Tips to protect your home from electrical hazards this Diwali

November 3, 2020 1:04 PM

Diwali, the festival of light, brings the yearly ritual of renovating our homes, accentuating the décor, purchasing new gadgetry, and styling our interiors. But, we often fail to take note of the most crucial aspect that is the ‘electrical health’ of our homes.

The most overlooked electrical device in households are circuit breakers, packed in a box seldom opened when fault occurs

By Saurabh Goel

Diwali, the festival of light, brings the yearly ritual of renovating our homes, accentuating the décor, purchasing new gadgetry, and styling our interiors. But, we often fail to take note of the most crucial aspect that is the ‘electrical health’ of our homes. It is worth mentioning that in the year 2019, 300 cases were reported in Delhi on day of Diwali due to electric fault in addition to wide spread cases of electrocution in the festival season. Elements such as old plugs, poorly insulted power tools, damaged cords, poor quality wires etc. can lead to major electrical hazards and fatal accidents. The National Fire Protection Association states that faulty or damaged electrical equipment’s causes 69% of electrical shocks and fires at large. Unfortunately, people are either unaware or neglect this basic piece of information, which often leads to life threatening ramifications.

By making our homes and other establishments Electrically safe, we not only protect our family but society at large.

Here are 3 ways to ensure safety from electrical hazards as we celebrate the festival of lights .

Unchecked and Faulty Wires are first to catch fire

Electrical wire are the ‘veins and arteries’ of our home and they should be treated with as much care as the other electrical aspects of the house. It is often given little to no attention after it has been installed and are only revisited when they need to be replaced or repaired. Nearly 13 per cent of accidental fires that take place are due to short circuit and poor wiring. If a home is over 20 years old, it may not have the wiring capacity to handle the increased amounts of electrical appliances in today’s average home, such as computers, wide-screen televisions, video and gaming players, microwaves, water heaters and air conditioners.

Circuit Breakers should be triggered when circuits get overloaded , but outdated breakers often have worn connectors that do not work, causing the system to overload and start an electrical fire.

A general rule of thumb is to replace the electrical wiring in a household in about 10-15 years, with a branded and good quality product with the right current rating. It is advised that old buildings should have periodic installation check-ups done on parameters such as insulation level of cable, healthiness of earthing/grounding terminals to avoid any kind of electrical hazards.

Adding Gadgets or load to same circuit, leads to overloading

During festivities, consumers accentuate the beauty of their homes with decorative lights and increase the use of appliances for various activities. Hence, the role of extension cords becomes essential to provide flexible electrical power cable to the appliances or devices. Extension boards, when overloaded with heavy consumption, can lead to excessive passing of electrical current, which can thereby damage the appliances or devices. It is advisable to remove devices that are not in use and spread out electrical needs to avoid overburdening. If you do not have the appropriate type of outlets for your appliances, hire an electrician to install new ones. Furthermore, consider replacing a damaged appliance or tool before using them, else it can lead to a dangerous situation especially when connected to an extension board.

Install life-saving protection devices RCCB or ELCB

The most overlooked electrical device in households are circuit breakers, packed in a box seldom opened when fault occurs . It is difficult to comprehend that while it saves human lives, nearly 90 percent of homes do not have RCCB commonly known as ELCB, a watchdog which makes sure to disconnect circuits in fraction of a second in case of any current leakage. This device protects us from preventing electrical shocks and fire. Nowadays innovative ELCBs are available as Plug top or adaptors giving socket level current leakage protection, which can be installed with washing machines, air coolers, water heaters (geysers) – essentially all devices which are more susceptible to the water – electricity – Human interplay. Correct selection of Circuit breakers and wire are essential to safe interaction with electricity which powers our window to comfortable living and joyful celebrations.

This year around, celebrate the festival of lights with your loved ones by creating safe electrical surroundings for them with the installation of proper human safety devices at home. Taking these measures should be on top of the priority list to safeguard circuitry, appliances and inhabitants, rather than doing damage control after an accident. Shock proof your home, as a second of negligence can result in serious consequences.

(The author is President, Havells India Limited. Views expressed are personal.)

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