Last updated:
8 November 2017

Electrical safety advice

Find advice on electrical safety around the home.

Learn how to make sure that your electrical appliances don't put you and your family at risk from fire by following these simple steps:

Avoiding electrical fires

  • Never leave electrical items plugged in or unattended especially at night, when a fire can spread quickly whilst you are asleep.
  • Regularly check flexible cables on all electrical appliances.
  • Make sure you have a working smoke alarm.

Plug safety

It’s a good idea to check plugs and plug wires regularly. Plugs and their cables can be damaged with use.

  • Look for cracks or damage on the casing.
  • Look for signs of overheating, such as discoloured casing or cables.
  • Check the plug meets British Standard BS 1363 – it will be marked on the back.

Check regularly for the following danger signs:

  • A smell of hot plastic or burning near an appliance or socket.
  • Blackness or scorch marks around a socket or plug, or on an appliance.
  • Damaged or frayed leads.
  • Fuses that blow or circuit-breakers that operate for no obvious reason.

Chargers

  • If a charger does not easily plug into a socket, the pins may be the wrong size or length. This can cause overheating to both the socket and the charger, which can be dangerous.
  • Fake mobile phone chargers are often made with poor quality components that fail to meet UK safety regulations. This means they could cause injury, electric shocks and even fires.
  • Always buy your charger from a reputable retailer to ensure that you are not sold a fake one.

Overloading sockets

  • Never overload an extension lead by plugging in too many appliances. This could cause the plug on the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.
  • Only use one socket extension lead per socket and never plug an extension lead into another extension lead.

Appliances

  • Look out for product recall notices.
  • Register your appliance. Appliances up to 12 years old can be registered on the Register My Appliance website.
  • Don’t run appliances like tumble dryers, washing machines or dishwashers overnight or when you are out.
  • Always read the manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Have your appliance serviced by a qualified engineer.
  • Do not put rags or materials into a tumble dryer if they have been used to soak up flammable liquids.

For more safety advice visit Electrical Safety First.

Socket calculator

Check to see whether you are overloading your sockets. (external link)
 

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