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Identifying Electrical Risks in the Home


One aspect of home safety that many people often overlook is their electricity. In the United Kingdom, electricity is responsible for over 20,000 home fires a year, which adds up to be nearly half of all total fires. Additionally, electrical accidents in the home kill 70 people per year and injure around 350,000. Therefore, it's extremely important to make sure your power is running properly. Old wiring, persnickety fuses, and buzzing from plug sockets can all be signs of problems to come.

Fix Old Wiring Before It Becomes an Issue

This is the number one cause of home electrical fires, so it's imperative to check! Homes that were constructed before or during the 1960s often have tell-tale signs of old wiring. Some of this wiring may still be in good condition and completely functional, but more often than not it will need to be updated to prevent accidents. In particular, keep a look out for:

  • Any cables covered in black rubber
  • Any cables covered in lead or fabric
  • Fuse boxes that have cast iron switches, wooden backs, or a random combination of fuses
  • Round pin sockets and round light switches
  • Braided flex hanging from ceiling roses
  • Brown and black switches or sockets mounted in skirting boards
  • Light switches mounted on the wall in bathrooms

It's Not Normal for the Fuse to Keep Blowing

While blowing out fuses in your home is a nuisance, it is also a sign of a deeper problem. In many older homes, fuses were typically designed to be re-wireable. This means that when it receives an overloaded current, it disconnects in order to prevent danger. In the process of disconnecting, the fuse wire gets so hot that it melts and needs to be replaced.

This typically occurs when the electrical system is overloaded and is a sign of bad wiring or a too low amp capacity. Either way, it is important for you to have an expert examine your system to prevent fires or damage to your electronics.

That Crackling Could Be a Sign of Something Serious

The easiest way to know when your outlets are going bad is when you start to hear a crackling or buzzing noise coming from them. This is actually the sound of the electricity arcing. In addition, you may see burn marks or the socket may feel hot to the touch. There are a number of reasons for this to occur, including short circuiting outlets, water in the outlet, old wiring, or poorly performed repairs.

As soon as you notice this problem, be sure to carefully remove all plugs from the socket. If you are pulling out a cable, don't yank, as this puts pressure on it and could damage the connection with the socket. Don't use the socket again until you've had a qualified electrician inspect and repair it.

It is important to keep safety in mind when dealing with electronic components in the home. Call David Gray Electrical Services today to schedule a free estimate or a safety inspection.