Check electrical appliances to keep your home safe

To keep your home and family safe Energy Safety recommends you do an electrical safety check in and around your home twice a year. It may save a life or prevent an accident in the future.

It is important to check electrical appliances before using them to make sure there is no damage that could cause electric shocks, either from the appliance or from the supply lead. If you are using electrical appliances outdoors, or in damp situations, it is strongly recommended that you use a residual current device (RCD) or isolating transformer, to give personal protection in the event of a fault.

Always make sure that any extension leads used to supply appliances are not left partly coiled, as this can cause the lead to get warm if high-current appliances are used.

Four steps for an electrical safety check.

1. Make a checklist of the:

  1. sockets and switches
  2. cords
  3. lighting
  4. portable electric heaters
  5. electric blankets
  6. large appliances
  7. small appliances
  8. residual current devices
  9. fuses and circuit breakers
  10. outdoor installations, including trees in overhead lines
  11. any electrical emergency.

2. Invest 10 to 20 minutes of your time by making a note of any problems.

3. If in doubt, arrange for a registered electrical worker to come and check your electrical appliances.

4. Contact a registered electrical worker and get them to repair any faulty appliances or buy new ones.

Remember when you're using any type of heater – keep at least one metre from the heater. And always use a fire safety guard.

For any questions or further advice contact Energy Safety on free phone 0508 377 4636 or visit the website.

Reprinted with permission from the Ministry of Economic Development ‘Energy Safety Newsletter’, March 2010.

Published in energy.