How to Check for Bad Electrical Wiring

Posted in: Electrical Tips for the Home

Every year hundreds, sometimes thousands of fires are started in homes around Australia because of bad in electrical wiring. This fact compounds experts who constantly remind us of the need to call in an electrician to check your house on a regular basis. Spending $100 to have a wiring checked is like an insurance policy that can guarantee your family’s safety as well as provide added protection for your most valuable financial asset, your home.

Of course, it is also possible that you may be able to perform a cursory check yourself before calling in an expert but you still need to have some information about how to do this properly. Although you should never rely upon your own expertise, here are a few tips that can give you a heads up as to whether you should call in an electrician to do a thorough check for you.

  • A fuse box or circuit breaker protects the electrical circuits in your home, so it’s important to check them regularly. Usually found in the garage or on the outside of the house, you can open the box and check for signs of irregularity, like the voltage reading 0. Other, more obvious signs of electrical wiring issues includes damage to wires within the box. If you notice any issues or damage you should call an electrician immediately.
  • It is ironic that many electrical fires could have been prevented by regular maintenance checks. It is important to have your wiring checked every 2 or 3 years to make sure no damage has occurred in the intervening years. A professional electrician is the only person equipped to provide you with a thorough check and to give you the peace of mind you need.
  • Some other tell-tale signs that you need professional help is when you find melted fuse boxes or when you see sparks when plugging in an appliance around the home. Overheating of appliances in this way can result in a fire so unplug it immediately and take it for repairs.
  • Remember that every household electrical system is different and some houses will need more regular checks than others. The only way to find out is to get an electrician to tell you how often you should check your house wiring. In particular, older homes expose you to a greater chance of danger because most modern houses built during the last 10 years will have electrical systems installed which minimise problems. Nevertheless, you should never assume this is always the case and calling electrician at least once every 5 years.
  • These days most households have a plethora of electrical appliances with new additions almost every month. When you consider HD television gear, sound systems, air-conditioners and dozens of plug-in chargers you need to be even more vigilant.

Electrical safety first

Electrical hazards can pose a major threat to people’s wellbeing, and so electrical safety around the home is essential. Although electrical work should always be carried out by a professional, it’s important that homeowners can use electrical equipment safely and identify when electrical systems are unsafe.

Basic electrical equipment that everyone should be aware of how to use properly include:

  • Extension leads – these should only be used temporarily and, when in use, should be placed in hidden areas. They must be in good condition and should be kept away from water.
  • Electrical appliances – you should look at all your electrical appliances before using them to check that they’re not broken or damaged and are safe to use. Always turn off and unplug any broken appliances, use a label to remind yourself and others that it’s unsafe to use, and make sure to get it fixed or replaced as soon as possible.
  • Power points – ensure power points are switched off before plugging appliances in and don’t use power points that show signs of damage, like visible wires.
  • Power boards – place these in ventilated areas and switch them off when not in use.


Other things you should know about electrical safety include to never use water to put out an electrical fire, avoid using old appliances, and always switch off the power before checking electrical systems.

Remember, DIY electrical work is always a bad idea. Ensure your safety and the integrity of your electrical system and call a certified master electrician to take care of your electrical wiring.