Ensure Electrical Safety at Home – Alerts & Reminders
It would be ironical that where you perceive as a safe, secure and comfortable space for you and your loved ones could actually be an electrical minefield- dangerous and hazardous.
Accidents that happen in the home can be tragic however preventable.
In the last 2 years there was at least 1 reported death per year in Singapore, by electrocution. As Singapore’s HDB flats age, residents pursue upgrading and renovation works. If you have just bought a resale flat, you would do well to check if the entire electrical system is in order, as the previous resident may have made improper changes, unapproved by HDB. Something as simple as an improper installing or replacement of a water heater can cause death by electrocution.
The common theme in the recent cases reported in Singapore was improper wiring of a water heater to a three-pin plug by workers unlicensed to do electrical work. This resulted in death by electrocution, while showering. The flat's circuit breaker, which should have cut off the electrical supply to prevent the tragedy, was faulty as well.
What is even more worrying is that there could possibly be up to 80 per cent of water heaters in our HDB flats that are connected to three-pin plugs. Three-pin plugs and normal wall sockets are not designed to support the current drawn by water heaters. They should instead be wired directly to a special switch which is able to support higher current. If you do discover that your water heater is connected by three-pin plugs, take action immediately!
These are our TOP 10 essentials for you to note when it comes to Electrical matters at home
1. Always and only engage an EMA (Energy Market Authority) licenced electrician.
Ask to see certification before you engage and before work is done. The company may have been certified however the worker assigned to the job may not be. Do not take the risk with a handyman who claims years of experience and who can do it for half the price. Even simple installation works undertaken, need to fulfil the strict definition of 'electric works' regulated by the EMA. These include new wiring, rewiring and extensions which have to also be tested by an authorised officer from SP Services Ltd before supply is turned on
2. Test your home’s circuit breakers monthly by pushing its test button and seeing if it trips.
Formerly known as Earth Leakage Circuit Breaker, the Residual Current Circuit Breaker (RCCB) is a safety device available in all households and buildings which prevents electrocution by cutting off electricity supply once there is any leakage in the power circuit. It trips off to isolate the electricity supply to a faulty electrical appliance or outlet.
3. Do Not Overload Power Points
Overloading power points is dangerous as it may lead to over-heating and fire. Do not 'piggy back' multiple plugs into one socket by using double adaptors. It is also important not to use cracked or broken power points/ extension socket outlets. Replace damaged power points/ sockets immediately with the help of a licensed electrical worker to prevent current leakage.
4. Keep Electricity and Water Apart!
Do not use electrical appliances near water or with wet hands, or touch an open electrical outlet or electrical switch with wet hands. This can lead to current leakage and potentially-fatal electric shocks.
5. Do replace electrical cords with broken or frayed insulation
Do not join, cut or frayed electrical cords together with insulation tape as this may peel off after a while and leave wires exposed. Get a licensed electrical worker to replace the cord with a new one instead.
6. Store electrical cords securely
When electrical appliances are not in use, switch them off and store the electrical cord carefully to avoid damage.
7. Unplug machinery and appliances before cleaning, inspecting, repairing, or removing something from them.
This is the basic principal of lock out and tag out. Similarly any faulty electrical equipment must be switched off, plugs removed and tagged to warn others.
8. Keep electrical equipment, machinery, and work areas clean.
Oil, dust, waste, and water can be fire hazards around electricity
9. Switch off electrical equipment when not in use.
Use only approved and tested appliances and equipment.
10. If there is an electrical fire - Never use water directly.
At iimafix, we use only EMA licensed electricians so you can rest assured your home is in safe hands. Get in touch with us today, whether it is to install a wall socket or to have your entire home re-wired.
Image : EMA and Spring Singapore