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5 ways to check your electrics are safe this winter

Faulty electrics

Would you know where to start when it comes to checking what condition your electrics are in? We find out how easy it really is.

Did you know that electrical charity and specialists Electrical Safety First recommend that you get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) at least every 10 years, particularly as, every year around 20,000 house fires are caused by faulty electrics.

People over 65 are most at risk of a situation like this, due largely to the fact they tend to live in older properties with faulty electrics and old appliances.

But there are simple electrical checks you can make yourself, before calling in an electrician if there’s a serious problem.

Darren Staniforth, technical development manager for NICEIC, the UK’s leading voluntary regulatory body for the electrical contracting industry, says: “The lack of concern over electrical safety is not about not caring, but generally a lack of knowledge about what to look out for.”

So here’s what NICEIC and ELECSA recommend you look out for when it comes to reducing an electrical fault:

1. Ensure plug sockets are not damaged or scorched. Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication that something is not right with the wiring behind the walls and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further.

2. Check that leads or cables are not damaged or frayed.

3. Check that lights are working correctly and there are no signs of visible damage or buzzing sounds.

4. Check that sockets are not overloaded or that too many extension leads are in use.

5. Check that the main fuse box (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted. An RCD (Residual Current Device) will trip should it detect an overload in the circuit.

“By carrying out these simple checks, people will be able to reduce the risk of fire or spot something that could potentially lead to a problem in the future,” says Darren.

“If they see something that doesn’t seem to be working properly or may need further investigation, we always suggest they call their local registered electrician.

“A registered electrician will be able to rectify any faults or carry out an Electrical Inspection Condition Report (EICR) which will identify any potential issues that could lead to further problems.”

If you are at all concerned about your electrics, call a qualified electrician.

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