Ken O'Connell Electrical





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Safety Tips


Working with Electricity is dangerous and you must remember to take all the necessary precautions. The articles in this section provide information on Bathroom Safety, Child Safety and a hot topic at this time of year, DIY and Garden Safety. Remember if you have any questions we are just a click away. Go to our Contact Us section to ask us any questions you may have.  


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Rest of House

Here are a few ways to stay safe around the rest of the house

Living Room

With computers, game consoles, TVs, DVD players and more modern living rooms have more socket outlets than ever before.

What to do

  • Ensure all sockets are protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD)
  • Regularly check your RCD is working by pressing its 'T' or 'Test' button
  • Check for loose, cracked, or damaged sockets and switches
  • If you find any damaged, have them repaired by a Registered Electrical Contractor. 

What to avoid

  • Never extend a cord or a lead with taped joints or home made socket assemblies
  • Never nail or staple cords or leads to walls, as this can damage the cord, resulting in electric shock
  • Do not place cords under rugs or carpets, as this can cause overheating
  • Never try to repair faulty appliances - have them replaced or repaired by an appliance repair professional
  • Never try to force a 2-pin plug into a 3-pin socket - this can be extremely dangerous. Replace the 2-pin plug with a suitable 3-pin plug to


Hall or Landing

Although this area of the house often contains very few electrical appliances, here are a few safety pointers:

  • Fit two or more smoke alarms in your home (at least one in your hall or landing) and test regularly
  • Remember to replace their batteries twice a year
  • Leave a low energy light on overnight in the hall/stairs area to avoid accidents
  • Consider installing emergency lighting in case of a fire or power outage

For more information please Contact Us.

Trip Switches and Fuses

Trip switches and fuses are essential safety devices that cut off the flow of electricity in your home if a fault occurs.

Where to find them

You will find Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs) and fuses in your distribution board.

They protect the individual circuits that carry electricity to the various applications in your home, such as lights, sockets, immersion heater and cooker.

Typical distribution board - MCB type

MCB Type Fuseboard

Typical distribution board - fuse type

Fuse Type Fuseboard

Types of fuses

Types of Fuses

Fuses used in domestic fuse boards are usually one of two types: NDZ fuses and DZ fuses
NDZ fuses are narrower than DZ fuses and are often found in older installations.

How distribution boards work

If there is a fault in the circuit or if an appliance causes an overload, the MCB will trip or the fuse will blow and all current will be cut off to that circuit.

An MCB can be reset by returning it to the 'ON' position. If a fuse blows, it must be replaced with one of similar strength.

Fuse Strength

Fuses have a small coloured disc in the base that identifies the strength:

Disc colour


Used for


6 amp



10 amp



16 amp

Socket outlets - radial


20 amp

Water heater, storage heater, socket outlets - ring


35 amp

Cooker, electric shower


Residual Current Devices (RCDs)

RCDs protect you against serious electric shock if there is an electrical fault in your home.

They detect 'leaking' electricity from a circuit (e.g. a damaged cable) and respond by disconnecting the electricity supply from the circuit.

Most modern homes have an RCD fitted in their distribution/ fuse board, but older homes may need to install one.

RCDs are also available to fit at a socket outlet. These should be used for tools and outdoor equipment.

You should check that your RCD is working correctly by pressing the test button marked 'T' or 'Test'.

Test Switch

If it is working, the power to all socket circuits will immediately switch off. If the RCD fails to trip, it should be replaced immediately by a registered electrical contractor.

Who should connect electricity supply to my home?

Your electricity supply comes through the ESB Networks main fuse and the ESB Networks meter.

Both of these items are sealed, and should never be touched by anyone other than ESB Networks staff.

Any electrical installations from your ESB Networks meter into your home (as opposed to those from the electricity network into your meter) are your responsibility, but all repair work to these should be only be carried out by a registered electrical contractor

For more information please Contact Us.

Modern Appliances

Find out how to protect your modern electrical equipment if there is an electrical surge.

What are power surges?

They are sudden spikes in voltage in your electricity supply. Repeated, small power surges can shorten the life of your appliances and electronics.

What appliances can they affect?

Games consoles
Cordless phones

How can I protect my equipment?

Installing surge protection equipment can prevent damage to your electrical appliances. Surge protection equipment can be purchased from most electrical retailers.

For more information please Contact Us

Kitchen Safety

The combination of electricity, water and hot surfaces can make your kitchen a dangerous place. Here are some simple precautions you can take.

What To Do

  • Make sure all sockets are protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD), and regularly check it is working by pressing the 'T' or 'Test' button
  • Have a fire blanket and fire extinguisher easily accessible in the kitchen
  • Unplug your electric kettle before filling it, and always replace a leaking kettle immediately
  • Unplug electric appliances before cleaning them
  • Have faulty appliances repaired by a professional
  • When you are buying kitchen appliances (or any electrical appliances), make sure that they carry the CE approval mark, which implies that they meet European safety requirements
  • Let steam appliances (kettles, irons) cool down before refilling with water

What To Avoid

  • Don't use cracked, loose, or damaged sockets or switches - have them repaired by a registered electrical contractor
  • Never leave chip pans or deep fat fryers unattended
  • Don't leave flexes trailing across the cooker, hob or sink
  • Don't handle plugs or switches with wet hands, and never let plugs get wet
  • Don't try to release jammed toast from a toaster while it is still plugged in
  • Never try to force a 2-pin plug into a 3-pin socket - this can be extremely dangerous. Replace the 2-pin plug with a suitable 3-pin plug top.
  • Don't use appliances with worn or damaged flexes - replace the appliance, or have it repaired by a professional

For more advice contact us



Bathroom Safety

Water and electricity don't mix, so follow these special wiring rules and requirements for better bathroom safety.


What to do

  • Employ a registered electrical contractor to carry out any electrical work

  • Make sure all electric and water heaters in the bathroom are fixed and permanently wired - never power a bathroom heater from a plug and socket, even if the sockets are next door

  • Ensure your electric shower is protected by a Residual Current Device (RCD), and remember to regularly check your RCD is working by pressing its 'T' or 'Test' button.

What to avoid

  • Never fit socket outlets in bathrooms or en-suite bathrooms. The only exception to this rule is specially designed electric shaver outlets.

  • Don't use portable appliances (e.g. hair-dryers, electric heaters, mains-operated radios) in your bathroom - even if plugged into a socket in an outside room.

For more advice contact us

Child Safety

Here are a number of ways you can increase the safety of children when around electrical appliances. There is a fantastic interactive web site that demonstrates to children where electricity comes from and how to stay safe Our 4 year old thought it was great.


Around the house

  • Make sure all cords to your appliances (e.g. iron, kettle) are kept well out of the reach of children

  • Never let your child bring any type of electrical appliance (games consoles, radios, CD players) into the bathroom

  • Teach your child not to touch electrical appliances with wet hands

  • Always fit safety caps into unused sockets, and always place child locks on washing machine doors

  • Never leave electric cords lying around where children are walking or playing

  • Always protect heaters and electric fires with a safety guard when children are around


Never let your child wander near outdoor power lines and transformers, and never allow children to climb trees near power lines.


For more advice contact us

Safe Electric

Safe ElectricIn the interest of safety you need to get a Completion Certificate for any electrical work being carried out in your home. Remember, a Registered Electrical Contractor like Ken O’Connell Electrical will give you a Completion Certificate, is fully insured, competent and compliant with the rules.

DIY and Gardening

Take extra care when you use electricity outside, in your garden or for DIY projects.


Residual Current Device (RCD)

Make sure all sockets supplying electricity to power tools or outdoor appliances are protected by a residual current device (RCD). This is usually fitted at your distribution board (fuse board), but RCDs are also available as plug-in devices. At Ken O’Connell Electrical we recommend you regularly check your RCD by pressing the 'T' or 'Test' button.


Electrical Equipment

  • Always follow the manufacturers' guidelines when using electrical appliances

  • Never use electrical appliances in the rain or in wet conditions

  • Use protective clothing, goggles and footwear when using electrical appliances

  • Keep trailing flexes well clear of lawnmower blades, hedge-trimmers and electric saws - aim to cut away from the cable, and make sure to keep the flex behind you at all times

  • Unplug all appliances before attempting to make adjustments or clean blades

  • Never leave appliances or tools unattended when they are plugged in, especially if there are children around

Flexes, plugs and sockets

  • Check all flexes, plugs, and sockets for any signs of damage before use, and never try to repair a damaged item yourself - instead replace it

  • Never extend a flex by jointing or home made socket assemblies - buy one of adequate length or use approved extension reels

  • Only let a registered electrical contractor install outdoor sockets or lighting

  • When using extension reels, make sure to uncoil them completely to prevent overheating

Outdoor lighting

  • Consider installing extra low voltage lighting as a safer option to Electricity cables

  • Be extremely careful when using ladders or tall objects near overhead electricity cables

  • Install TV aerials far enough away from overhead cables that they won't touch them even if they fall over

  • Never plant trees beneath overhead cables, and contact Ken O’Connell Electrical straight away if you see garden trees touching any cables

For more advice contact us