Property owners are responsible for ensuring electrical wiring work is done by a licensed electrician.

Safety switches

40% of house fires in NSW each year are caused by electrical faults and electrical appliances. This means up to 1,800 house fires each year could have been prevented by getting the wiring checked by a licensed electrician and having safety switches installed.

Usually, properties built during or after the year 2000 will have safety switches installed. For properties built before the year 2000, it’s strongly recommended that you ask a licensed electrician to check.

Test safety switches twice a year to make sure they’re working properly to prevent the deadly risks of electric shock and fire.

How safety switches protect your home

Safety switches protect you when an electrical fault is detected. They monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. If there is a leakage of current, they turn off the electricity in a fraction of a second and protect you from serious electric shock.

Check with a licensed electrician to make sure you have the right number of switches to prevent the risk of electric shock or electrical fires that may cause injury or death. Safety switches look slightly different on each switchboard but always have a ‘T’ or ‘Test’ button.

If your home isn’t covered by safety switches or you are unsure if you have them installed, contact a licensed electrician for help.


Electrical wiring in older homes

40% of house fires are caused by electrical faults and electrical appliances in NSW homes each year

Many of these fires are caused by old wiring that is worn out or is unable to cope with the demands of modern electrical equipment.

In addition to the risk of fire, making contact with aged or faulty wiring can be fatal.

If your home was built more than 10 or 20 years ago, your wiring may start to become a significant risk.

If you come across any old electrical wiring in your home, do not touch any part of it as live parts of the wires may be exposed, especially at power outlet or light switch connections – call a licensed electrician.

In older homes most of the electrical wiring used had a rubber protective coating for the wires, over time it deteriorates and crumbles away, leaving the wire exposed and increasing the chance of fire.

Wires used now are coated in PVC, which has a much smaller risk of deteriorating and leaving exposed wires.

If your home was built before the 1980s, you really should consider having it inspected to see if you have any aged or faulty wiring.

The only way to be sure that the electrical wiring in your home is not a risk to you and your family is to have a qualified electrician inspect the wiring in your home.


DIY electrical – why you should think twice

DIY (do it yourself) electrical work is dangerous and illegal.

You may think you can save money by installing an electrical appliance yourself.

But, doing electrical work yourself can:

  • put you, your household or tenants at risk of injury or death
  • result in your property being destroyed by fire if the work is faulty
  • void your insurance policy.

Unless you are a qualified electrician you should never attempt to:

  • wire any part of your property
  • install, replace or move power points
  • install, replace or move lights and switches
  • install or replace ceiling fans
  • carry out any electrical maintenance other than changing a light globe.

Electrical safety in rental properties

It is the responsibility of a landlord to ensure their rental property is safe and secure. When a property is rented, the landlord or agent must take steps such as making repairs so the property is fit to live in.

Before a tenant moves in a landlord or agent must fill out a condition report and give two paper copies, or one electronic copy, to the tenant prior to or at the time of the tenancy agreement being signed.

The condition report includes whether there are;

  • visible hazards relating to electricity (e.g. a loose or damaged electricity outlet socket, loose wiring or sparking power points)
  • smoke alarms installed (as required by legislation) and the dates that they were last checked and had battery replacement
  • safety switches and confirmation that they are working, which can only be known if a test has been done

Any electrical fault in a rental property either before or during a tenancy would be considered an urgent repair and tenants need to notify the landlord or agent right away so arrangements can be made to for repairs to be done as soon as possible.


Solar power safety

Solar photovoltaic (PV) systems can pose a risk to you or emergency crews in times of severe weather events such as storms and floods.

Solar PV systems are connected to the normal power supply for use in your home or business, as they are powered by a source of light, they can continue to generate even if the mains power has been disconnected.

It is critical to remember solar modules and their cables should be treated as if they are live sources of electricity.

You should be familiar with the shutdown procedure for your Solar PV System if you are unsure of what to do contact the manufacturer or installer.

3 simple steps that could save your life 

  • Do not turn off a solar PV system if any of the components are covered in water or if parts of the system are still wet. This could result in a fatal electric shock.
  • Do not reconnect your solar PV systems if your roof has been damaged. Your roof may be a live source of electricity.
  • Never assume your Solar PV System is safe if your home is affected by a storm or flood. Take a thorough look at your system and if at all concerned, call a licensed electrician.


If you have any questions about electrical safety in your home, call Omega today on 1300 674 797. We are more than happy to answer your questions and help ensure your safety.


Content sourced from NSW Government