We all know how important electrical systems are to properties, whether it’s maintaining power in the home or ensuring business operations run as they should. If something goes wrong, or you need a new electrical installation (such as lighting), you may need urgent remedial work carried out.

While it can be tempting to try your hand at DIY electrics to save time and money, this can be dangerous or even fatal for yourself and others using the system. This includes incorrectly installed cables and terminations.

Here are some of the most dangerous aspects of poorly installed electrics at your property and how you can spot them.

Overtight & Loose Cables

Why are loose cables dangerous?

Loose connections can cause arcing between the cables themselves and metal terminals, resulting in an arc flash. This is where electricity flows or discharges along an unintended path, igniting with particles in the environment. It can result in electrical fires thanks to the incredibly high temperatures produced.

Tightening cables too much can also be dangerous. If the overtightened area causes cables to break, it could leave loose connections at the terminals, causing the same issue.

Overloaded Cables

Circuits for ovens, showers and hobs are the sites of many overloaded cables. Some bathroom fitters or builders install this type of appliance without considering both cable sizes and the total load. If the circuit can’t handle the amount of electricity running through it, the wiring could overheat. It the insulation then starts to melt, it could cause a fire in your property.

Spot the Signs of Overloading or Loose Cables

If there’s an issue with your electrical wiring, one of the first signs you’ll get is the circuit breaker tripping. However, there are a number of other indications there’s loose cables or an overloaded circuit present.

Signs of loose cables or a poor installation include buzzing or crackling sounds, flickering lights or appliances which cut out. If you see any of these, stop using the appliance and consult with a qualified electrician immediately.

Another indicator of overloaded circuits or loose cables is the discolouration of outlet plates or if the faceplates of any switches are warm to touch. This is caused by the high temperatures of electrical arcs, resulting in the plastic elements becoming discoloured, heating up or even burning. You may also notice a smell near to the appliance as it overheats, produced by the melting plastic.

Again, if you spot any of the symptoms above with your electrical circuits and appliances, ask a fully qualified and approved electrician to assess the area and rectify the issue. Ignoring the problem could be fatal, but you can stop it before it worsens and results in a fire breaking out.

Think twice about DIY electrics. Take a look at some of the images above to see real examples found on a daily basis at every type of property and installation.

Need emergency electrical work?

Down to Earth Electrical Contractors can help. We operate across Central London, South London and Surrey, including Epsom, Morden and Sutton. Contact us now to request a visit.