Churchill magazine

Why you should check the electrics in your home

Updated on: 10 September 2020

Woman sitting listening to her headphones at home

Electricity is the main source of power for everything we do at home. But because we’re using even more gadgets and chargers, one of the most common causes of electrical fires is overloaded extension leads. The best way to reduce a fire risk is to make sure you’re using them safely.

If too many appliances get power from one socket it can start overheating and catch fire. 

Here are some tips and advice on how to avoid overloading: 

  • It’s safer to use an inline extension lead, rather than a cube type.

  • Never plug another extension lead into the one you’re using.

  • Only use one extension lead per socket.

  • Check the rating of the extension lead before you plug anything in. Most are 13 AMP, but some are 10 AMP or less – you’ll usually find the rating written on the back or underneath.

  • Make sure that any appliances or chargers you plug in aren’t higher than the rating of the extension lead – they shouldn’t add up to more than 13 AMP (3,000 watts). And never plug in more than one appliance that uses a lot of energy as this can cause fires. 

  • If you need to use an extension lead outdoors, make sure it’s waterproof and has the correct rating.

You can also stay safe by carrying out regular checks on your plugs, sockets, devices and appliances. 

Other electrical hazards to watch out for 

  • Hot plugs and sockets: Blown fuses, flickering lights and scorch marks all point to loose wiring, which could easily start a fire.

  • Badly-wired plugs: If the coloured wires are sticking out of the plug, not only could they be pulled loose but also water and dirt could get inside. Change plugs that are loose or tighten them up.

  • Fraying power leads: The outer covering of a power lead mustn’t be damaged. Take care not to 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 dangerous places: Don’t leave power leads where they can be tripped over, near water, or close to the cooker top. Also keep children away from wires that they could pull or chew.

  • Light bulbs: Don’t use a light bulb wattage that’s 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 hot drinks and water away from electrical appliances. 

  • Toaster: Keep the toaster clean and away from anything that could easily fall onto elements and catch alight.

And don’t forget to turn off as many electricals as you can at night.

In an emergency

If there’s a fire, call 999 and get everyone out of the house and to a safe place.

We’re here to help after a fire

If you experience loss or damage caused by fire, we offer buildings insurance insurance up to the value of £500,000 and contents insurance to £50,000. 

If you need to make a claim after a fire, you can call us on 0345 603 3590 (lines are open Mon-Fri 8am-6pm and Saturday & bank holidays 9am-2pm). 

If your home’s unsafe and you need to say somewhere else while it’s repaired, and you're 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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