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Immersion heaters and lighting (fire safety)

​How do I know if my immersion heater is unsafe?

Airing cupboards were the location for 13% of Jersey’s accidental fires in the home in 2008, therefore look out for the following signs that could indicate a problem with your immersion heater:

  • excessively hot water coming out of the taps
  • excessive noise or bubbling from the hot water cylinder
  • hot water coming out of certain cold water taps
  • steam or condensation in the roof space
  • unusual heat on the sides of the cold water cistern (tank) in the loft
  • discolouration (brown or yellow staining) to the electrical plates or cables or switches

If you have any concerns over your immersion heater or have noticed any problems with its operation, then get a qualified electrician to check your system over.

What safety concerns should I have about lighting in my home?

Safe distances

Lamps can generate a lot of heat. They must be kept a safe distance from flammable materials like curtains, furniture, paper etc. Read the user documentation carefully before use. If in doubt, keep all bulbs at least half a metre away from any other objects.

Bulbs and fittings

Lamp fittings are rated by the wattage of light bulb they can take (eg 40W for small table lamps). This is usually shown on a sticker or on the plastic moulding. Using a bulb larger than the stated rating can cause the fitting or wires to melt and catch fire.

Lamps with shades

Light bulbs generate a lot of heat. If you use the wrong type or shape of bulb, this can cause light shades to melt or catch fire. Read the sticker or moulding on the lamp carefully and make sure the bulb you're fitting is the same wattage or less. Meanwhile, removing shades from table lamps can be dangerous too. If a lamp with a naked bulb in it tips over, it could come into contact with something flammable.

'DIY dimming'

It can be tempting to put something on top of a lampshade to make the room darker but this could cause a fire. Use a smaller bulb instead.

Dimming lamps and lamps with transformers

Lamps and fittings that can dim, lamps that have bulbs with built-in reflectors or small push-in 'capsule' bulbs, often have a transformer as part of their power supply. Using the wrong bulb can damage the transformer or the wiring and may cause a fire. Read the instruction manual carefully and look out for any information on the lamp or fitting when replacing bulbs. If in doubt, consult a qualified electrician.

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