Check your plugs!

These days, electrical appliances are supplied with plugs so you don’t have the worry of wiring them up correctly. But if you have any appliances which you have had for some time, you may have fitted one and they can start showing signs of wear and tear.

Damaged electrical plugThe plug in the image to the left is a good example – it has been over heating for sometime and is a potential fire risk, not to mention the risk of electrocution!

It is not clear what caused the problem with this particular plug, but it has been drawing too much electrical current resulting in the pins becoming so hot they have caused the plastic to start to burn.

The fuse may be incorrect and have too high a rating for the appliance. The purpose of the fuse is that it will fail if the appliance becomes faulty, protecting the appliance and the user from harm.

At Alcro, we have seen boilers where the householder has decided that the fitted 3amp fuse isn’t enough and swapped it for a 5amp fuse. The boiler is fitted with a 3amp fuse for a reason. Allowing it to draw more current could cause catastrophic damage to a gas boiler and the home owner a large bill for a new one. Our advice is to leave alone and if you are concerned, call for professional advice!

How to check your plugs

  • Visually inspect them – are the any signs of overheating such as burn marks? Are they damaged i.e. is the casing broken at all? These are signs that the plug and appliance is unsafe.
  • If the casing is broken you could replace them yourself if you are confident to rewire them correctly.
  • If there are signs of over heating, there is a high chance the appliance is faulty and needs replacing. Don’t just replace the plug.
  • Plugs may not show signs of damage but may feel very hot when in use. Again this is an indication there is a problem and you should seek advice from an electrician or the shop where you bought the appliance (make sure you speak to competent person).
  • If you replace any electrical plugs, make sure you buy good quality from a reputable supplier which have a kite mark. It’s a bit like buying tyres for your car, do you want to risk your life a cheap bargain? You get what you pay for.

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