Phone chargers left in overnight, hair straighteners heating up on the carpet, sparking toasters and overloaded plug sockets – you only need one appliance to give up and you could have an electrical disaster on your hands.

The prospect alone is alarming, but then comes the hassle of having to find a reputable, registered electrician to rewire your home and bring it back up to safety standards.

[Read more: 5 ways to check your electrics in the home are safe]

This is particularly worrying when, according to new research, more than 18 million people in Britain find asking electricians for proof they are registered too awkward a subject to broach.

Here are six dos and don’ts to make finding a reliable, registered electrician simpler:

DO

Be brave

Don’t be one of the 18 million people too afraid to ask for proof that their electrician is registered. On the legal front, electricians work to the UK national safety standard (BS 7671) and you can search for legitimately registered electricians in your area at Registered Competent Person or, if you live in Scotland, the government’s Certification Register.

Get a reference

Want more proof that your electrician has the skills to back up his claims? Ask to see references from previous (and hopefully happy!) customers.

Err on the side of caution

Make sure to get at least three quotes from different electricians before embarking on major electrical work in your home. It may be time consuming, but worth it in the long run.

DON’T

Jump at the lowest price

Got your three (or more) quotes? Thoroughly tempted by the cheapest option? Consider the fact that if it sounds too good to be true, the likelihood is that it is. Shelling out a bit more now may save you later on.

[Read more: Updating your electrics: 5 things to consider before you get started]

Forget to check…

…that everyone working on your premises is qualified to do so, not just the contractor. You need to feel comfortable and assured that every tradesperson working in your home is professionally up to scratch.

Fret

If, after following correct procedures (and these tips), you are still unhappy with the work carried out, get in touch with Trading Standards and Citizen’s Advice. They will be able to help you dispute the issue with your contractor if needs be.