HOME owners and tenants have been warned NEVER to ignore a “fishy smell” in their property.
If there’s no rotten food stinking out the fridge or bin, the whiffy stench could mean danger.
An expert has revealed that this particularly foul smell could indicate there’s an electrical fault at a socket or switch in your home.
So when you can’t pinpoint the culprit of a nasty pong, beware your electrics could be putting your home at risk.
Bakelite, the hard plastic that most electrical components are made of, produces a “fishy” odour when it overheats and melts.
The overheating is caused by arcing – when a small spark jumps between two connections in the electrical circuit.
Faulty electrics need immediate attention and put a household in grave danger of a fire.
Telltale signs of overheating include brown socket holes and – once opened up – a burnt back of the socket.
Melting might also force a socket or appliance to stop working.
But a fishy smell might be the first warning something is wrong and ignoring it could be a fatal mistake.
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Electrical maintenance director Simon Williams from Phillip Services Ltd in Swansea told Wales Online: "It could cause an electrical fire long-term.
"Obviously it's a nuisance if your socket stopped working – but that's not the end of the world, that could be repaired.
“But if parts of your home burned down, then it's a different story."
"It could be imminent – it could be at any time, really.
“If it's got to that stage where it's starting to smell, there are things burning there."
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He said the suspicious smell would be in the "particular area of the property" where the overheating socket or switch is.
Switch off the mains electricity and call an electrician if you’ve identified a “fishy smell” you think means trouble, he added.
Simon said: "If there's a fishy smell in the house, and nobody's been cooking and there's no reason for it, and it's in a particular area of the house, you should ring an electrician straightaway then to come and inspect it."
To avoid hazardous faults like this, he also encouraged people get an Electrical Installation Condition Report (EICR) – every five years for tenants in rented properties and every ten years of home owners.
He said: "[An electrician] will spend some time going round your house to check all the electrical sockets and do some tests on the circuit.
"We recommend every five years."
Simon also warned not to plug multiple appliances into one socket and overload it.
He said: "If you're using televisions and stuff, it's not so bad – TVs and computers don't draw a lot of power.
“But if you've got washing machines, tumbler dryers – that type of thing – and extension leads, then they do draw a lot of current and that could cause problems as well."
The red flag comes after a warning over "highly dangerous" electrical devices advertised to save shoppers money on their energy bills.
The plug-in devices claimed to save energy or "stabilise electrical current" and were sold over eBay – but Electrical Safety First found the products could explode.
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