Here at PAT-Services we’re always on about electrical safety. It’s for a very good reason though, as electricity is much more dangerous than we usually think.
Take, for example, recent figures released by Buckingham Fire and Rescue. The fire service reported that around the Buckingham area in the first eight months of 2012 they’ve had to attend over 200 fires caused by faulty electrical appliances. Although no one was killed in the blaze, the fact that electrical items causing fires around a certain area is so high shows just how dangerous electricity can truly be.
Here are a few common household errors and what you should do to avoid them:
Building a Tower with Your Plugs
Generally, most common plug sockets have two outlets. Of course there’s exceptions to the rule, but, generally, there’s two.
This starts a bit of a problem often in the home. After plugging in your TV and DVD player, you’re left without any plugs left. What to do?
The logical choice is to buy a double adapter, allowing you to use two plug sockets in one. That’s fine, but what about when you’ve plugged in your TV, DVD player, Bluray Player, PS3 and Xbox 360 you still need more plugs?
You buy another double adapter and plug it directly into the other double adapter, right?
This is extremely dangerous, and building a proverbial tower out of double adapters like they’re a LEGO house certainly isn’t recommended as it puts strain on the plug socket and means exceptional amounts of electricity are being outputted through an extremely dangerous setup. Which certainly isn’t a good thing.
If you do need to plug in loads of stuff in one space, you should never, ever overload a plug socket. Instead you should buy a larger adapter that sits on your floor and allows more plugs to be inserted, as using double adapter stacks could really end up damaging the delicate circuitry inside your outlets!
Frayed Wire Investigative Techniques
Like plug sockets, our wires are something we tend to take for granted as well.
They’re usually tucked neatly out of sight with JML cable ties or tangled up in such devastatingly complex knots it makes you feel nauseous just to look at them (Christmas lights –eurgh), but our wires should be looked at more regularly than most of us tend to do.
Frayed and damaged wires turn a neat electrical appliance into an extremely dangerous one. If you’ve ever used a cable that looks a bit dubious, you really shouldn’t have. Trust me, I know. Once I continued using a laptop charger even though I knew it had frayed bits. Needless to say that promptly was thrown out after the thing started sparking at me!
In order to stop this rather scary situation from happening to you as well, it’s important that you regularly give your wires a quick check over to make sure they look alright. If they don’t, don’t use them!
To perform a wire check first of all check the wire over visually for damage, then run your hands across it to look for signs of wear and tear, before checking that the plug socket and connector at each end are still in good working order.
Switch It Off!
Popping out to the shops after straightening your hair? Have you double checked you’ve switched off your straighteners? The Buckinghamshire fire service reports that a lot of the fires they had to attend were caused by dangerous items like hair straighteners being left on, so turning them off really is high priority!
It’s not just stuff like that either. Although it can be a bit of a pain to do sometimes, you should really switch off your electrical items whenever you go out, just to make sure. With electricity it doesn’t pay to dabble with the risk!
Unless, like Michael Mcintyre says, it’s the fridge. Which we trust. Not sure why.
An RCD, or residual current device, is an essential component. The ESC (Electrical Safety Council) has been campaigning recently for increased awareness of these devices, and we’re echoing their wishes here in this blog.
These devices basically make sure a circuit is disconnected immediately if the electrical current is not balanced, instantly sealing off the circuit and stopping the flow of electricity.
I hate to bring myself into this again but like some interfering gnat I’m going to have to, as recently the shower at my home tripped out as soon as I switched it on. While this wasn’t good for me as I A) couldn’t have a shower and B) was left standing in darkness as all the electricity had gone off, it was a good thing as a huge surge of power through a thing that pushes out water certainly wouldn’t have been a very good thing.
An RCD is basically that extra guarantee you should always have against electrical surges. It’s a safety tool that’s simple in nature, but an essential component of electrical installations.