The festive season is here again and Whether you decide to decorate the entire house or simply just your Christmas tree, there are a number of electrical hazards that you should be aware of. Christmas is a common time for house fires, and a large proportion of these fires are directly caused by faulty electrics or electrical issues.
To reduce any unexpected accidents ruining your celebrations, we recommend taking a few minutes to read our Christmas electrical safety tips and advice.
1. Light Bulbs: It is wrong to assume that lightbulbs don’t have the potential of being an electrical hazard. Light bulbs, when kept near flammable materials, which include plastics, drapes, and beds or other items such as upholstery, can cause an electrical fire. Lights, like all sources of electricity, can also cause electric shock. When replacing a light bulb always turn the light switch off, and do not touch the light switch with wet hands. And also, use a light bulb with the correct wattage to prevent overheating.
2. Poor Wiring and Defective Electrical wires: Poor wiring can cause an electrical fire, power surges, arc faults, and other hazards. It is always advisable to avoid do-it-yourself electrical work and have professional electricians do the electrical wiring around your house. Frayed or worn-out electrical wires keep your home prone to electrical fires. To avoid this, have a qualified electrician check on your wiring regularly or routinely to ensure it is safe. If the need arises, replace old and faulty wires.
Some of these hazards include:
• Frayed appliance or extensions cords
• Cracked wire insulation caused by heat, corrosion or bending.
• Overheated wires or cords.
• Damaged electrical appliances
• Pinched or pierced wire insulation, which could occur from a chair leg sitting on an extension cord.
3. Outlets close to water: Do not install outlets or sockets close to living areas with water, they should be at a far distance away from the water source. Water conducts electricity, outlets near water can cause electric shock. Using a radio, hairdryer, phone or another device in the bathroom, near the pool or anywhere on a wet floor is wrong.
4. Wet hands: Handling electrical appliances with wet hands causes electric shock. We have often been guilty of reaching out for the hair dryer with wet hands while in the shower. Never keep electrical appliances close to sinks, bathtubs, showers or taps.
5. Pouring Water on electrical fires: When an electrical fire occurs pouring water on the flames further fuels the fire and can cause electrocution. Keep a fire extinguisher and use that instead of water in case of emergency. But if you don’t have one, turn off your electrical power and call the fire service. Never use water to put out an electrical fire.
6. Extension Cords: Use plastic socket closures on unused sockets. Your extension cords should be carefully fixed in place to avoid people tripping over them or accidents. Never use extension cords as a permanent substitute for additional power sockets, and avoid overloading them with too many appliances at once.
7.Covered extensions and Cords and Wires: Overheating can cause an electrical fire, this happens when you heavily cover up wires. To prevent overheating, make sure items like computers and televisions have enough space around them for ventilation and cords are kept uncovered.
Note: The best way to reduce the risk of electric hazards in your home is to install a safety switch, which is called residual current device (RCD). Do not do any electrical work on your own. Get a professional to fix your electrical problems.