Many people don’t realise the serious dangers of not having their household electrics tested. It’s easy to sit back and expect the TV to switch on as soon as you point the remote towards it, or the phone charger to just keep charging and the kettle to keep boiling.
But when was the last time you checked the cables attached to your appliances? Or looked at the condition of the plug sockets they’re attached to, which are no doubt getting piled up with gadgets? And when was the last time your main fuse board (or Consumer Unit as it is now known) was professionally inspected? And what about all the unseen wiring running through the structure of the house?
The dangers of not having your household electrics tested are simply not worth the risk.
Hazards in the Home
We find all sorts of problems when we’re asked to carry out inspections. Some of the electrics haven’t been inspected, let alone updated, in the past 10 or more years. What people don’t appreciate is that this puts you at serious risk, along with your loved ones, and your home.
The biggest danger we find when carrying out inspections are loose connections. If cabling becomes worn, damaged, or disconnected, which can often happen over time, you could start to notice electric shocks. In fact, poor wiring is one of the biggest causes of household fires.
Cracked or missing socket covers can leave access to live wires or parts of the electrical circuit. You may not notice it for some time, and if children or pets happen to be playing around the area or with the socket, they could be heading for danger. However, socket covers are not always advised as the best alternative. Unless they are perfectly fitted, permanent damage can be caused to the socket, which could also remain unnoticed over time. The best advice is always to try to keep children in safe play areas, but obviously check your sockets for any visible damage and arrange for them to be repaired or replaced by a registered electrician.
Earthing around the home is used to protect you from electric shocks. The earth within a circuit is a safety conductor, which causes the safety device (circuit breaker or fuse) to switch off the live flow and provides a better path for the current to flow through. It is also important that any pipework is earthed to ensure no damage is caused if it comes into contact with any live currents (so always use a qualified plumber for your pipework).
Faulty safety devices – such as fuses and circuit breakers. As above, with faulty devices, chances of shock and fire increases.
Faulty Residual Current Devices (RCD). An RCD is a safety device that will trip and stop, or divert, the flow of electricity preventing you from getting an electric shock and prevent a fire breaking out. If they are faulty, they are useless!
Some homes don’t have an RCD fitted. If your home is an older house which hasn’t been updated, you may have a single RCD installed, or may not even have an RCD at all. Now is the time to get one fitted to prevent unnecessary accidents, shocks, or fires.
Water and Electrics!
Another thing you are excused for taking for granted is that your shower is suitable for doing its job. Why wouldn’t it be? But in fact, we are called out to many homes where the shower unit is not adequate or in safe working condition. And we all know that water and electricity simply don’t mix! Again, this is something that is more dangerous than you might imagine, and you don’t spend time checking your shower units before you step in first thing in the morning. Yet it seriously could be the last thing you do!
We see examples of bathroom lighting not being up to scratch or even the right type of lights or switches. Switches and sockets inside the bathroom instead of pull cords; light fittings hanging loose instead of secure within the ceiling or walls; and electrics within the bathroom which aren’t protected. Shaver points are an exception to keeping electricity away from your sink or bath/shower units, as these are specifically designed to meet safety standards.
The dangers of not having your household electrics tested – In Summary
Our advice is, if you are ever in doubt about the safety of your electrics, always contact a registered electrician. It is simply not worth taking any risks or including electrical installations or repairs amongst your DIY jobs.
We recommend that if your home is more than 30 years old, an annual ‘visual’ inspection will be sufficient to ensure your electrics continue to be safe and fully operational. With a full inspection and EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) completed every 2-3 years. For newer properties this can be stretched to every 3-5 years.
It’s now also mandatory for landlords to have an EICR in place at all times, and to provide this to tenants and Local Authorities on request.
After all, electricity is the most dangerous thing in your home, and the above highlights the dangers of not having your household electrics tested. Please don’t take risks. We want you to be reassured that you, your loved ones, your tenants, and your property are safe. If you would like to arrange an inspection or simply talk through your electrical concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact us.