Wiring worries? Make safe choices

Wiring worries? Make safe choices

A new home owner should plan for electrical outlets, plugs, sockets and switches in each and every area of your home as early as possible.

One of the causes of a fire at home is faulty or substandard electrical wiring and electrical or electronic equipment. Unlike in the past, the trend today is to opt for concealed wiring that does not mar the aesthetics and is far safer too. It would be much better, especially for a new home owner to plan for electrical outlets, plugs, sockets and switches in each and every area like balconies, bath room, bed room, dining, drawing room, garage, children’s room, kitchen, store room, toilet, and so on as early as possible when the structure is coming up.

The homeowner should discuss such details with the architect, builder and electrical contractor. Only certified licensed electrical contractors should be engaged for electrical wiring and for fitments, though the homeowner could offer suggestions on what types of wiring and fitting would be suitable, keeping the style, cost and practicality in mind. A survey of available brands and types would prove useful in taking the final decision. Looking to cut down on cost for electrical wiring and other equipment is not an option. Compromising on quality could prove hazardous. We now have readily available BIS / internationally approved brands of electrical cables, sockets, plugs, meters, circuit breakers and switches.

It would be desirable to have three-pin sockets for safety’s sake, though there are still some two-pin plugs and sockets. The location of the geyser and washing machine should be decided as well as the electrical outlet. It would be desirable to have outlets as close to the equipment that is being connected to avoid the need for long electrical wires that could prove dangerous.

It is not recommended that many outlets are connected to a single outlet using an extension board or an adaptor, as it could lead to overloading and consequent over-heating or fire. Selection of any item depends on an individual’s preference and budget. However, energy efficiency in lighting and electrical / electronic equipment is gaining importance in view of increased cost and availability of power. CFL lamps are in and incandescent lamps are out.

Earthing matters

Over-voltage circuit-breaker, not so common, and overload (over-current) circuit breaker protect the home from sudden high voltage and sudden drawing of heavy current respectively due to short-circuit that could result in damage to electrical / electronic equipment. There is also fear of current / voltage leakage due to abnormal electrical surge or lightning in the neighbourhood. This could also be due to reasons such as faulty wiring or faulty equipment. The electric meter is sealed and made tamper-proof. It is important that the meter is accessible to the meter reader easily, on the outside.

If the meter box is locked, arrangements must be made to keep the meter open on the designated date on which the meter reading is to be taken. However, any malfunction of the electrical meter should be reported as soon as practical. ‘Earthing’ is essential in a home to prevent electrical shocks. This is a professional job that should be entrusted to qualified electricians. Periodical checking of ‘earthing’, say once in five years, could prove useful.

Technology has improved and so is the availability of a wide range of materials of top brands. An old home would have wiring, switches and sockets that were satisfactory when installed.

However, periodic check-up of wiring would prove useful rather than waiting for something to go terribly wrong.

Moreover, any electrical problem at home should be attended to immediately, by engaging qualified and experienced electricians. Self-help may not be the best help in electricity-related matters unless that person has experience of attending to minor electrical repairs.

The tendency to draw many electrical connections from a single outlet with a multi-socket plug or extension board should be avoided as far as possible in view of danger of overheating that could result in a fire hazard. Joining electrical wires and taping them should be avoided.


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