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10 important electrical safety tips

22nd Jul '19 • By Emily Ayers

Electricity is one of the most dangerous mediums and flow of energy there is in your home; it is capable of causing serious injury and even death if not handled with care. As a result, it’s not advisable to undertake any electrical works yourself without understanding exactly what you are trying to achieve.

Even simple tasks like changing a fuse or replacing a plug or bulb can be extremely dangerous, and it is imperative that you think about the safety issues first and foremost beyond anything else. If you are confident in your electrical skills, here are a few electrical tips to keep in mind.

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1. When in doubt

Mains electricity runs through your home at all times and dealing with any wiring or fixture runs a serious risk of electrocution. The first thing you should do before commencing any electrical work is to switch off the mains. This stops the flow of electricity and ensures your safety, being one of the most important electrical tips to keep your home safe.

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2. Make sure your hands are clean and dry

Your hands must always be clean and dry when dealing with electricity. Wet hands can radically increase the chances of an accident as it acts as a conductor. Therefore, make sure your hands are thoroughly washed and dried before you start dealing with any form of cabling. Water and electricity in particular do not mix, so avoid handling cables with damp or dusty hands.

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3. Wear protective gear

PPE (personal protective equipment) should always be worn. Protective clothing removes the buildup of sweat which can be fatal if coming into contact with a live source of electricity. Even protective eye wear and non conductive footwear that has rubber soles, should also be considered.

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4. Buddy up

Never do an electrical job alone; always have someone on hand should there be a mishap. Have the mobile phone at hand, if you need to call an ambulance. Even electricians try and follow the ‘work in pairs’ rule.

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5. Check your equipment

Never use equipment that has frayed cords, damaged insulation or broken plugs. Make sure your tools are insulated. This may sound obvious but believe me, just like watching people mowing lawns in thongs, it happens.

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6. Know the electrical requirements

All appliances in your home have their own individual electrical requirements; make a note of the types of circuit breakers and fuses you have. Use this list as a guide to ensure you replace with the appropriate items. Do pay attention to what an appliance is telling you; if it continually trips, blows fuses or gives off electric shocks then it needs immediate attention and possible replacement.

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7. Install ground fault circuit interrupters

Any time you have water and electrical circuits in close proximity, then a GFCI should be installed in a safe place. Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters are integrated into the power outlet themselves, which monitor the amount of power flowing into the device or appliance plugged into it. If you drop your hair dryer into the sink, it identifies the interruption in current and cuts the power for your safety. Keep this in mind when planning your new power outlet installation, as well as the common places people forget to install power points.

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8. Install safety outlets and safety covers

Once a job is complete, installing safety outlets and safety covers will help avoid any electrical accidents in the future.

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9. Have a fire extinguisher handy

Every home should always have a portable fire extinguisher; even though it may never need to be used, having one handy brings peace of mind.

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10. Call a professional electrician

If you are at all unsure of what you’re doing, it is essential that you call in a qualified electrician. Electricity isn’t something you can figure out as you go – the risks of a simple mistake are far too great to be left up to chance. What’s more, the cost of making an electrical mistake could be greater than the cost of getting your electrical problem fixed in the first place.

When you do call a professional, make sure they are accredited and qualified to work with electricity. There is no price for loss of life; even though the cost of an electrician at times may be prohibitive, it is still a sound investment for the future.  Use resources like Service.com.au to find a tradesman that does have the correct qualifications, references and licenses. Word of mouth is also a great way of finding an electrician who gets repeat business. This is always a great indicator of an electrician who takes great care in their work, business and image. The “bread and butter” jobs are what keep the good electricians in business.

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Not confident in your electrical skills? Find a local electrician near you!

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Further reading:
DIY Home Audio System Guide
4 Best Lighting Features to Lighten Up Your Home
How To Tell If You Need a Switchboard Replacement
How Much Does an Electrician Cost?

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