30 Ways You Can Reduce Electrical Hazards In Your Home
Updated: Aug 24, 2021
Have you ever wondered how safe your home is?
Are you constantly worrying about your children encountering electrical hazards you didn't even know existed?
This document has been designed specifically for homeowners to have a guide of things to consider, check and update when it comes to electrical safety.
Did you know every householder in NSW has a legal responsibility to keep their home safe, including the way it uses electricity? Or, that if you own or run a business you’re responsible for the electrical safety of employees and everyone else on your premises?
Here are 30 ways to help keep your home and family as safe as possible.
Go through your house to check all power points and ensure they aren't overloaded.
How do you know if they are overloaded?
Do not 'piggy-back' one double adapter on top of another
Do not plug double adapters into power boards
#2 Hiding cables
Hiding cables is vital to help keep your little ones out of danger. By hiding your cables you minimise trip hazards, strangulation, and chewing on cables.
The link below has a range of products that help hide your cables to protect infants.
#3 Childproof your outlets
Are your powerpoint outlets childproof?
Whilst the plastic plugs are great, if your existing powerpoint/ wiring/ connections are faulty it can become a hazard.
Consider having an electrician install Shutter power points which are only active when an appliance is plugged in. They look like regular switches, but they close off the socket pinholes when an electrical device is removed.
#4 Appliances and water
Check all your outlets in your bathroom, kitchen and laundry (anywhere with water sources) to ensure the power points are a fair distance away from the taps.
#5 Electric blankets
Ensure you store your electric blankets safely by either rolling or hanging them to store.
Be sure not to let any toddlers/babies sleep on an electric, blanket especially when they are still using nappies or toilet training.
Check out this link to ensure your electric blanket hasn't been recalled.
#6 Test safety switches
It's recommended to test your safety switches every month. You just need to press the 'test' or T button. If the switch turns off, it's working and your circuit is protected.
It's good practice to put a calendar reminder on your phone to remind you at the start of every month to push the test buttons on your switchboard.
If you don't have a safety switch, we HIGHLY recommend booking an electrical safety inspection ASAP.
This is a life-saving device designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electrical shock. Without one installed, your dwelling is considered electrically unsafe.
#7 Extension cords
Go through your house and count how many extension cords you are using?
Consider having extra power points installed to avoid the use of extension cords, which opens up potential hazards to your family.
Also, remember to do a visual check on the extension cord, you do have to make sure it's in good condition.
#8 Save power
Walk through your house and turn off any power points that are not in use.
Saving power = saving $$$
Just remember, a powerpoint will only save electricity if something is plugged into it and turned off. If nothing is plugged into a powerpoint, leaving the switch on will not consume
electricity because there is no load.
We still recommend against leaving a powerpoint switched on unless it's in use.
#9 Set up reminders!
Set up reminders in your calendar to check your appliances, cords, and power points every two months.
Check for frays and damages. It's also a good time to dust these appliances and switches.
#10 How old is your house?
If your house is 20 years or older, it's strongly recommended to get your electrical wiring,
outlets, switchboard, and earthing connections checked.
In the inspection, an electrician will look for damage and faults, and check that any safety equipment in the switchboard hasn't been recalled.
#11 Do you have a pool?
Check that there are no extension cords anywhere near your pool. Analyse what appliances are in your pool area and see what can be removed or replaced with battery-operated appliances or an alternate safer option.
#12 Light it up!
Do you have lights in your pool?
Be sure to check they don't have any cracks and are sealed correctly. If they are faulty or cracked, it leaves you open to a headache and potential risk you don't want to deal with.
Your pool light transformers should be installed where the pool pump and equipment is, check to see if your transformer has built up rust or is in a frail condition.
#13 SAY WATT?
Do you know what the maximum wattage is for your lamp or light?
You can find out what this is by inspecting the light globe, just look for the number with 'W' after it. Always go LED when you can, they're more durable and energy-efficient.
#14 Major appliances
It's recommended that each of your households major appliances such as your fridge, washing machine, dishwasher, and dryer should be plugged directly into a wall outlet that is accessible.
If yours aren't, consider having an electrician install extra power points to avoid hazards.
#15 Kitchen hazards
Check what is surrounding your toaster, kettle, heater, coffee machine, dryer etc - anything that produces heat.
Be sure to remove anything flammable or combustible items including napkins, paper, cans etc.
Check your kitchen exhausts, fans, and dryers to ensure they are free of dust, grease, lint, and any other build-up.
A little trick that can be used to make sure the exhaust is effective is: grab a tissue and put it close to the fan to see if its sticks. This will determine if the fan suction power is still good.
Check your lamps are on a flat surface and away from curtains, beds and anything flammable.
Check your lamp cords and try and keep an LED globe instead of a halogen.
#18 Manufacturer paperwork
Do you have all your manufacturer paperwork together for all your appliances?
Consider collecting all the paperwork together into an expandable file to ensure everything is easily accessible. Not a paper person? Take photos or scan the documents and save on to a cloud folder such as Dropbox or Google Drive!
Consider adding in yearly reminders to check the warranties and the appliances for potential faults!
#19 Christmas lights
Before installing Christmas lights, be sure to check for any damages, frays etc. It could be the reason why the second half of your lights aren't turning on correctly.
#20 Check your switches on light and power outlets
Over the years, switches on power and lighting outlets (power points and light switches) can bust out and become faulty.
Look out for things like crackling/arcing noises when using the switch. If the switch looks like its popping out, has any burn mark or if the switch is held in a certain position and feels locked in place, we recommend calling an electrician to replace URGENTLY.
Check your Switchboard. Open the box and check for signs of age. This can be determined by being on the look-out for ceramic fuses and plug-in type circuit breakers. Each circuit should now have its own RCD protection (safety switch).
Make sure the correct safety switches have been installed in your switchboard because they are the only thing that saves a life when it comes to electricity.
#22 Change of seasons
Be sure to store things that are seasonal such as heaters and fans in cool, dry places. Before using again, be sure to dust and check for any damage to the wires.
#23 Protect your pet
Not only do you need to look out for your little ones, but you need to keep electrical hazards away from your pets.
Consider an electrical free zone - no power outlets, plugs etc around and have this as a safe space for your pet to be in when not able to be supervised wandering around the house.
#24 Outdoor electrical
Do you have an outdoor entertaining area?
Check over all the power points and cables that you use to ensure they are rated for outdoor use. The higher the IP rating the better the waterproofing is. Outdoor Electrical should have an IP rating of 65 and above.
#25 Keep cool
Did you know that majority of fans have a winter and summer setting?
There should be a switch on your fan that you can flick to turn your fan spinning direction in the opposite way to suck up the hot air!
#26 Fire safety
When was the last time you checked your batteries in your smoke alarm? Or the age of your smoke alarm? Did you know smoke alarms expire after 10 years?
Use today's tip to pull out your phone and put a calendar reminder every 6 months to check the batteries in your smoke alarm/s and to test that it works.
Empty out your toaster by tipping out any crumbs to avoid build-up. Set a reminder to do this every 3 months.
Considering renovating? Be sure to check that you hire a qualified electrician that is insured to do any kind of electrical work.
Check your phone charger cables. Be sure there are no frays and they are purchased and branded from your phone supplier to avoid damage and hazards!
#30 Outdoor safety
Check your garden areas and the tree's near your incoming power lines, make sure they are maintained and out of the way to avoid any potential hazards in different weather conditions, ie. windy days.
Was this article helpful? Download the free pdf guide to print at home or keep on your mobile device.
Here at Oztech Sparks Electrical, we pride ourselves on helping our community to be educated on all electrical requirements and safety.
We would love to hear your thoughts on how you found this article!
Check-in and tag #oztechsparkselectrical when you implement our tips and tricks!
Why not book an electrical safety inspection by us to thoroughly go through your
house to ensure it is as safe as possible.