According to Electrical Safety First, one million people over 75 live in homes that don’t meet basic electrical safety standards. This is often because the electrical installation and appliances have probably been left untouched for many years. Another factor can be that many elderly people don’t like to let strangers into their homes, so this paired with the cost of hiring an electrician allows electrical hazards to go unnoticed for long periods of time.
There are four things you can do to keep older people safe from electrical accidents in their homes:
1. Check the fusebox
The consumer unit, or fusebox, controls the electricity in the home. If the fusebox is old, check that all the fuses are the correct size, free from damage, and don’t have signs of any burning. If the fuses blow regularly, that can be a sign that there is a problem with the unit, and it should be looked over by an electrician. Ideally, older people should have a modern consumer unit fitted.
2. Check the RCDs
RCDs, or Residual Current Devices, cut off the electricity when there is an issue with an electrical installation. They will prevent electric shock if they are working correctly, so it’s important that you test them. You should press the ‘test’ button on the RCD, and if it cuts off the power to the circuits it’s protecting, then it is working properly. If it doesn’t do this, then it needs replacing. If the older person’s home doesn’t have any RCDs, then a short-term measure should be to use plug-in RCDs for all regularly used sockets.
3. Check lights and sockets
Light fittings and plugs can get damaged over time, so you should check them over regularly. Check for damaged plug tops and whether there are any cracks, burn marks or discolouration to lights. If you hear any crackling sounds when the lights or sockets are in use then stop using them straight away and call an electrician.
4. Check the smoke alarms
As a minimum, there should be smoke alarms in the downstairs hallway and upstairs landing. Make sure you test them regularly. If there are no smoke alarms present, you could contact the local fire service as they often fit smoke alarms for free.
As people get older and find it harder to do DIY, this can cause their homes to get into a state of disrepair and leave lots of electrical safety hazards around. If a home hasn’t been checked by an electrical safety check within the last 10 years, get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) carried out. To find up to 4 electricians that can give your quotes for the report and any work that needs carrying out, simply use our service.