Electrical safety in the home


In the modern home there are many dangers .

How often do we see on the nightly news the tragic consequences of household fires? Lives and property are lost due to no smoke alarms installed, smoke alarms installed but not functional (dead batteries, past expiry date), outdated electrical wiring systems and electrical circuit protection.

It is a sad fact that many people would rather have the latest home entertainment systems, than ensuring that their property and their loved ones are protected from electrical faults.

It is essential that homeowners carry out their own simple safety checks to prevent any potential disaster occurring. These safety checks should involve the following:

  • Visual inspection of powerpoints and light switches to see if the switches are functioning correctly ie is the switch physically broken, cracked or damaged in any way?

  • Are light switches and powerpoints securely fixed to the wall?

  • Do powerpoints have double adaptors or power boards that are overloaded with electrical appliances?

  • Testing smoke alarms with the in-built test button to ensure they are functioning correctly?

  • Checking to see if your switchboard (meter box) has ceramic type fuses?

Smoke Alarms

Many people do not realise that all smoke alarms (both battery operated and 240v mains powered) have a maximum life span of 10 years, records of dates when smoke alarms are installed should be kept to ensure that smoke alarms are replaced after 10 years of operation. Photo - Electric type smoke alarms have better smoke detection capabilities for slow smouldering fires common with synthetic materials burning such as furniture or carpets. Where as ionisation smoke alarms detect flame driven smoke such as fires occuring in the kitchen.

Installing hard wired (240V mains powered), rather than battery operated smoke alarms allows the owner to 'interconnect' mulitple smoke alarms in the house to allow warning of a fire if detected by one smoke alarm to trigger other connected smoke alarms in other areas of the house.

Ceramic Fuses (Rewireable fuses)

In older houses it is still common to have electrical circuit protection provided by ceramic type fuses (re-wireable fuses). Re-wireable fuses are no longer allowed for new home installations.

  • These fuses have poor arc-quenching characteristics often resulting in fies and explosions under short-circuit conditions.

  • The fuse wire has to be rewired when blown and can be replaced mistakenly with wire having a incorrect current rating (ie using power rated fuse wire in a lighting fuse).

  • The possibility of replacing a re-wireable fuse under fault conditions can result in nasty burns to the fingers.

Modern day RCBO (Residual current operated Circuit Breaker with Overcurrent protection) safety switches provide the best circuit protection against overloaded and/or short circuit electrical problems, ensuring that the risk of fire or electrical shock is minimised.

If you have any concerns about electrical safety in your household after reading this blog or any other questions about electrical safety requirements, feel free to contact WiseOne Electrical Services on 0418200753 for a no obligation discussion or select the Contact us button below to send an email with your enquiry.

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