Expert advice on how to protect your home from electrical fire.

Few things in life are as devastating as a fire in your home. So to help you avoid the unthinkable, we’ve highlighted the most common causes to help protect your home from electrical fire.

Extension cables

What’s the problem?
They may look harmless, but an extension cable can easily overload a socket and cause a fire. The problem arises when one cable is used to power multiple items, especially things like kettles, irons and hair dryers, all of which draw very large currents.

Our advice
Remember that an extension cable with four sockets can’t necessarily handle four appliances. And never plug one extension cable into another. To see if your extension cables could be overloaded, use this Socket Calculator from Electrical Safety First.

Household appliances

What’s the problem?
Faulty appliances account for nearly 5,000 fires a year in Britain*. Often these are the result of a known fault or a product that’s been recalled. But if the appliance isn’t registered the manufacturer has no way of contacting the owner directly.
*Source: Home Office Incident Recording System 2014-15.

Our advice
When you buy a new electrical appliance, make sure you register it with the manufacturer. You can also register most of your current appliances, even if you’ve owned them for a long time. For more information visit Register My Appliance.

Leads and flexes

What’s the problem?
Over time, leads and flexes can become frayed or damaged, exposing the live metal wire inside. This means heat can leak out and moisture can seep in, both of which are a fire risk.

Our advice
Regularly check all your leads and flexes and, if they start to fray, replace them immediately. If a lead is connected to an appliance, you could always ask an electrician to replace the lead rather than replacing the whole appliance.

Home wiring

What’s the problem?
From unproffessional DIY jobs to small animals who love nibbling wires, the walls and ceilings of your home could hide a multitude of electrical sins.

Our advice
When moving to a new home, always get an electrician to look over the quality of the wiring. Then every ten years or so, ask them to check everything is still in tip-top condition.

Mobile phones and devices

What’s the problem?
As part of the charging process, mobile phones and other devices generate heat. Usually this isn’t too noticeable but when they are placed under a pillow with no air to cool them, they can seriously overheat and even start a fire.

Our advice
Always leave your charging devices in the open air. It’s important your family are also aware of the risks and the importance of safe device charging.