Ensuring that your home is electrically safe is vital for keeping your loved ones and property away from dangers such as electrical house fires, electrocution and other such accidents.
Electricity is dangerous and can be lethal when not treated with the due care and respect. If you aren’t familiar with the way domestic electrical systems and appliances work, it is absolutely crucial to use the services of a qualified electrician, and not do any of the check-ups, maintenance and repairs on your own as this may result in serious injury and extensive property damage caused by fires and explosions.
Some of the tell-tale signs of faults and issues in the average house electrical system are:
- Flickering light fixtures
If you see a light that’s flickering, dimming and then brightening up, or otherwise behaving strangely, then you definitely have a problem to look into.
- Hot switches
If you come across a light switch that’s heating up, then you have a wiring problem which can lead to shorts and cause bigger issues – don’t ignore the problem.
- Hot/wobbly power outlets
Power outlets can get hot when there is either too much current running through them, or when they are wobbly – thus they aren’t fitted and fastened properly to the wall. This can cause electrocution or a fire so take measures timely.
- Hot extension cords
Extension cords are for temporary use only and have different power rating thus they are meant to handle a certain amount of current or wattage running through them. A hot extension cord may be overloaded or damaged so replace it.
Note: A warm dimmer switch is not a problem, unless it is actually too hot to touch. Dimmer switches usually make use of a resistor material which is meant to reduce current thus turning it into heat energy which warms up the face plate of the dimmer switch.
NB: If you don’t seem to visually locate a specific electrical problem with your wiring, switches or power points, but your circuit breakers are still tripping, then you should stop resetting the system immediately i.e. stop lifting up the breaker, but cut off power and call in for qualified assistance.
All of the typical issues listed above, including the continuously tripping circuit breaker can be taken care of by a reasonably knowledgeable handyman i.e. yourself. No matter what you intend to do in terms of repairs, fixes and replacements, you must switch off power to the entire house before tweaking about with the electrical system.
Advice for households with young children:
Young children and electricity don’t really go well together. Children do not have the common sense and knowledge to protect themselves from electricity, but they have all the curiosity and mischief to get themselves in real trouble.
- First and foremost – block up unused power points using a power point cap. A cap will prevent a child from sticking their fingers and other household items in the power outlet.
- Hide all extension cords and install control panels such as light switch boards, dimmers, AC control panels etc. beyond the reach of young children.
- Teach children about electricity and make them understand that it can be lethal when mistreated. Ask your child to report to you if they see something wrong with parts of the electrical system around the house like a wobbly power point, a flickering light etc. but instruct them first not to touch anything.
- It is absolutely vital to forbid children from bringing and using any type of appliance in the bathroom and toilet, even when the power system of the house and the appliance itself are working properly.
Storms and protection from lightning electricity:
- In the case of severe storms, children should stay inside the house at all times in order to protect them from being struck by lightning.
- Children should not touch or use house appliances during a storm, especially if the house doesn’t have the best lightning protection.
- If the house does not have proper lightning protection, you are risking a house fire – do not leave children alone inside the house under these circumstances.