It never fails to amaze me how complacent homeowners are about the dangers of electricity.
As Christmas approaches many homes are left unoccupied, either because the occupants are on holiday, the house is “resting” between open inspections or it’s vacant during a settlement period.
Sadly, electrical safety doesn’t take a holiday during the season of Santa.
One common problem my technicians come across is loose connections in switchboards.
This can happen over time as cables expand and contract slightly as they warm when a circuit is used then cool when it’s not energized.
It can also happen because the original switchboard installer didn’t check the cables were firmly attached.
Loose connections and bad earthing introduce excessive heat into switchboard circuitry. Heat can increase electrical resistance, which has a self-generation effect that can potentially start a fire at the back of the switchboard.
It won’t take long for the flames to burn up the wall cavity into the roof space and become a major house fire.
If you are lucky you may notice warning signs like flickering lights, occasional power fluctuations, buzzing noises and even the smell of burning plastic.
But if there is no one at home, who knows what might happen.
It’s quite simple and affordable to get a switchboard checked for safety, including loose connections and earthing.
Switchboard standards have changed over recent times but many properties still have outdated safety devices and overloaded circuits.
There is a common misconception that a switchboard upgrade will be prohibitively expensive. More often than not, this isn’t the case.
Buyers are getting smarter and most expect switchboards to have the latest combination safety-switches and circuit breakers.
So, please, go and have a look at your switchboard now. If you have any concerns get it professionally checked and tested for peace of mind over the Christmas break.