Don't be left in the dark when clocks go back


NICEIC is urging homeowners to carry out important safety checks in their homes to avoid being left in the dark this winter.

As the clocks go back for another year, homeowners will begin to switch on more lights and turn up the heat to stay warm and cosy. The plugging in of additional equipment places a far greater strain on the electrical installation in the home.
NICEIC is encouraging homeowners to take the time to make some simple safety checks, to ensure homes are winter-proofed and avoid a potential disaster.
Darren Staniforth, technical expert at NICEIC, said: “With the clocks going back this weekend, we’ve reached that time of year when people will naturally start plugging in more lamps or portable heaters as they nestle down for the winter.
“However, with faulty electrics accounting for 20,000 house fires each year, it’s important that homeowners carry out regular ‘home health checks’ to avoid any unnecessary danger, or costly repairs.
“Whilst carrying out these checks should be routine in keeping your home safe, it’s important to recognise what is normal, what should be a warning sign and when to call in the professionals to avoid putting yourself and your family at risk.”
To stay safe this winter, NICEIC is calling for homeowners to undertake the following visual safety checks:
  • Ensure that plug sockets are not damaged or scorched
Any scorch marks around a socket are an indication that something is overheating and that you should call a registered electrician to investigate further.
  • Check that any leads or cables are not damaged or frayed
Never use an appliance if the cable is in a bad condition.
  • Check that lights are working correctly and there is no sign of visible damage
  • Check that sockets are not overloaded or that too many extension leads are in use
  • Check that the main fusebox (consumer unit) has RCD protection fitted.
A Residual Current Device instantly breaks an electric circuit to prevent serious harm from an ongoing electric shock
 Those aged over 65 are at even greater risk of being involved in a fire. NICEIC is urging householders to extend the safety checks to any elderly relatives or neighbours.
Darren continued: “People over 65 are statistically more likely to be involved in a fire caused by faulty electrics. We want to encourage those looking out for an older relative or neighbour to have a quick check of the home to make sure that there is nothing there that causes electrical concern.
“During the colder months the elderly are more likely to be plugging in electrical appliances such as heaters or electric blankets - many of which could be old and potentially dangerous. By following the guidance provided, it should be quick and easy to spot any problems.
“As the clocks go back, our message to homeowners is simple – carry out the visual checks and if you are concerned, call in a professional, such as those registered with NICEIC, for any electrical work in order to keep your home and family safe.”
For more information, or to search for a NICEIC registered contractor visit

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