When it comes to electrics, there are many common problems that can occur in any room around the home. Many of these issues can be safely seen as non-dangerous and can be fixed immediately through simple instructions or actions. Some however, can be seen as extremely hazardous issues due to high voltages, open cables and running electrics mixing with materials.
Especially families that have young children, this is something you desperately want to avoid, no matter where you are in the home. Of course, certain rooms contain certain dangers when it comes to electrical appliances, but all areas of the home must be considered and treated with the same importance. This is where these little problems can become big issues if not dealt with immediately, as many people are prone to ignoring slight electrical issues that can later become potentially fatal. Lets have a look at each room in the home and see where electrical faults can lie and how they can be stopped in the future.
The kitchen is the most common area in the home where fires start and can cause fatal damage to the rest of your home. The most common way for a fire to start was by a household object being placed too close to a source of heat. It’s all too easy to do. Who hasn’t chucked a tea towel onto a countertop next to a lit hob, or left a chopping board or oven glove too close?
In fact, last year alone, cookers and ovens equated to 8000 fires in the UK, with a number of other appliances topping the list also. The statistics are as follows for 2021:
- Cooker, including oven – 8,001 fires
- Standalone hob or hot plate 1,581 fires
- Grill or toaster – 1,368 fires
- Microwave oven – 922 fires
- Tumble dryer – 668 fires
- Washing machine – 624 fires
- Fridge/freezer – 215 fires
- Dishwasher – 194 fires
- Deep fat fryer – 186 fires
- Extractor fan – 182
In order to combat and reduce these figures going forward, there are many steps you can take within the kitchen to prevent these potential incidents from occurring.
Don’t leave appliances on when you go out, especially tumble dryers. If possible, unplug small electrical items that aren’t in use.
Clean your appliances. This includes checking the filter in your tumble dryer and wiping up spills and cleaning away built-on grease on extractor fans and in ovens. Empty your toaster regularly as well.
Look out for signs of faulty electrical wiring, like flickering lights and hot plugs, and do not use the appliance until it is checked and fixed by an engineer or electrician.
Get into a habit of keeping items away from your hob and toaster. Don’t leave a bread board on your hob or drop your tea towel on the counter next to it. Keep the area around these appliances clear.
Water is an efficient carrier of electricity, but as I’m sure you know, if the two mix, the results can be lethal. The bathroom is therefore known as the most dangerous room in the house with regards to electrical safety. There is also the added peril that skin wet from the shower, bath or basin reduces a body’s resistance, making an electrical shock all the more likely. Our top tips include:
- Electrical sockets are not allowed to be in a bathroom or shower room unless they are at least three metres from the bath or shower. Electric shaver points must be a safe distance from a bath or shower to avoid splashing.
- All light fittings that are not enclosed should be out of reach of someone using, or still wet from using, a bath or shower. Ordinary wall switches are a danger due to wet hands and general dampness. A ceiling-mounted pull cord is the best option.
- Central heating is the best method of heating a bathroom or shower room. Any electric heater must be fitted at a safe distance from the bath or shower. Ideally, they should be controlled by a switch or pull cord located outside the room.
- An electric shower should be powered by its own circuit directly from the fuse box.
- Mains powered portable appliances such as hairdryers, heaters or radios should not be taken into a bathroom or shower room.
The bedroom is the area of the home we spend the most of our time in, day in, day out. Whether this be getting ready for the day, drying off after a shower or straightening your hair, we spend a large amount of our time in this room of the house (and we haven’t even mentioned sleeping!). as humans, we can be forgetful people, so leaving appliances on around the bedroom will not only waste electrical use and increase monthly bills, but it can also cause hazards if equipment is left hot or on completely. Especially with hair dryers, straighteners, fans and alarm clocks, these appliances can easily be left on by mistake when in a rush in the morning, but if these household items are either damaged or heavily used and old, this can be the starting point to causing problems.
According to research from electrical supplier Electrical Direct, based on government figures, there were 15,000 domestic fires related to appliances in England between April 2019 and March 2020. Most fires related to appliances aren’t caused by faults in the appliances themselves. Instead, it’s the mistakes people make when using them and leaving them running.
In fact, faulty appliances alone cause 43 fires a week in homes in England.
Our top tips are…
- Before leaving your home in the morning, make sure to check every plug is turned off at the source, ensuring that these items are not left running throughout the day.
- The most common way for a fire to start was by a household object being placed too close to a source of heat, so make sure appliances are kept isolated from each other.
- Make sure you don’t overburden your outlets. If you use power strips, don’t use them with large appliances. Make sure that large appliances have a plug point to themselves.
- Check your wires and cables regularly. Don’t stretch them or run them under rugs. Keep them away from heat sources. If they are frayed or damaged, don’t switch on your appliance.