Circuit protection devices: Often overlooked devices at home

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Saurabh Goel, President – Havells India | May 19, 2020

Electricity is at the centre of our daily existence and our dependence is only increasing with the emergence of a newer field of Home automation, IoT enabled electrical appliances. It is difficult to comprehend that while a home customer tends to invest heavily in her choice of aesthetics, décor and other gadgetry to create a comfortable living environment – investing in safe and robust electric circuit protection devices, often takes a backseat. We fail to realize the danger lurking in our homes which can transform the everyday harmless appliances to objects of danger.

The National Fire Protection Association states that faulty or damaged electrical equipment cause 69% of all electrical fires.

With increased access to electricity, the country has witnessed nearly 25% increase in the consumption within the residential sector. Common wisdom suggests that the electrical infrastructure should be in sync with the rising load within the premises. Compatibility of wiring with the electrical appliance usage is essential, if an internal wire breaks or losses just a scrap of its insulation sheath, it can energize the metal housing which in turn can result in a nasty shock or a big disaster.

Therefore, old buildings should have periodic checks done every year on parameters such as insulation level of cable and health of earthing, grounding terminals. A good practice is to change the electrical wiring in a household in about 15-20 years, with a branded, good quality product, with the right current rating.

Even more galling laxity is often done in the selection of Miniature circuit breaker, which is the most basic protection device that can be adopted to protect from current overload and short circuit. These circuit breakers come in multiple specifications with different ratings for different types of load.

Residual current circuit breaker (RCCB) is a life saving device, which detects any current leakage in circuit and disconnects the circuit immediately well before that leakage can cause a life-threatening shock. It becomes all the more important for devices installed in washroom, kitchen and laundry rooms as water and electricity don’t mix well.

In fact, Government wiring regulations make it mandatory to install 30mA rated RCCB connected to power sockets involving human interaction. RCCB often called the human protection device, is a must for every home.

Failure to regularly check and change frequently-used Power sockets is another important reason that has led to an increment in electrocution cases in households. Did you know when a wall socket breaks and comes loose, just brushing against a live pin or wire can send an electric shock coursing through the body? Young children, often unaware of hidden dangers, can fall prey to this. It is also imperative to choose shuttered sockets and have them securely screwed into the flush boxes which are con-sealed into the walls.

Neglecting these important safety devices can have fatal ramifications. Today, a lot of technological advancements have been made in the field of building circuit protection devices, keeping in mind the exponentially multiplying needs of electrical safety. More importantly, contrary to popular belief, these safety equipment and products are very pocket friendly, almost at fraction of a cost when compared to the ‘life-saving’ protection it offers. It is always wise to take pre-emptive measures and safeguard ones family with best quality electrical equipment. Just a small little modification to the electrical fittings can save lives of loved ones, and assure peace of mind.

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