Switches, leads and power points

Use these simple tips for using and maintaining electrical switches, leads and power points in good working order and making your home safe:

* Put safety plugs into unused power point sockets to prevent accidental contact.
* Fully extend leads on reels when in use.
* Do not overload power points or power boards by "piggy backing" plugs into one socket or by using double adaptors as all power boards have maximum current ratings. Instead arrange for another point to be installed by a registered electrical contractor.
* Never place extension leads under carpet or rugs as they may overheat.
* If there is a build up of dirt, moisture, grease or oil on or around power points and switches, arrange for a registered electrical contractor to have them tested.
* Do not make up a long extension lead from a series of shorter ones.
* Do not allow children to play with power points or switches.
* Do not attempt to repair electrical leads yourself, and never join them by twisting or taping.
* Place power boards in ventilated areas and keep them free of dust and dirt.
* If using extension leads outdoors check them regularly for signs of damage or age.
* Do not spray household cleaners, detergents and insecticides on switches and power points.
* Check that electrical cords are not hanging from benches where children can grab them.
* Do not wipe power points or switches with a wet cloth.
* Do not place extension leads near heaters and cookers.
* Place extension cords carefully around furniture preferably securely taped to the floor, or along wall edges.
* Only use extension leads as a temporary measure.
* Extension leads should have plugs with three metal cores (pins). Plugs with two cores are not earthed and therefore are dangerous and should be used only with double insulated electrical equipment.
* Extension leads that are damaged, frayed or have inner wires exposed should be thrown away or be repaired by a qualified repairman or licensed electrician.
* Do not connect a piggyback plug to the end of an extension lead to make it longer as the pins will be live. This can be extremely dangerous.
* Do not plug high wattage appliances (such as heaters) into power boards as they could overheat the circuit wiring through overload and cause a fire.

Published on October 10-th, 2008 in Electricity
Damon Rasheed is the CEO of Rate Detective, an Australian financial service comparison sites specialising in Life Insurance, Income Protection Insurance and home loans. Damon holds a Master's Degree in Economics from the University of Melbourne and has been involved in many start-up internet businesses.