As a homeowner in Singapore, you are capable of fixing and troubleshooting basic wiring without the need to consult an electrician services company or even a licensed electrician.
Most electrical jobs that you will most likely encounter range from simple things, such as replacing light bulbs to covering exposed wires with electrical tape to avoid getting electrocuted or having the wires themselves overheat. With that said, here are some safety tips you should know as a homeowner:
1. Do an annual safety inspection
It’s best that you know exactly how old your home is for electrical safety reasons. Even though most modern homes are built to handle the necessary electrical works, older homes, such as ones that are made out of wood, may not always be able to handle them.
The good news is that safety inspection doesn’t have to be that hard – all you need to do is to look for anything that seems out of place or could pose as a fire or electrical hazard (e.g. exposed wiring, electrical works with faulty insulation).
2. Befriend with your electrical panel
Your electrical panel holds not just the circuit breakers, but also the main switches that you turn off manually whenever you need to do basic electrical works at home, such as replacing a light bulb or installing a light fixture.
Find out the date that your panel was installed in your home, as the older the circuit breakers and main switches get, the more likely they can trip by themselves. When inspecting, touch the panel to make sure that it’s not hot. If it is, call a power max electrician immediately.
3. Understand what circuit breakers do
Circuit breakers are exactly what the name implies – they “break”, or trip when the circuit is overloaded, preventing the wires from overheating and starting a fire.
However, they can also trip by themselves over years of use, even when everything otherwise seems normal. While occasional tripping can indicate overloads, frequent breaker trips are something you need to consult an electrician services company in Singapore.
It’s also important that you know how old your circuit breaker box is and how to work it. Because electricity still enters the panel even though the main switches and breakers have been shut off, this type of work should be best left to a licensed electrician.
Depending on how many circuits you have for your electrical works at home, hiring a good electrician may set you back for a certain amount depending on the electrician’s rate.
4. Always have a fire extinguisher on standby
In the event of an electrical fire, the best way to put it out is with a chemical retardant. Avoid using water, as this will only conduct electricity. Be sure to follow the instructions in using the fire extinguisher and keep an eye out for the retardant’s expiry date.
Even if you conduct regular inspections to avoid the risk of having an electrical fire breaking out in your home, a fire extinguisher would still come in handy. At the end of the day, it’s better to have a fire extinguisher without a fire than the other way around.
5. Replace anything and everything hot
Anything that heats up that’s not supposed to is a sign of a major electrical problem, outlets and ceiling fixtures included. For instance, screwing in a bulb with a higher wattage than what is recommended can lead to the fixture overheating, which could be a major fire hazard if left unchecked.
6. Watch out for sparks or smoke
Turn off all switches in the electrical panel immediately once you see sparks or smell something burning from the light fixtures, the circuit box, or even the power outlets. This is a sign of compromised electrical works that could turn into a fire hazard at any moment.
Be sure to contact an electrician in the event that you start to see smoke or sparks from your electrical equipment, and always have your fire extinguisher on standby.
7. Ground older appliances
Older appliances, especially kitchen appliances, can put you at risk due to potential grounding issues – avoid this by using three-pronged plugs that properly connect to a grounded outlet. Outlets that have not been grounded should be replaced with new, grounded circuits.
Being able to determine the symptoms of an electrical problem allows you to make repairs easier and avoids running the risk of electrocuting yourself or other people in your home by accident.
When it comes to electrical safety, here are a few more tips to keep in mind:
• Assume all overhead wires are live. If the overhead power cables are dangerously close to your home, do not attempt to touch them with your bare hands, especially if they are exposed. If you have to touch them, wear thick rubber gloves.
• Keep all electrical equipment or wirings away from water. Water conducts electricity extremely well, which means that it could not only result in a potential fire hazard, but can also end up damaging said electrical equipment. Always work with electrical equipment or wirings in a dry area. If water is present around the area, shut off the main power and remove the water first before switching the main power back on.
• Do not repair or operate electrical equipment without proper training. Though there are electrical problems that you can fix by yourself at home, there are also more delicate and complicated electrical equipment, such as circuit boxes, that you should not try to move yourself. Consider contacting an electrical services company to help you with this problem.
*This list is compiled in no particular order.*