Barton Electrical winter safety checks
Electrical safety is important – don’t wait for something to go wrong.
Electricity use is likely to go up in the winter, when we use more lights for longer and need to use the heating system more frequently leading to overloaded systems that may not be able to stand the strain.
This additional demand can put pressure on the home wiring system, especially if it is ageing, and at a time of year when we can least do without a properly functioning electricity system, can lead to blown fuses, potential fires, damage and possibly even danger to life. It is recommended that home owners should have an electrical safety check at least every ten years, and landlords with rented properties every five years, to ensure the wiring is safe. This is because over time wiring can deteriorate either through ageing or the attentions of rodents that you may not be even know have been there under the floorboards.
What are the danger signs to look for?
A winter safety check should look check for signs of wear and tear or damage as well as the age of the various pieces of equipment that make up the system.
This includes the earthing, the fuse box, the wiring, plugs, sockets and switches.
Obvious causes for concern are older round-pin sockets, round light switches, cables with fabric coating hanging from ceiling roses to light fittings, black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards. If the fuse box as a wooden back, cast-iron switches, or a mixture of both it will need replacing.
Signs that cables are too old include coatings in black rubber, which were phased out in the 1960s, and cables coated in lead or fabric. All modern cabling is coated with UPVC insulation.
It may not be obvious how many sockets and light switches are attached to each circuit in the house and it may be that there are more than would conform to modern safety standards. Equally check for burn marks and broken plastic casing that reveals inner wiring on sockets and check whether plugs feel hot when in use.
A safety audit should always be carried out by a registered electrician working to work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671) who also meets the requirements of Part P of the Building Regulations.On completion of the audit they should provide you with an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) that details all the defects and potentially dangerous conditions that have been identified. You should also be given a certificate if no faults have been found.