Inside your home
Unless you are a qualified electrician you should never wire any part of your home, install or move lights, switches or power points, rearrange electrical wires, carry out electrical maintenance or replace frayed cords on appliances. Always get a qualified electrician to do an electrical safety check of your home before renovations begin.
Make sure you use an extension lead that is appropriate for the power loading you need. Check that it has three prongs and is approved to Australian Standards. Extension leads with only two prongs are not ‘earthed’ and are dangerous. If an appliance is faulty, a non-earthed plug can cause power to flow through your body with potentially fatal results. Fully unwind leads before you use them so that they don’t overheat.
Never use more than one double adaptor in a single power point and don’t overload powerboards.
When painting around light fittings, don’t remove the light plate as this will expose live wires even when the light is switched off. Mask around it instead. When tiling around light fittings, switches or power points, get a licensed electrician to remove the light plates and deactivate any exposed wires before you begin.
Safety switches need to be checked regularly to ensure that all power and lighting circuits are protected. Portable safety switches can be bought from most hardware stores and are recommended for protection when using power tools.
Check for wires before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings. When a metal drill comes into contact with concealed wiring, it can spell disaster so always make sure you know where wires run first. Be particularly careful when drilling around power points and light switches.
Outside the home
See what’s down there before you dig. Always dial 1100 to find out if there are underground powerlines or other assets in the area before you dig any holes. Always follow the safe work guidelines provided by your local utility. It could save your life.
When painting eaves, replacing or cleaning gutters, avoid getting close to the electrical wires that connect your home to the power poles. Always look out for powerlines when using ladders or carrying other tall objects.
If the job requires close proximity to a powerline, be sure to install a visual aid for a small fee by calling Ausgrid on 13 15 25. ‘Tiger tails’ help improve visibility of powerlines so that they can be easily avoided.
Never interfere with the electric meter or divert electricity from the main powerlines to your home. It is not only illegal, it can also be extremely dangerous. The results can often lead to serious property damage, severe injury or even death.