The free diy home improvement guide with answers to your questions on a wide range of do it yourself projects.

 

Electricity

Power to the elbow makes light work of many DIY jobs but electricity can be a killer unless we use it safely and sensibly.

Keep water away from anything electric. Don't even wash walls without turning off the power at the mains switch.

Never be tempted to use a socket or plug or equipment which could still have water in or on it - allowing it to dry could mean the difference between life and death.

Read manufacturer's instructions on extension cables - they could overheat if left coiled. Check an extension is appropriate for the appliance it is connected to.

RCDs

RCDs (Residual Current Devices) can respond to changes in the flow of electric current. For example, when a flex or cable is cut or an electric tool malfunctions, and direct contact is made with a mains supply conductor and earth, the RCD automatically disconnecting the power supply to the equipment to reduce the risk of you being electrocuted.

residual current device

RCDs are available in several forms:

... as portable adaptors

... incorporated in socket outlets

... as separate stand alone units for fixed wiring installations offering whole house protection

... as modular units for use in household consumer units

However, although RCDs are a vital safety aid, they can't guarantee 100% protection. Even with them in your home, isn't it better to make a long term investment in good safety practice by looking after appliances such as hedge cutters, hedge trimmers, chainsaws, drills and sanders.

Do not work with electricity in damp or wet conditions. If you MUST, always use an RCD. Always place the cable of a hedge trimmer or mower over your shoulder and keep it behind you at all times.

ensure plugs are correctly fused

PLUGS

Never overload a socket with too many plugs or adaptors.

Don't allow cables and flexes to become kinked or frayed. Make sure plugs are undamaged and tightly closed with no loose connections and that cord grips are tightened.

Ensure plugs are correctly fused. Fuses protect cables and flexes from the effects of overheating caused by short circuits and overload.

FUSES

New appliances have to be supplied with a plug that is fused in accordance with manufacturers' instructions.

Always follow manufacturers' recommendations for fuses, or seek expert advice.

Check older appliances such as electric blankets and Christmas tree lights

If a fuse blows for no obvious reason or an appliance is not working properly, switch off the appliance at the socket and unplug it before trying to find out why. If the fault can't be found or you are uncertain how to find the fault, get expert advice.

fuse box

The same principles apply to fuse boxes or circuit breakers - always switch off at the mains before you investigate and remember to replace the cover before switching back on.

If you need to change a mains fuse, check the correct rating for that circuit - the blown fuse might have been incorrect in the first place. Using a thicker fuse wire than the correct rating is dangerous

In doubt? Call in a qualified electrician.

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