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Electrical safety advice

Useful guides to electrical safety around the house, from plugs, cables and sockets to DIY safety tips.

Electrics can be extremely dangerous and are the leading cause of domestic fires in the UK. Use our practical advice to reduce the risk of getting an electric shock or causing a fire at home.

Remember, all electrical work and repairs must always be done by a qualified electrician.

Plugs, cables and sockets 

  • make sure your plugs, cables, and sockets are in good working order and not visibly damaged
  • don’t overload sockets with too many appliances
  • keep electrical leads away from water
  • ensure plugs fit tightly into sockets
  • fully extend extension leads before use
  • don’t run cables or extension leads under carpets or rugs
  • don’t overload sockets with too many electrical appliances
  • if you need an adaptor, use a good quality multi-socket extension lead
  • never 'daisy-chain' extension leads by plugging one into another.

Electrical appliances and lights

  • only buy electrical appliances and items from trustworthy sources

  • always keep electrical appliances away from water

  • switch off electrical appliances when not in use
  • always follow the manufacturer guidance for electric items
  • only use the chargers that came with your mobile phones and devices
  • don’t leave mobile phones or devices charging overnight
  • use the correct type and wattage of bulb for light fittings.

Electric heaters and electric blankets

  • don’t cover heaters or dry clothes on them
  • if possible, secure heaters to walls so they can’t fall over
  • position heaters away from flammable bedding, curtains, and furniture
  • don’t leave heaters unattended or fall asleep with them on
  • don’t switch electric blankets on while folded or crumpled up
  • don’t use a hot water bottle with an electric blanket
  • check electric blankets for scorch marks.

Charging electric vehicles

  • the safest way to charge a vehicle is using a dedicated charging point. If you think your driveway is suitable for installing one, please contact us first to request permission
  • never run an electric cable from your home across the public footway as it is a safety hazard
  • check your charging cable regularly and replace it if damaged
  • if you’re charging from a 13A mains socket, be aware that old wiring may not be able to cope with the demand from charging your vehicle overnight, and may make it a fire risk
  • never use a domestic multi-socket extension lead when charging electric vehicles. If you need to use an extension lead, only use one suitable for outdoor use
  • never 'daisy-chain' extension leads by plugging one into another.

For more information about electrical safety, visit

Electrical Safety First:

National Inspection Council for Electrical Installation Contracting:

Bathroom safety tips

  • plug sockets are not allowed unless fitted three metres from a bath or shower
  • electric showers must be supplied on their own circuits directly from your fuse box
  • electrical shaver points must be a safe distance from the bath or shower
  • enclosed ceiling lights are safer than hanging lights
  • ceiling-mounted pull-cord lights switches are safer than wall-mounted light switches
  • never use mains-powered portable appliances like hairdryers, heaters, or radios in the bathroom.

Kitchen safety tips

  • sockets and switches must be at least 30cm from the sink
  • don’t leave appliances like dishwashers or washing machines running unattended
  • don’t clean or repair appliances while they are plugged in
  • keep your hob, oven, and grill clean – build-ups of fat and grease are a major fire risk
  • don’t store objects on top of microwaves as this can block ventilation.

DIY safety tips

  • make sure your tools are in good condition and check their leads and plugs
  • use a cable detector to avoid drilling, nailing or screwing into cables inside your walls
  • use a residual current device (RCD) to cut off the power in emergency
  • turn off the power when working near electrical wiring and use battery-powered tools
  • get professional advice from a registered electrician: if you’re not sure what to do, don't do it yourself.

Product recall: Hotpoint or Indesit washing machines

500,000 Hotpoint and Indesit washing machines have been identified as potential fire hazards and need to be replaced by their manufacturer.

If you have a Hotpoint or Indesit washing machine visit the Whirlpool UK website to find out if you have one of the models affected.

Electrical appliance safety

Many people use electrical appliances (like washing machines and tumble dryers) at night, because of cheaper energy tariffs. This shouldn’t be a safety risk however, emergency services tell us that fires at night are more likely to cause serious injury.

Because of this it's important to make regular safety checks on all of your appliances, and take a look at the National Product Recall Register.