Are you overloading your plug sockets?

Fri 3 Oct, 2014

This picture of a dangerously overloaded 13-amp wall socket was not posed - it was taken with a homeowner's permission while Buckinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service was carrying out a free safety check. Three adaptors were connected to each other, and 14 electrical items were plugged in.

Most people have extension leads in their homes, using adaptors to increase the number of appliances that they can plug into a wall socket. 

Although there is space to plug in several appliances, this does not mean it is always safe to do so. Different electrical appliances use different amounts of power. 

High-current appliances include kettles, hairdryers, irons, dishwashers and heaters. Low-current appliances include televisions, computers, hi-fis and radios.

To avoid the risk of overheating and possibly fire, an extension lead or socket should never have appliances that together use more than 13 amps or 3,000 watts of energy plugged into it.

Click here for an easy-to-use online calculator, devised by the charity Electrical Safety First, which shows you how to avoid overloading your sockets.