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Guide To Electrical Safety in Your Sydney Home

To help our visitors ensure the safety of their home electrical systems, we spoke to Charbel and the team at Leading Electrical to share their ultimate recommendations for electrical safety in the home. The good news is that practising electrical safety is easier than ever. Read on to keep your family and home safe. In this comprehensive guide, we’ll help you understand common risks and implement proper safety measures to minimise the risk of electrical hazards in your home. 

Electric Shock

As our reliance on electrical appliances and equipment increases, so does the risk of electric shock or electrocution. Electric shock occurs when electric current flows through the body. This can happen following direct contact with live wires or faulty appliances. Depending on the length and severity of the electric shock, injuries may include burns to the skin and internal tissues. In extreme cases, it can result in damage to the heart. In the event of exposure or electrocution, please seek immediate medical assistance. 

Minimising Risk of Electric Shock

Fortunately, reducing the risk of electric shock is straightforward and can be achieved through the following precautions:

  1. Avoid contact with water when using or handling electrical appliances.
  2. Ensure your home fuse box is fitted with a Residual Current Device (RCD).
  3. Inspect the condition of all electrical appliances before use for damage and exposed wires. 
Leading Electrical team during a switchboard and fuse box installation in Sydney

Electrical Fires

Fires caused by electrical faults are common in the home. Fortunately, they are also easily preventable. Common causes of electrical fires are faulty wiring, overloaded circuits and faulty appliances. The electrical faults that precede fires are easy to spot and shouldn’t be ignored. We recommend you immediately stop using electrical appliances if you notice any of the following:

  1. Flicking/flickering lights
  2. The smell of burning 
  3. Visible signs of smoke
  4. Visible signs of sparks
  5. Frequently tripped circuit breakers or RCDs in your fuse box

Minimising Risk of Electrical Fires

To minimise the risk of electrical fires, start by making sure all your appliances are functioning properly. If they aren’t, stop using them immediately and have them inspected by a qualified electrician. The same applies to home lighting and heating, particularly in wet areas such as the kitchens and bathrooms. 

For NSW residents, ensure each floor of your home is equipped with an Australian Standards approved (AS 3786) smoke detector. In areas where the chance of fire is higher, such as kitchens, garages or workshops, we recommend having fire extinguishers installed as well.

Powerboards and Extension Leads

Powerboards 

Powerboards have become a staple of the modern home and allow several electrical appliances to use a single power outlet. When using a powerboard, we recommend choosing powerboards with built-in circuit breakers and safety switches. It is important to not overload your chosen powerboard, as this can lead to electrical hazards. 

Extension Leads 

Power cords and extension leads allow us to access power in and outside the home. Extra care should be taken when using extension leads to ensure they are adequately rated and used safely. We recommend:

  • Do not run leads through water or moisture
  • Do not run leads through walls, ceilings or under floors as these areas can trap heat
  • Ensure leads are rated to the appliances being used
  • Never use a lead that is hot or damaged
  • Buy and use extension cords that are rated for the intended use

Indoor and Outdoor Lighting

Properly installed lighting that matches the intended use will provide many years of trouble-free use in your home. Our team recommend speaking to a qualified electrician if you are undertaking any lighting upgrades. This will make sure that you have the best possible lighting output and that it is safely installed. 

Changing Light Bulbs

Changing light globes in the home is inevitable. Depending on the age of the home and light fittings, most homes are likely equipped with energy-efficient LEDs already. Even If your light fitting uses incandescent or compact fluorescent (CFL) globes, the process is simple. The first step is of course to get access to a replacement globe. Fortunately, most light fittings will be compatible with modern, energy-efficient LEDs. When changing a light globe, be sure to follow the below steps:

  1. Make sure the power supply is turned off. If you are unsure you can turn off mains power in your switchboard. 
  2. Let the bulb cool. Gloves are a good idea even once the globe has cooled
  3. Use a ladder or safely position a stool to ensure comfortable access to the globe as needed
  4. Remove the globe taking care not to damage the glass as this can result in injury.
  5. Replace the globe
  6. Turn on power

Pro Tip: Different light bulbs use different mounting methods, the most common are: 

  • Bayonet 
  • Screw
  • GU (twin pin)

If you aren’t comfortable sourcing and replacing the light globe, you are welcome to speak to our team for a hand. 

Charging Lithium Batteries

The number of devices and appliances that rely on lithium-ion batteries is rapidly increasing. Most appliances have a battery-powered equivalent. Recreational equipment such as bikes and scooters now offer battery-powered versions. Each of these requires charging from your wall powerpoint. 

When to Charge Lithium Batteries

Enjoying battery-powered appliances and devices is safer when you follow some basic guidelines. All battery-equipped devices sold with a charger need to meet the Australian Electrical Equipment Safety System Standards

We recommend only using the supplied chargers to charge batteries. The best time to charge your batteries is when you are home and where possible during the day. Avoid charging batteries unattended and overnight. We also recommend not leaving your batteries on charge when the indicator shows they are full. 

Preparing the space for charging is also important. A working smoke detector is a great idea even if that means the installation of additional smoke alarms in the home. Clearing the area of soft furnishings such as rugs, blankets, couches etc will reduce the risk of surrounding items being damaged or catching fire in the event of an electrical fault. We also recommend charging large batteries (mowers and electric bikes) in the garage or shed. 

Speak to your local electrician

Protecting your family and assets from potential hazards is an important part of using and making the most of the huge range of appliances and tools we have available today. With a committed awareness, you can easily reduce electrical risks and hazards in your home. 

If for some reason you’re unsure about the risks of hazards in your home, be sure to speak to our friendly team. We can make sure you are well prepared to look after what is most important in your home. 

We look forward to hearing from you!

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