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Whatever your electric appliance, safety comes first when it comes to installing, maintaining or replacing your home appliances and if in doubt, refer to a qualified electrician to avoid unnecessary risks.

Electric cookers can be particularly tricky and most manufacturer manuals advise a qualified electrician to install them for you. Many shops selling new electric cookers will add installation as part of the overall cost; however, cookers bought second-hand or that do not come with installation as part of the package should be fitted by a qualified electrician.

Electric ceramic hobs are incredibly popular as they heat quickly, are inexpensive and easy to clean compared to gas hobs. However, the heat is harder to control than gas hobs which have a more sensitive heating range. As with all wiring, it is advisable to refer to a qualified electrician first, and as with cookers, electric hobs may be sold with installation as part of the package.

What is cosier in the home than sitting by a fire and reading a book with a cup of hot chocolate in the wintertime? An electric fire provides this wonderful experience, without the faff and mess of a real fire. There are some safety considerations you will want to bear in mind – keep liquids away from the fireplace, and make sure that kids keep away from it and do not tamper with the safety cover, and double-check it is secure before use.

Where you have cooking and heat, you will also want air conditioning and extractor fans. Electric extractor fans and air conditioning units come in a variety of different forms. Some are free-standing and others are affixed to appliances. While it may be tempting to attempt to tinker with these appliances if they stall, remember that they are electric and need the same due care and caution as with any appliance. If in any doubt, contact a qualified electrician to check all wiring is in order, and that these appliances are safe to use.

Whatever your appliance: pumps, ovens, hobs, fans, cookers – be electric safe and aware of electric fires and the signs of danger and contact a qualified electrician if you see any of the following in your home:

  • Check sockets for burn marks or heat
  • Turn off electrical equipment when not in use, particularly when going on holiday, at work or at night
  • Check your wiring, particularly in a new home, and check certification from the landlord if you are renting
  • Look for signs of wear on electric cables
  • Be careful with appliances that get hot, such as straighteners or hairdryers, and make sure they do not come into contact with flammable materials
  • Do not overload adaptors or electric sockets – have additional sockets installed if you need to
  • Keep electric heaters away from curtains and furniture and do not dry clothes on them
  • Do not cover air vents on any appliances
  • Do not trail cables under carpets


Electrical applicances/fittings:

It is advisable to regularly check electrical appliances and fittings for any wear and tear. Splits in the coverings of electrical flexes, leads and cables or a loose or damaged plug can compromise the safety of electrical equipment. Make sure that electric sockets are not overloaded by plugging in multiple appliances into one power outlet by using an adapter. If additional electrical gadgets or equipment need to be located in the same area, then extra power sockets should be installed.

Any cracked plug sockets also should be replaced. If plug sockets get hot or appeared singed or discoloured get them inspected by a qualified electrician.
New lampshades have labels that state the maximum wattage light bulb with which they can be used. Do not exceed this wattage as it could cause the shade to burn.

Ensure that the correct rating of fuse is used with the appropriate electrical appliance – three amp (red) maximum load 750w, suitable for table lamps, clocks and radios; five amps (black), maximum load 1250w, suitable for hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and televisions; 13 amp (brown) maximum load 3250w, suitable for fridges, washingmachines, freezers, irons, kettles and toasters.

If in doubt about the safety of any electrical appliance, fitment or installation, it is best to contact a qualified electrician who can check them out.

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