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Electrical safety

Carrying out your own electrical work can be tempting. There is a lot of conflicting advice out there regarding what you are allowed to do, and what has to be left to a professional.

Most tenants attempt to carry out smaller electrical jobs like installing light switches and light fittings, but we have been called numerous times to rectify faulty wiring that has been caused by tenants attempting to carry out jobs themselves.

In the end this costs South Tyneside Homes a lot of money to rectify and these costs could be rechargeable to you as the tenant. In most cases it would be cheaper and safer to apply through our alterations procedure, gain approval and hire a professional in the first place.

After gaining approval for the works, always use a qualified electrician. Check South Tyneside Council safetraders.

On completion of work, make sure that you have been provided the certification as required and store this in a safe place as you are more than likely going to need it at some point.

Electricity is extremely dangerous. It can kill. Leave it to the professionals.

Extensions and cables

Many portable electrical items like lamps and radios are supplied with relatively short cables. So sometimes it is unavoidable not to have to use an extension, but beware of the dangers:

  • Overuse of multi-way adapters or adapter blocks, which increases the risk of fire.
  • An extension lead should only be used when it is not possible to reach a wall socket with the equipment cable.

When the use of an extension cable is unavoidable, follow these simple suggestions:

  • Only use an extension lead which was bought ready-assembled
  • We recommend that no extension lead be more than 15 metres long
  • Only use extension leads fitted with suitably insulated connectors and plugs (never join two lengths of flexible cable by twisting the bare ends of wires together)
  • Position an extension lead carefully to prevent any risk of damage or tripping
  • Always check that leads, plugs and sockets are undamaged
  • Always check the extension lead plug contains the correctly rated fuse for the equipment being used
  • If using a cable drum extension lead, it should be completely unwound to avoid overheating
  • For general use, 2-core extension leads should not be used
  • Get rid of and replace damaged extension leads - never repair them. Sticky tape isn't enough. It's not strong enough and won't provide enough protection from electric shock

General home electrical safety

Make sure you stay safe when dealing with electricity. Here are some handy tips for staying safe in your home:

  • Don't overload sockets
  • Make sure that plugs and sockets are not damaged
  • Check that visible cables and leads are in good condition
  • Check that your light fittings are not visibly damaged
  • Check that you are not storing combustible materials around your fusebox, electricity meter or main electric supply cable
  • Don't use the top of the microwave for extra storage
  • Never trail cables under carpets or rugs
  • Never take mains-powered electrical items into the  bathroom
  • Always switch off your electrical items when they are not in use

If you're unsure or need to report a repair, call 0300 123 6633.