|Posted on 29 July, 2014 at 19:10|
Electrical Fire Safety Tips for the Home
Electrical fires are a huge danger in Nelson and electricians come accross very outdated dangerous unsafe switchboards that are in need of an immedaite upgrade to todays saftey standards. Unlike regular fires, which can be put out by water, electrical fires require a special kind of fire extinguisher before it can be put out. Water is unsafe to use because the electricity in the fire can be conducted to anything that the liquid touches. This means that anyone who gets wet can be electrocuted as well. the good news is, electrical fires can be prevented. Here are a few tips on how.
Do not overload socket outlets
Overloading power outlets by plugging multiple appliances in at a time through extension cords and multi power boards. Doing this overworks the electrical circuit and exposes your home to the risk of electrical fire. You can still use extension cords, but you'll have to pay attention to what you plug in.
Before plugging anything into your extension cord, check its current rating, which is usually listed on the product's back or underside. The trick is to not plug in appliances that will collectively go over the extension cord's current rating. Exceeding this could cause the wall socket to overheat or even catch fire if there is insufficient protection installed in your switchboard due to old ceramic type fuse's having the wrong rated fuse wire put in them by mistake of the home owner.
To play it safe, use only one extension cord for each power outlet. Never plug an extension cord into another one.
Use only appliances that meet safety standards
The price of your electrical appliance doesn't guarantee its safety and quality. Instead, stick to devices that have been tested to meet safety guidelines. Choose appliances that carry safety testing certifications as these products provide better electrical safety in your home.
Get a RCD safety switch installed
Residual-Current Device Safety switch circuit breaker. It's an electrical safety device that monitors the flow of electricity coming in and out of a circuit. If the switch detects that there is a flow of current to the ground, like if a faulty appliance is plugged in or someone inserts a utensil into a toaster, the power supply will automatically shut off. RCD Safety switches can cut the power supply in as little as only 30 milliseconds.
RCD safety switches save lives, which is why it has been a legal requirement for electricians to install them in new homes in Nelson since the 1990s. If your home was built before that time, then have a safety switch installed. Just make sure you test it every three months to ensure that it's functioning properly.
Keep a close eye on young children
If you have young children in your home, keep a close eye on them whenever you can. Do not let them play with power sockets, cords, and electrical appliances--especially ovens, space heaters, cookers, televisions, and other similar devices that can harm them. Because of this, you should see to it that all power outlets in your home have plastic socket covers.
Check for correct wattage of light bulbs before using them
Did you know that one of the common causes of electrical fires in Nelson is when people install a bulb with the wrong wattage? Placing a bulb with higher wattage could cause the light fitting and the circuit to overheat and start an electrical fire. As a result, you should always check that you have the right bulb. The information you need is on the bulb itself, so finding out shouldn't be a problem. If you're not sure, you can always ask and electrician.
Don't forget to look at the socket where the bulb is going to be installed. It should have a sticker that shows the maximum wattage.
Stop doing DIY electrical work
Changing a light bulb shouldn't be a too difficult. However, once the project becomes more complex, you should call an electrician instead of doing electrical work by yourself. Do-it-yourself (or DIY) electrical work is dangerous; if you do it wrong (and it's likely if you're not a certified electrician), you could cause a fire or get electrocuted. Most of all, certain unlicensed electrical work is against the law.
Ensure proper ventilation of appliances
As a safety precaution, keep electrical appliances away from flammable material like clothes, carpets, and curtains. Electrical appliances commonly heat up when used after a while so you should ensure that there's enough space between the device and any combustible items.
Don't use appliances that smell, jolt, or emit heat
Does any of your power cords or electrical appliances feel unusually hot, cause minor shocks, or emanate a strange, metallic smell? If so, stop using them. These problems are probably caused by a short circuit in the appliance. Continued use could lead to overheating, further jolts, or even electrical fire.
Install smoke alarms in your home
According to statistics, 88 per cent of deaths caused by fires in residences are those with no smoke alarms. Most of these fires happen at night when people are asleep. Interestingly, half of these deaths were due to smoke inhalation, not burns. If for some reason your home still doesn't have a smoke alarm, you should have several installed right away.
The best places to put a smoke alarm are in sleeping areas and hallways leading from bedrooms, provided that there's no strong breeze that can carry smoke particles away. To avoid false alarms, don't put a smoke alarm in kitchens, bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, and near fireplaces. If you already have smoke alarms in your home, make sure they're always in good condition and have functioning batteries.