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Is your home electrically safe?

Here is a little post and video that explains the inner workings of your average household plug... your local electrician will be able to help ensure that everything electrical is safe and up to standard.

it's important to understand the safety features built into them so that you can change your own with more confidence, especially as I often see broken plugs or loose cable flex which exposes the inner cable sheathing (i.e. you can see the brown and blue cables).. and of course if you're still not comfortable with this then you can your local electrician.

Within any plug your will find either 2 wires or 3, one live, one neutral cable (or core) and one CPC (earth).The neutral is usually blue while the phase or live is usually brown, the CPC usually green and yellow. It's important these are correctly terminated in the plug otherwise you will get "reverse polarity"... you don't want this!! This will mean parts of any appliance that should not have any current or electricity flow could have.

What does each pin on your average plug do (see diagram below):

  1. This is the Cable Grip... it's important that this is firm and holding the cable tightly, otherwise with continued use it will become loose and strain will be applied to the cables within the plug that carry that current into your appliances

  2. The Neutral: it's the blue sheathed conductor, this is the pin in which the de-energised electrons are fed back to where the energised electrons came from... the Power Station or Sub Station down the road

  3. The CPC (remember - if your appliance is double insulated like the Henry vacuum is, it's a CLASS II appliance and it won't have a CPC!): this will always be in the top pin, also known as the earth. This is very important as this is the conductor in which any fault current from your appliance will flow and therefore cutting your power supply via ADS (Automatic Disconnection of Supply) at your Consumer Unit or Fuse Board. Some of you will also have noted that the top pin is longer... this is also a safety mechanism that is built into the plug socket... it goes in first and at the same time unlocks the neutral and live terminals - without that longer pin you wouldn't be able to get the plug in!

  4. The brown Phase/Live: this is the brown cable/conductor, this is where the electricity will flow into your appliance to make it work! This should be connected to the pin with the fuse attached to it (often 13A but it can depend on the load it is supplying)

  5. Finally, the fuse. This applies some additional protection to you and yours... if the current that passes through it is significantly higher than 13A it will blow the fuse and cut the power... however before this happens the safety mechanisms built into your Circuit Breakers, RCDs and/or preferably RCBOs should cut this power before the fuse in your plug melts away... before I start and electrical work I am testing your electrical installation with specialist equipment to ensure that this is the case.

You can watch the video for a little more information on the inner workings or any plug in the video, and also why you might only find 2 cables and not 3. If you're still unsure then please do call your local electrician for help!


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