Electricity is an incredible thing. Indeed, the modern world white simply couldn’t function without it. In the wrong hands, however, it can be dangerous and even deadly. That’s why, when your home or business requires electrical maintenance or rewiring, it’s not a job that should be taken lightly and should always be done directly, or under the supervision of, a qualified electrical engineer.
However, there are going to be times in your work and home life when it’s impractical to call in the help and you might need to handle the electronics yourself. For these situations, we’ve put together a handy and concise guide of simple safety tips to keep you and your electrics from going up in smoke.
Fuse box tipping
It’s a common phrase to use when we’re suddenly cast into darkness – “I must have tripped a fuse,” but fuses don’t technically trip anymore. Decades ago, power overloads caused the lead and ceramic bars held in the fuse box to melt and they had to be replaced.
In the last few decades, however, these bars have been replaced with simple electrical levers that cut off automatically to protect you and your devices if there is an overload of power. Today, it’s as simple as finding which lever has been affected and flipping the switch.
Changing a fuse
Blowing a fuse is one of the most common electrical complaints, particularly for homeowners. It’s also an easy fix as long as you know what you’re doing and you know how to stay safe. First, ensure that all appliances and lights that are connected to the circuit board are switched off at the mains before you even attempt to change that fuse. Then, use a torch (or the light on your phone if you have it on you) to find the fusebox. Once you’ve singled out the problem, replace the blown fuse with one that has exactly the same rating and make sure it is nice and snug.
Never use anything metal to help fit the fuse (coins, for example), instead use your fingers or maybe a plastic implement. Once it’s snug, screw everything back on and you should be good to go. If the problem hasn’t been fixed, however, you might have a deeper problem and will need to call in help.
When handling cords, extensions, and plugs, there are several electrical safety tips to take into consideration.
- When disconnecting devices, pull the plug itself, not the cord, as this can lead to damaged wiring, especially if you pull too hard.
- All cords should be kept clear of sources of heat and water and you should never remove or even touch a plug when your hands are wet.
- If you are left with excess extension cord, don’t just leave it lying around to be tripped over or chewed up by the cat – coil it up with plastic ties and velcro.
- Never use extensions permanently, they are meant to be temporary solutions only.
- If a cord or plug shows signs of wear, replace it immediately. Furthermore, to decrease the chance of significant wear and tear, never leave cords trailing under caret or through doorways.
- Always use extensions that are rated for the amount of electricity you’ll be feeding through them.
- Always unplug your appliances before fiddling with them (that includes the toaster when you’re trying to pry out rogue pieces of toast) and keep them unplugged when not in use for long periods of time.
- All electrical equipment should be kept away from water sources. No exceptions.
- Never use an electric lawnmower when the grass is wet or it’s about to rain.
- Don’t overload sockets with too many appliances. If you feel like you might not have enough sockets in a specific room, call a qualified electrician and have more installed.
- Never wear loose clothing around electrical equipment.
- Treat all electrical devices like they are live because you never truly know!
- Wear gloves and shoes when possible whenever handling electrical equipment.
Whilst the tips above should keep you safe from harm, if in doubt, never be afraid to call a qualified electrician for a quote today. Your pride is not worth your life, after all.