Electrical Safety

How to stay safe at home: Electrical safety guide

The number one cause of electrical problems at home is the misuse of electrical equipment. Keep an eye on your appliances on a day-to-day basis and immediately stop using anything that looks damaged.

What we do

5 yearly electrical inspection report (EICR)

We carry out an EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report) every 5 years on the fixed electrics in your home. Fixed electrics include the wiring, sockets, light fittings and consumer unit (or fuse box) and will also include permanently connected equipment such as extractor fans, showers and storage heaters.

The EICR will find out if:

  • any electrical installations are overloaded
  • there are any potential electric shock risks and fire hazards
  • there is any defective electrical work
  • there is a lack of earthing or bonding

The EICR will show if any remedial work is required to the electrical system. Remedial work is classified as either:

Code 1 (C1) Danger present. Wherever possible the electrician will repair C1 defects before leaving your home.
Code 2 (C2) Potentially dangerous. Wherever possbile the electrician will repair C2 dfects before leaving your home.
Code 3 (C3) Improvement recommended. C3 defects are recommendations and are not required in order for a satisfactory report to be issued.

Where C1’s or C2’s are identified, further work is required and an unsatisfactory report will be issued. Wherever possible we aim to repair C1’s and C2’s immediately – occasionally this isn’t possible, for instance if parts need to be ordered and we will aim to complete the repair in 28 days. Once any C1 and C2 defects have been repaired a satisfactory report is issued.

The EICR will be carried out by a SELECT or NICEIC registered electrician.

The EICR will usually take a maximum of two hours and electricity will be switched off for around half an hour. If your property is issued with a satisfactory report you will be issued a copy within 28 days of the inspection.

5 yearly communal EICR

In block so flats with a communal area, we carry out an EICR of the communal electrics which will include any landlord supply consumer unit, lighting, emergency lighting, cleaner sockets and hard wired smoke detection.

Portable Appliance Testing

Where we have supplied appliances such as fridges, washing machines and cookers we will carry out regular Portable Appliance Testing to ensure the appliance is safe and does not present a fire risk or risk of electrocution.

Portable Appliance Testing is usually carried out annually.

We are not responsible for testing appliances owned by tenants.

What you can do

Allow access for the electrical inspection

A poorly maintained electrical system can present a risk in terms of fire and electrocution – please allow us access to carry out the electrical inspection to ensure your electrical system is safe. We will normally contact you two months before your inspection is due so there is plenty of time to arrange a date and time that is suitable for you.

Where we cannot carry out the EICR due to a lack of electric supply (for instance if there is no credit in the meter) the engineer will have to cap the gas until the supply is restored. Our Housing Support Team can offer advice if you are struggling with fuel bills.

Where we cannot gain access to a property, after three attempts to make contact with the tenant we will take access using a master key to complete the EICR.

Check your electrical system

Although we carry out an EICR every 5 years, a lot can happen between inspections. Regularly do a visual check of your electrics and contact us if you see signs of damage such as:

  • Damaged, loose or scorched sockets or light switches
  • Damaged or scorched light fittings
  • Damaged electrical cables
  • A circuit on your consumer unit that repeatedly trips (although please note that if we investigate and find this is being caused by one of your appliances, you will be recharged for the repair)

For your own appliances:

  • Keep appliances away from water sources such as the kitchen sink and never use appliances (other than an electric toothbrush) in the bathroom
  • Dry hands before touching electrical appliances or sockets and plugs
  • Check appliances for damaged cables and plugs
  • Keep cables and wires properly stored and away from children and animals
  • Unplug appliances and devices before repairing or cleaning them
  • Don’t plug appliances into overloaded sockets
  • Allow air to circulate around appliances such as fridges and microwaves
  • Don’t store items on top of your microwave
  • If you use portable heaters, keep them away from curtains or other flammable items
  • Check fuses on plugs – most new appliances will have a moulded plug with a simple pop out fuse that is easy to change. Older plugs will have an internally mounted fuse and the plug will need to be opened to change the fuse. Check our DIY guide for changing fuses. Fuses play an important role in preventing overheating.
  • Avoid buying second-hand appliances. If you are thinking of buying second-hand, check to see if the product has had any recalls before you spend money.
  • Use energy saving LED bulbs – they are less likely to overheat
  • Always read the manufacturers advice to ensure you are using the appliance the way it is intended.

Obtain our approval for alterations

If you are thinking of making changes to your electrical system (for instance replacing pendant lights with spotlights) you must get our approval as landlord so that we can check that any alteration will be appropriate for the property and safe and legal.

Visit our page on ‘making changes to your home’ for more information

If we do approve an electrical alteration we will require you to use a SELECT or NICEIC registered electrician and obtain certification (usually a Minor Electrical Installation Works Certificate or MEIWC) at the end of the work to show that the work has been carried out safely.