Every year around 70 people die and over 350,000 are seriously injured by electrical accidents in the home. In a survey of registered electricians, a third had seen electric shocks caused by botched DIY, with 15% reporting that it had caused an electrical fire.
The most common mistakes that people make when attempting to undertake DIY tasks include cutting through power leads, drilling into wiring and repairing electrical items while they’re still switched on.
Top five tips for electrical DIY
- Locate cables in your wall. A common DIY error is accidentally drilling, nailing or screwing things into cables hidden inside your walls. A quality cable detector can help you to track buried cables before you start work and avoid the risk of an electric shock.
- Use an RCD (residual current device). An RCD can save your life by cutting off the power in the event of an electrical fault caused by a DIY blunder. Make sure you have one fitted in your fusebox (consumer unit), and where necessary use a plug-in RCD.
- Shut off the power. If you're doing any work near electrical wiring or power supplies, where possible, shut off the power in your fusebox and use battery powered tools. To be sure that power is off before beginning DIY, plug an appliance into sockets and try switching on the lights.
- Check power tools and watch out for the lead. Before using any power tools, check the lead and plug are in good condition. If you can see signs of damage (such as frayed wires) get the equipment repaired before using it. And watch out for the power lead at all times so you don't accidentally cut through or trip over it.
- Get advice from a registered electrician. The best way to avoid any electrical problems in the home is to seek the advice of a professional. If you’re not sure, don't DIY.
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