Safety indoors

Blown fuses

Fuses in your meter board are there to offer protection. When an electrical circuit is heavily overloaded (too may appliances on the one circuit), or if there is a short circuit in your home (when current reroutes to earth), the wire in your fuse will melt (or 'blow'). You will need to isolate the problem before replacing the fuse.

If you are unsure how to check, or change, fuse wire then you must contact a qualified electrical contractor to assist you.

Please note: If you are constantly replacing the same fuse, or tripping the same circuit breaker, there could be a serious problem with your wiring. Call a licensed electrical contractor.

Dimming lights

Your lights may dim or dip slightly when a powerful appliance such as a refrigerator or heat pump turns on. This can be acceptable. However, if your lights are continually low or inconsistent, it means your wiring needs close attention and you should call a licensed electrical contractor.

Tingles and shocks

Never ignore a shock from an electrical appliance or power tool - no matter how minor. Disconnect immediately and contact TasNetworks on 13 2004.

If you receive a 'tingle' from touching the taps in your home, there is a problem that requires urgent attention. Report it immediately to TasNetworks on 13 2004.

Faulty leads and appliances

Old wiring - particularly cloth or rubber coated flex - has no place in your home. Vermin may have chewed through it, or it may have perished to the point of exposing wires. Have it replaced by a licensed electrical contractor.

If an oven, toaster, kettle or any other appliance seems to take longer to work than usual, it could signal a major problem and you should call a licensed electrical contractor.

Never try and repair old or worn out electrical appliances yourself - take them to an authorised repairer or throw them out.

DIY and home renovations

For good reason, the only electrical work an unlicensed person is permitted to perform is replacing a fuse in a meter board or wiring a plug to an extension lead or portable appliance. Don’t tamper or tinker with electrical installations - it could be fatal for you or someone in your home. You must call a licensed electrical contractor.

Powerpoints

Discoloured, melted or cracked powerpoints or light fittings can indicate overheating of household wiring. Don't take risks. Call your licensed electrical contractor to investigate.

While it is normal for switches or power points to sometimes emit a tiny flash when you turn them on, be on the lookout for excessive noise or sparking or burning smell. If this happens call a licensed electrical contractor.

Wet areas

Water is an excellent conductor of electricity. Even switching on a light switch with wet hands can be dangerous. You must keep electrical leads and appliances away from wet areas and out of the rain. If you are building, there are restrictions on where you can place powerpoints in bathrooms and laundries. Check with building regulations, your electrician or builder if unsure.

Electric heaters

Electricity is one of the safest forms of heating available, provided you adopt a common sense approach to safety. A heater is not a clothes dryer. Never dry washing too close to a heater - especially a radiator. The garments can overheat and ignite. Don’t put portable radiators under or near fabrics like curtains or tablecloths

Electric blankets

Never leave your electric blankets turned on for long periods of time. They could potentially overheat and ignite your bed and home. Electric blankets are designed to warm your bed before you get in. Once in, you should turn them off. Check to make sure you haven’t accidentally switched the blanket on after you have just made the bed. Faulty or damaged blankets should be discarded.

Electric clothes dryers

Regularly clean the lint filter in your dryer. Failure to do so may create excessive heat build up in the dryer. This can cause the garments inside the dryer to self-combust and start a fire.

Hot water

Every year, many people receive burns and scalds as a result of contact with hot water. Most at risk are children and the elderly. A tempering or mixing valve can eliminate the danger, by mixing hot and cold water together automatically to achieve a maximum tap temperature of 50°C. These valves are now compulsory in all new bathrooms and ensuites, but may be added in older homes by a licensed plumber.