UK electricians reveal the 10 most dangerous electrical mistakes they see in homes

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  Posted by: electime      11th July 2022

  • Leaving plastic-sheathed cable unprotected is the most harmful error and can be lethal
  • People in Northern Ireland are most likely to make dangerous electrical mistakes
  • The most common mistake is to over-stack extension cords or electrical outlets

Electricians have revealed the 10 most dangerous mistakes that Brits make when attempting electrical DIY at home, with some possibly leading to serious injuries or worse.

Almost half (49 per cent) of Brits have meddled with their home’s electrics, so ElectricalDirect, the specialist retailer of electrical products, asked hundreds of electricians to reveal the most common errors people make, and then rank them in terms of severity.

The most dangerous mistake is not protecting plastic-sheathed cable. John McCallister, electrical expert at, explains why this is problematic:

“Leaving plastic-sheathed cables unprotected exposes them to snagging and cuts, which could lead to fires or lethal shocks. Running them through a conduit minimises this risk.”

People living in Northern Ireland are most guilty of making this top mistake, with 40 per cent of electricians in the country saying they see it regularly.

The 10 most dangerous electrical mistakes Brits make at home are:

# Electrical mistake 
1 Leaving plastic-sheathed cable unprotected
2 Leaving switches or outlets loosely connected
3 Cutting wires too short
4 Recessing boxes behind the wall surface
5 Installing cable without a clamp
6 Connecting wires outside of electrical boxes
7 Overfilling electrical boxes
8 Reversing hot and neutral wires
9 Wiring a ground fault circuit interrupter (GFCI) backwards
10 Installing electrical outlets close to water

Second on the list is leaving switches or outlets loosely connected.

John says: “Loose connections cause movement that can potentially disrupt the power supply or allow live wires to wiggle loose, exposing them to your fingers. This means that there’s a potential risk of electrocution or fire.”

However, the most common mistake tradespeople come across is Brits over-stacking extension cords or electrical outlets.

This is dangerous because “plugging too many devices into a single socket may result in the socket overheating and catching fire”, John explains.

Dominick Sandford, Managing Director at ElectricalDirect, said: “Interest in DIY has massively increased over the last few years and while this is great to see, it’s important that people stay away from certain electrical jobs that can lead to injuries.

“That’s why we consulted electricians from across the country to reveal the tasks which are best left to the professionals.”

For more expert comments about why these 10 electrical mistakes are dangerous, visit: