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Electrical Safety

Last Updated Feb 15, 2013 · Written by Craig Gibson

By Jaclyn Fitzgerald

Electrical safety is an important issue for any home as electricity can be very dangerous if used incorrectly. However, there are steps you can take to ensure that your home is as safe as it can be, such as only using professionals to undertake electrical work, installing a safety switch, and following some simple electrical safety tips.

Only Use Professionals

If you have any electrical work that needs to be done around the home, it should always be done by licensed electricians or registered electrical contractors. In fact, it is illegal to undertake electrical jobs yourself and you may be fined a large amount if you do so. When choosing your professional, ask to see their license, and if you are unsure, check with your state body.

You can ask your electricity provider or electrician to undertake an electrical safety assessment of your home. This will identify any potential problem areas and these will then be able to be fixed – before the problem eventuates.

Finally, you are able to buy electrical accessories such as light switches, power points and light fittings but you cannot install them. An electrician will need to do so. The electrician will also need to install fixed wire appliances, such as stoves, ovens, ceiling fans and air conditioning.

Safety Switches

Safety switches are an inexpensive way to protect the people in your home from electric shock. They are specifically designed to prevent injury or death as they automatically turn off the electricity supply when faulty switches, wiring or appliances are used. There is evidence to suggest that safety switches could prevent up to 90% of electrical-related fatalities or accidents. Safety switches are now mandatory for all homes. New homes need to have safety switches on both the power and lighting circuits.

How can you tell if you have a safety switch or not? Have a look at your switchboard (usually located in the same place as your electricity meter) and look for a switch that has a “test” button next to it. If you do not have this switch, you probably don’t have a safety switch installed and you will need a licensed electrician to install one for you. If you buy a home that doesn’t already have a safety switch installed, you will need to install one within three months of buying the property.

Safety switches need to be tested regularly. To test your switch, simply press the “test” button. The switch should turn off. If it doesn’t, you will need to get an electrician to take a look at it. To reset your switch after testing, simply flick it back to the “on” position. You can find electrical safety switch electricians here.

What You Can Do

There are several steps that you can take to ensure that you and your home are safe. Firstly, never do any electrical work yourself. Not only is this extremely dangerous, it can also void your home insurance policy. Some other steps you can take include:

  • not using appliances near water
  • only using heaters designed for bathroom use in the bathroom
  • never trimming trees near powerlines – contact your electricity provider to do this
  • not using faulty appliances or ones with frayed cords or broken plugs
  • only taking faulty appliances to licensed repairmen or electricians to fix
  • testing second hand appliances before buying
  • using safety plugs in unused power points
  • not overloading power points or power boards – if you need more sockets, get another power point installed

You might also like: Choosing an Electrician

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