Government statistics show that electricity causes more than 20,000 fires a year – almost half of all accidental UK house fires. Each year, about 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured due to an electrical accident in the home. Although many incidents are caused by faulty appliances rather that the electrical installation itself, a properly-installed and well-maintained installation could significantly reduce the possibility of an accident or injury. So, it is important that any electrical installation work is carried out only by people who are competent. This means people who have the knowledge, skills and experience needed to avoid dangers to themselves and others that electricity can create. It’s easy to make an electrical circuit work – it’s far harder to make the circuit work safely.
How old is your wiring?
Electricity is usually out of sight, out of mind because cables are conveniently hidden inside our walls and switches and sockets. So it’s not surprising that we forget to check our electrical installations for wear and tear. Faulty and aging wiring is one of the major causes of electrical fires in the home. You can avoid these by having regular checks carried out on the condition of your cables, switches, sockets and other accessories. There are clear signs that can help you tell the age of electrical installation in your home. These are:
- Cables coated in black rubber (phased out in the 1960s);
- Cables coated in lead or fabric (before the1960s);
- A fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of fuse boxes (before the 1960s);
- Older round pin sockets and round light switches, braided flex hanging from ceiling roses, brown and black switches and sockets mounted in skirting boards (before the 1960s); and
- Wall-mounted light switches in bathrooms (before the 1960s).