Electrical overloading

Electricity is everywhere in our homes, providing light and warmth and delivering vital energy to cook with and power our home entertainment systems. Yet, it only takes one poorly-wired plug to start a fire. The best safety advice is to not get too casual with electricity and perform regular checks on electrical supply points and equipment. Just because there isn’t a flame, doesn’t mean there’s no fire risk.

Overloading can kill!

Overloaded sockets can easily cause fires, which could be easily prevented. If too many appliances draw power from one socket it can start overheating and catch fire. So follow this simple advice to stay safe from overloading:

  • It is better to use a bar adaptor on a lead, rather than a block adaptor
  • Don't plug adaptors into adaptors
  • Only use one adaptor per socket
  • Check the rating of an adaptor before you plug appliances in
  • Don't allow the total current used by the appliances plugged into the adapter to add up to more than 13 amps of current altogether – or 3,000 watts of power. So, for example, you could have two 2 amp appliances and one 5 amp in an adaptor, but never more than one appliance that uses a lot of current, such as a kettle, hi-fi or TV.

Other things to look out for

According to the government website www.direct.gov.uk you can also help prevent fire in the home by checking for the following:

  • Danger signs: These can include hot plugs and sockets, fuses that blow for no obvious reason, flickering lights and scorch marks on sockets or plugs. Danger signs can point to loose wiring, which has the potential to start a fire very easily.
  • Badly-wired plugs: If the coloured wires are sticking out of the plug, not only could they be pulled loose but also water and debris could get inside the plug. Change plugs that are loose or tighten them up.
  • Fraying power leads: The outer covering of a power lead must not be damaged. Make sure you don’t expose cables when you fix plugs.
  • Repaired power leads: If a power lead does get split or frayed, don't tape over it and don’t use previously-repaired leads. Never join cables by taping them together. Water could get in, or the tape could come loose. Buy a new appliance or lead instead.
  • Cables in vulnerable positions: Don't leave power leads where they can be tripped over, near a source of water, or close to the cooker top. Also keep children away from wires that they could pull or chew.
  • Check light bulbs: Don’t use a light bulb wattage that is too high for a lamp – it should say which wattage you should be using. Plus use energy-efficient bulbs where you can.
  • Water near electrics: Don't let cables or plugs get wet, and keep liquids away from electrical appliances. Don't put a vase on top of the TV, for example. Make sure the kettle isn't leaking, and don't fill it up when it's plugged in.
  • Toaster: Keep the toaster clean and away from curtains that could easily blow onto elements and catch alight.

Turn appliances off

Appliances such as the stereo, the kettle, the radio and your computer are all plugged into live electrical sockets. Each one is therefore connected to enough power to start a fire instantly. Turning them off at night not only helps prevent fires, it also saves vital energy to help the environment.

How Churchill can help

At Churchill, we offer buildings insurance up to the value of £500,000 and contents insurance to £50,000. Both include cover for damage or loss caused by fire. If a fire should start in your home, call the emergency services straight away and get everyone out of the house and to a safe place.

If your home suffers fire damage, call Churchill on 0845 603 3590 (lines are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week) to process any claim you might have. If you are unable to stay in your home while it is repaired we may also be able to provide you with alternative accommodation.

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