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Should you really be doing that, dear? Safely replacing a plug on a domestic appliance

One of the most common electrical fixes is replacing a damaged, worn or cut electrical cord and plug. Electrical repairs can be very tricky, and if you don’t take a few precautions, can be quite deadly. If you do decide to have a go at changing the plug of one of your domestic appliances yourself, remember these few electrical safety tips. Note that certain appliances like ovens and washers require different approaches than smaller appliances like mixers or toasters. It might be a good idea to look at our article on DIY oven repair, DIY tumble dryer repair or DIY microwave repair before getting started.

1) If you aren’t certain something is safe, don’t touch it!

2) Turn the switch off at the wall before touching or pulling a damaged plug or cord. It only takes a second, but this is the most common mistake made.

3) Examine the plug and socket. Are there any signs of burning or melting? If so, you’ll need to figure out what caused it, not just replace the plug.

4) Look at the plug itself. If it is of the new, moulded variety, you will not be able to open it up. If this is the case, you’ll have to cut the cord itself or detach it from the inside of your appliance, and replace cord and plug as a unit. Take a picture of which wire goes where before removing the cord at either end. Putting the wires back in the wrong order can be disastrous.

5) If the plug has screws, it can be opened up and examined, and you can fit a new plug to the existing cord easily. Alternatively, you could replace the cord and use the same plug. Open it. There will be 2 or three metal pins (often brass). Each will have a screw which you can turn to unfasten the conductor wire. Take a picture of the arrangement with your phone.

6) After replacing the plug, the cord or both, use those pictures to rewire it safely. Make sure the wires are tight.

7) Replace the fuse if there is one, and carefully plug your appliance back in.

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