I am redecorating and have wall mounted lights currently which I will be taking down. If I seal off the wires and just push back into the wall, will this be okay? They all operate from the same switch which also controls the main light in my living room.

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This is a problem as capping off the cables and concealing them in a wall or fabric of the building can be dangerous. When leaving cables connected to the electricity supply, they need terminating in a suitable electrical box/enclosure and need to be accessible for future testing, inspection and maintenance. Cables must not be put in connector blocks and/or just taped up to be concealed or plastered over. This increases the risk of fire and electrocution.

If the lights are being removed permanently, the wiring to them should be disconnected from the circuit. Once all the wires are disconnected at both ends, they should be cut back or removed to ensure that reconnection is not possible. The wall can then be repaired and decorated.

On the subject of decoration, we often find that wallpaper has not been trimmed properly and the excess paper is pushed behind switches and sockets, putting the paper straight into a fire ignition point. The plastic covers, metal back boxes and electrical accessories are designed to be fire resistant to help stop electrical fires but try not to leave flaps of paper inside the box. You can trim the paper right up to the edge of the internal box, as the face plate of the switch or socket will overlap it by a few millimetres.

Remember to take extra care when fitting wallpapers with a metallic finish, as some can actually conduct electricity making the entire wall live. Remember to always turn the power off at the mains before removing the covers on sockets or switches.

Original questions from Simply Holbeach and answers provided by Kelvin Goulden

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