House fires are devastating, yet forty per cent of them are caused by electrical appliances and faults.
It’s not just homes built decades ago that are at risk. Homes as young as six years could have an unknown fire hazard lurking and could be at risk any time of the year, not just winter.
Halogen downlights, for example, are a fire risk. They’re embedded in wool insulation which can reach 200 degrees Celsius and if unprotected can start burning.
Deteriorating switchboards are also common. If bathroom exhaust fans aren’t cleaned properly they can lead to overheating and a fire. Power points need to be updated as they can deteriorate and become hazardous.
According to Matt Jones from Tradiepro, “many people are under-estimating the hidden dangers in their home which is why we are calling on home owners and tradies to work together to be proactive and find these dangers before they escalate and become a fire or worse deadly.”
“Tradies are finding potential fire hazards on a daily basis when they are called to a home to fix a problem and that’s when they’re seeing these fire hazards.”
“Home health checks are necessary and we are encouraging tradies to do this,” he explained.
Alan Collins, director of Sydney electrical company Westcork, is now carrying out home health checks and recently discovered a powerpoint next to a child’s playmat had deteriorated so much it could have been deadly.
9 dangers lurking in the home
1. Out of date smoke alarms, dead batteries or no smoke alarms.
2. Halogen downlights with no heat protection embedded into wool insulation can cause a fire.
3. Switchboards that were compliant at the time but are now deteriorating, have loose connections and incorrect fuse wire installed which if overloaded can cause a fire.
4. Cracked power points or switches with exposed live copper parts can cause electric shock.
5. No electrocution protection (safety switches) installed in the switchboard.
6. Corroded, broken old cable or no main earth electrode, a vital part of the house electrical fault path system.
7. DIY installed light fittings with a live conductor attached to the frame can cause electric shock.
8. DIY 'Tape & Twist' loose connections can cause electric shock
9. Live cables in attics where other trades may be crawling
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