The Shocking Truth about Overloading your electrical sockets

May 23, 2016

Government statistics show that electricity causes more than 20,000 fires a year in the UK. As a result, about 70 people are killed and 350,000 are seriously injured every year due to an electrical accident in the home.

Over the last twenty years the number of electrical appliances typically found in a home has grown exponentially.  Across the UK in the average home there are 7.4 ‘internet-enabled’ devices alone – if you mentality calculate the number of mobiles, tablets, PC’s, TVs, Kindles etc. in your household you might be very surprised how quickly the total adds up. All of these devices need charging and along with the more standard electrical appliances, they all need sockets to plug into.

Despite the National House Building Council in 2007 recommending that new three bedroom homes be fitted with 38 plug sockets – up from 17 in 1977-  across the UK 92% of households use three or more multi-plug extension leads every day. Just imagine, if you had two multi-plug extension leads (each with 4 bars) plugged into a double socket, that’s potentially 8 electrical items drawing from the one power supply! If you leave them on 24/7 – it’s a potential electrical fire just waiting to happen!

The Electrical Safety First charity has a brilliant ‘socket calculator’ which allows you to determine if your multi-socket extensions are being shockingly overloaded or not  – try it out here

You can avoid overloading sockets and risk of fire by following this simple advice from Electrical Safety First :

  • 1. Check the current rating of the extension lead before plugging appliances into it. Most are rated at 13 A, but some are rated at only 10 A or less – the rating should be clearly marked on the back or underside of the extension lead. If not, refer to the manufacturer’s instructions
  • Never overload an extension lead by plugging in appliances that together will exceed the maximum current rating stated for the extension lead. This could cause the plug in the wall socket to overheat and possibly cause a fire.


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