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How to keep electrical items in a good working order


Electrical appliances, plugs and cables that are old or poorly wired can be a real danger. Just because there’s no flame does not mean there’s no fire risk. Find out what to check for to ensure your appliances don’t put you, your family or housemates at risk from fire.

Keep electrical items in good working order

Follow the guidelines below to make sure your electrical items are safe to use.

Maintenance

Electrical appliances, especially ones that run at high speeds and contain motors, like washing machines, should be serviced once a year by a qualified electrician.

Plugs, sockets and cables

Plugs, sockets and cables also need to be used correctly, you should:

  • make sure you can’t see any coloured wires between the plug and the power lead – change the plug properly
  • make sure the wires are held firmly in place inside the plug
  • use sockets safely – it’s better to use a bar adaptor (multi board) on a lead than a block adaptor
  • only use one adaptor per socket – don’t plug one adaptor into another and try to keep to one plug per socket

Fuses

When you’re fitting or replacing a fuse, it’s important to use the right fuse for the appliance to make sure the fuse doesn’t overheat. Check the manual or look for a sticker on the appliance to find out its wattage and then use the correct fuse:

  • for appliances up to 700 watts, use a 3 amp fuse
  • for appliances between 700 and 1,000 watts, use a 5 amp fuse
  • for appliances more than 1,000 watts, use a 13 amp fuse

Extension leads and adaptors have a limit on how many amps they can take, so be careful not to overload them, to reduce the risk of fire.