ESC advice regarding checking a plug and the plug fuses; the plugs and the electrical safety

The following tips and advice are taken from the Checking a plug and the Plug Fuses pages on the ESC(Electrical Safety Council) website – simple tips regarding being safe at home! Home safety when it comes to electricity is very important, and you can never be too much when it comes to protecting your life and the life of the other members of your family from the electrical hazard or the dangers coming from interacting with the electricity. Specifically, you need to periodically check the cables and the plugs of all the devices, and make sure the fuses are being changed when they need to.

ESC advice regarding Checking a plug

In the UK all modern appliances such as hairdryers, vacuum cleaners and microwaves use a square pin 13 amp plug. Plugs and their cables can suffer damage with use so it is a good idea to check them regularly. With the plug removed from the socket, check the cable from end to end and ask the following:

  1. Is the cable securely attached to the appliance and the plug?
  2. Is the cable cut, nicked or damaged in any way?

There should preferably be no joints and certainly no repairs with insulating tape.

Tips on checking the plug:

  • Remove the plug from the socket and check whether the plug is damaged or not.
  • Look for signs of overheating, such as discoloured casing or cable.
  • Check that the plug meets British Standard BS 1363 – it should be marked on the back of the plug.
  • Check that the cable sheath is firmly clamped in the plug and that no coloured wires are showing.

For plugs that did not come fitted to the appliance, check that the cable is connected correctly as the following instructions: First of all, remove the plug from the socket, and remove the cover. Then, check that:

  • the Brown wire goes to live (L);
  • the Blue wire goes to neutral (N); and
  • the Green-and-yellow wire goes to earth (E).
  • Check that the cord clamp holds the cable securely and that both of the screws are tight.
  • Check that the screws holding the three wires are tight.
  • Check that the fuse is the correct size and meets British Standard BS 1362 – see the manufacturer’s instructions if you are not sure what fuse to use. The fuse should clip securely into its holder. It should not be loose and there should be no signs of overheating.
  • Replace the cover securely.

ESC advice regarding the Plug fuses

Plugs in the UK are generally fitted with a 3A or 13A fuse. For appliances up to 700w you need to use a 3A fuse. And for appliances over 700w you need to use a 13A fuse. See below table for examples:

  • a fuse of 3A is used for: Table Lamp, Standard Lamp, Television, Video, Computer, Mixer, Blender, Refrigerator, Freezer, Power drill, Jig saw, Soldering iron.
  • a fuse of 13A is used for: Washing Machine, Dishwasher, Microwave, Kettle, Toaster, Iron

For the convenience of users companies who make appliances have standardised plug fuse ratings to either 3A or 13A, however other fuse sizes are still available. You can purchase these fuses + the needed plugs + the cables at Sparks Electrical Wholesalers Ltd. For now, we don’t have these fittings on the website, but please visit us at our Sparks and Lights showroom in Archway, North London.

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