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7 avoidable electrical fire risks in offices

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Would your business survive a fire at your office?

For most owners, a fire would be a costly setback which their businesses could ill afford.

You can reduce the risk of a fire at your premises by avoiding seven key problems:

1.  Overloaded plugs – this can cause plug sockets to burn out and spark, and that can ignite plasterboard walls or material around it. Check the amp rating of the items you’re plugging into one socket to ensure it doesn’t exceed the safe level. Some items will need a socket to themselves.

2.   Damaged wiring -  regular inspections will ensure your electrical wiring isn’t damaged by wear and tear or rodents. Damaged wiring can cause a short, and sparking can ignite material around it. Check for hot plugs or sockets, fuses being blown regularly, or tripping circuit breakers.

3.   People bringing in non-PAT tested appliances – without PAT testing, how can you know if a device someone has brought in is safe to use? Kettles, microwaves, lamps, fans, and laptops all need to be tested to ensure they don’t pose a fire risk.

4.   Computers left on all night – leaving computers running all night does increase the chances of an electrical fire, particularly if the computers are older. It also hikes your electricity bill!

5.   Chargers for laptops and mobile phones left plugged in for long periods – this can increase the risk of fire, especially if the chargers being used are cheap replacements. There have been instances of such chargers causing fires.

6.   Overloaded extension cords and plug adaptors – these have a limit to the number of amps they can take, so check the rating. Generally, they are 13A or 10A. Don’t exceed that maximum rating.

7.   Incorrectly-fitted lighting or wiring – this can cause serious problems, from increasing the risk of fires to risking your staff getting shocks or burns. Anyone who carries out electrical work at your premises should be a registered electrician who has the knowledge to ensure the work is safe and carried out to a good standard.

Need help with inspections, installations, repairs, or maintenance work at your office? Call our experts on 0845 003 6856. Find out more about our commercial services here: /commercial-services/.


Don't have an electrical fire nightmare this Christmas


How would you cope if you had a fire at your home this Christmas?

There are some simple things you can do to ensure you minimise the risk, and keep your holidays happy.

1.      Test or replace your old tree lights.

You should get your tree lights tested to ensure they are safe – especially if they are old.

You’ll need qualified electricians who offer PAT testing.

It may be cheaper to replace them with new, low energy LED lights which use far less power and give off far less heat – reducing the risk of a fire on your Christmas tree.

Real trees can also be very dry, which can increase the risk of a fire. So, buy a tree base which allows you to water it every day. It will also help to stop the pine needles dropping.

2.      Don’t overload your sockets.

There are so many demands on your electricity supply at Christmas – lights for the tree, TVs, laptops, tablets, phones, gaming consoles, and toys which need to be charged.

It would be easy to overload sockets and cause a danger. Ensure your sockets aren’t overloaded – unplug unused items and don’t leave laptops or phones to charge overnight. There have been safety concerns raised after fires involving batteries from phones and laptops which have been left on charge at night.

3.      Buy electrical presents from reputable outlets.

Always buy electrical items from reputable outlets who allow returns. It’s also important to test them as soon as you can to ensure they are functioning properly.

4.      Make sure hair straighteners and irons are unplugged.

If you’re getting ready for the Christmas party, make sure any hair straighteners or irons are unplugged before you leave for your festive fun.

5.      Don’t cook after drinking!

It’s too easy to leave food on the stove or in the oven and fall asleep. Electric ovens are very safe, but fire could spread if food is left to burn inside them. Stick to cold food – or a take-away.

6.      Ensure your smoke or fire alarms are working properly.

Test your smoke or fire alarms to ensure they’re working and that you can rely on them.

If your alarms contain batteries, they will need to be replaced sporadically, so you should test them every month.


Here’s wishing you a safe and merry Christmas!


Need help with electrical testing or fire alarms? Check out our services here: http://www.sonikelectrical.co.uk/fire-safety/


How to slash the cost of running your Christmas lights


Are you tempted to turn your home into a Christmas grotto? Are you holding back because you’re worried about the electricity bill?

Some families love lighting displays on their roofs, trees, windows, garages, and on standalone items like light-up reindeer, snowmen, and Father Christmas.


These days, though, we’re all concerned about the impact on our bills and on the environment.

A display of thousands of lights with traditional lightbulbs can cost more than £170 to run for a month, the Energy Saving Trust has warned.

It says that powering kind of display can also produce enough carbon dioxide to fill 140 telephone boxes.


How can you save money on your outdoor Christmas lights display?

Swap your traditional, incandescent bulbs for strings of LED lights. They use up to 90% less energy than traditional light bulbs.

To replace a 60 watt bulbs, you need 6W LED lights. According to research by Comparethemarket.com, a single 60W incandescent bulb costs, on average, £26.65 to run for a year if left on for 10 hours a day at an average price of 12.2p per kilowatt hour – that’s 0.07p per day.

Replace that with an LED, and the average annual bill becomes £2.66 – or 0.007p per day.

Running 1,000 incandescent 60 watt lights for a 10-hour day would cost around 70p. Running 1,000 LED lights for that day would cost 7p.

Running 1,000 LED lights for the 12 days of Christmas for 10 hours a day would cost £1.10.

How much you’d pay depends on the wattage of your bulbs, how long you leave them on, and your tariff.


Across a large display, however, the decision to use LEDs could slash the cost of running your lights dramatically. It also cuts the impact on the planet in greenhouse gases.

Consider installing solar-powered lights for the garden displays, instead of powering them from your mains. They use photovoltaic panels to gather power during the day to keep your lights twinkling at night – with a zero running cost.

Does your electricity tariff give you cheaper energy at certain times? It’s worth checking before you decide on when your switch-on times should be.

You could also choose to limit the times you switch on to weekends or just a few nights a week.

Think about where you place your lights. You may not need as many to make an impact if you place them carefully.


How to save cash on your indoor display

Swap your incandescent tree lights for LEDs to cut the running cost.

If you’re worried about the bill, keep your strings of lights to your tree, or one place in your home. You can use reflective decorations to maximise their impact and hang other decorations like holly, ivy, baubles, or oranges studded with cloves in other parts of the room to make it feel festive. 

Need help with your domestic lighting? Do you need an electrician in Cardiff? Check out our services here: http://www.sonikelectrical.co.uk/domestic-services/