Wet shoes

Dry shoes in the bathroom will help you avoid the risk of electric shocks conducted through water on the floor. Electric shocks are far more likely to be fatal with wet or bare feet, so any footwear worn needs to be protective and made of a material like rubber that is ‘non-conductive,’ meaning it won’t attract electricity.

Permanent appliance fixtures

Keeping appliances permanently plugged in, particularly around the bathroom, is dangerous. Even if appliances are turned off, being close to a sink or bathtub with running water can cause electric shocks.

These appliances might turn on suddenly without proper care, or when used by young children, so make sure to unplug them after every use and store them safely away.

Young children

As parents will be well aware, young kids can be hazards all on their own. Electrical equipment and power points that aren’t protected from inquisitive fingers carry the risk of causing extreme, long-lasting harm. The first step to protect against this is educating kids from a young age about the consequences of playing with electricity and supervising them when playing around the house.

For an added layer of protection, make sure that power points are safe with certified plug covers, and keep powered devices out of their reach.

Lightbulbs

Like any electrical device, lightbulbs can be dangerous – although the risks surrounding them are often misunderstood. Not only can changing a lightbulb cause an electric shock, fitting them near flammable materials like sheets or plastic can cause burns or spark a fire.

Only change a lightbulb with dry hands or insulated material with the power off, and always use a corresponding bulb to reduce the risk of a power overload.

Cables stored in enclosed spaces

All cables need enough space for heat to escape, or they might overheat and burn through their protective coverings. Storing multiple cables in small, enclosed spaces also increases the risk of overheating and damaged cabling. Make sure all cables have plenty of space for heat to escape.

Outdoor lamps

Do you have a lamp or lantern gathering dust in your backyard? Be careful before you turn it on again – a broken lamp can contain live filaments that cause shocks. Lamps are usually fitted with a protective guard to protect these parts, but double check that it’s still intact before operating it.

Keeping everyone in your house safe from harm can be a challenging task but following these tips will help your family stay happy and healthy.

Want to show your commitment to electrical safety in the home? Sign the Shock Factor pledge and share it around.