En hand nära en trasig sladd med trådar som sticker ut.

Check your electrical products

As a consumer, you are responsible for checking and maintaining your electrical products so that they are safe for you and the surrounding area. You are also responsible for using them correctly.

If there are loose wires in your product, or if there are unusual sounds or a burning smell, this may indicate an electrical fault. You should immediately dispose of the product or have it repaired by an expert.

To avoid and prevent accidents involving electricity, you must check your electrical products regularly. To make things easier for you, we provide a checklist you can use. You should also consult the instructions and safety information that came with the product. They can help when you check the product.

Checklist for checking electrical products

  • Is the cable securely attached to the product and the plug?
  • Are all the cables intact, with the external insulation running all the way into the product, plug or extension socket? Is the insulation free of discoloration, cracks and other damage?
  • Are any cables being crushed? Make sure there are no cables running under a bookcase, for example, or in a doorway. Crushed cables are a safety hazard.
  • Are any cables touching hot surfaces such as electric heaters, hot light bulbs, hobs, ovens or hot water pipes? Very hot surfaces can damage the cable insulation.
  • Are any cables rolled up in a tight coil? Heat can build up in bundles of current-carrying cables. That is why you should avoid tangled cables, and if you are using an extension reel, make sure the cable is fully unwound.
  • Are there products with loose or broken housings? Replace them or take them to a service centre for repair.
  • Are there any hot lights near flammable fabrics? Make sure that curtains, bedding and similar fabrics cannot come into contact with the lights.
  • Are any lights flickering or otherwise not working normally? This may be caused by a loose contact, which can result in overheating and fire.
  • Are you using bulbs with a wattage higher than the maximum for the light fitting? Change to a bulb recommended in the light fitting manufacturer's instructions.
  • Have you vacuumed behind the fridge and freezer lately? Vacuum the floor and also the coils and the compressor at the back at least once a year – the dust may pose a fire hazard. 
  • Do you have any old electrical products at home? Look out for wear and damage that may cause the product to become live.
Last reviewed: 2023-02-22