Seasonal safety

There are times of the year when we become DIY champions, get involved in neighbourhood festivities or prepare for a seasonal change. Electrical safety around the home is important and you should always be on the look out for hidden dangers associated with common DIY activities like painting, tiling and drilling holes in walls.

NEVER do your own electrical work - always use a licensed electrician.

Here are some of our helpful tips to keep you and your family safe from electrical dangers throughout all seasons.

Christmas creations

It's that time of year where we dig out the decorations and add some fun and sparkle into our home. It's important to remember that many of our favourite decorations can carry a risk of electrical injury if not used carefully. Take a few minutes to read our decorating safety tips:

DO DON'T
  Make electrical safety your first priority   String lights or leads on or near overhead powerlines, including the connection to your house
  Look up and live   Overcrowd powerpoints or use double-adaptors
  Check old lights for faults or frayed cords   Alter or modify light kits
  Buy Australian-complaint lights and always follow the manufacturer's instructions   Use indoor lights outdoors
  Use low voltage lights and quality power board for multiple plugs   Use light sets which have missing globes
  Keep lights, powerpoints and adaptors out of reach of children   String lights around wet areas such as swimming pools
  Switch off lights before going to bed or leaving the house   Put a ladder on an unstable surface

Summer fun

Backyard cricket, swimming and picnics – December through to February is the time when we make the most of being outside. It's important to be aware of electrical safety hazards when enjoying the warm weather:

  • Never throw items onto powerlines. Never attempt to retrieve them.
  • Avoid getting kites and airborne toys stuck in powerlines. Play in the wide open space.
  • Don't let the kids climb trees that are close to powerlines.
  • Keep an eye on the weather. Summer storms bring lightning strikes. If a storm is approaching, go inside.
  • Look up when carrying long metal objects such as ladders or pool skimmers. Be aware of overhead powerlines.

Autumn warmth

March to May is when the days grow shorter, the air turns cooler and we spend more time inside keeping warm. Keep these tips in mind:

  • Time to change. Check or change your smoke detector's battery.
  • Light the way. Make sure all outdoor lighting is in good order. Inspect fixtures and outlets for weather damage and replace burnt-out bulbs.
  • Use LED lighting, not candles.
  • Never heat with an oven. On chilly autumn mornings avoid the temptation to warm the kitchen with an open oven door.
  • Look up and live. When clearing gutters or pruning trees, stay clear of overhead powerlines when working with ladders, pruning poles etc.
  • Watch the portable heaters. Always follow manufacturer instructions for safe use.

Winter chill

If the drop in temperature has you reaching for a heater during June to August, take a few minutes to read our electrical safety tips.

Alarms

  • Test your smoke alarms regularly and have plenty of them. Early warnings could save you.
  • Change the batteries every year. Stick to a regular date like 1 April or Christmas Day.

Clothes dryer

  • Every time you use it, clean the filter. Built up lint can catch fire.

Cords

  • Don't piggyback cords on double adaptors or power boards. Overheating could damage your equipment.
  • Never run extension cords under carpets or rugs. Heat build-up and friction could cause a fire.

Electric Blankets

  • Store it safely, always roll the blanket. Folding can damage elements.
  • Turn off at the power point before getting into bed. Overheating could cause a fire.

Energy efficiency

Reduce your power bill and help save the environment by simply:

  • Layer up and put on warm clothing.
  • Add a few blankets on your bed.
  • Block drafts in your home and close off the rooms you're not using.
  • Raise the curtains and use natural sunlight to warm the room.
  • Run your reverse cycle air-conditioner at 18 degrees. It's the most energy efficient temperature for cool weather.

Evacuation

  • Have an evacuation plan prepared and practiced in case of a fire.

Heaters

  • Check the power cord and reflectors. Rust and frayed cords can cause a fire.
  • Don't dry your clothes on an electric heater. Water and electricity don't mix.
  • Don't leave heaters in places where they can be knocked over by people or your pets.
  • Turn off heaters before you go to bed or when you leave a room or the house.

Spring cleaning

If the spring cleaning checklist extends outside to window cleaning, clearing gutters, nurturing the garden or applying a fresh coat of paint. Whatever is on the agenda during September to November, remember these simple safety tips:

  • Familiarise yourself with the location of overhead powerlines and underground power cables on your property
  • Look up before extending or climbing a ladder, or using long-handled equipment.
  • Watch out for what's below. Dial before you dig, call 1100.
  • Plant trees well away from powerlines. Before trimming trees or shrubs, look out for powerlines that could be hidden by foliage.
  • Keep vegetation away from the large, green boxes that house underground electrical equipment. Don't allow children to play on the boxes.

Easter DIY

A four day break can be a golden opportunity to get ahead on some DIY jobs around the home. Whatever you're up to, take extra care and remember to always Look up and Live.

  • When painting around light fittings, don't remove the light plate. This exposes live wires even when the light is switched off.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • When using a ladder outdoors, take extra care and remember to always Look up and Live around powerlines.