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Faulty wiring is fatal

nemmani sridhar
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During summer, overloading and substandard wiring is the major cause of fires

It’s that time of the year when we crave for a cooler place to dwell. With most of the greenery gone, following proliferation of concrete, we are left with just one option to fall back on; electricity.

Almost every other home has air-conditioning or the poor man’s substitute, air coolers. There is, however, one important side effect, overloading of our electrical wiring. Fire fighting officials have cautioned time and again that it is the fatal mix of substandard electrical wiring and increased load that has led to fire accidents during summer.

Most of us care about the quality of cement or tiles that we use in the house but the cabling system is usually left to the contractors or electricians. Summer heats up the building structures and the plastic coated wires get further heated up due to overloading - a perfect recipe for disaster, officials say. We cannot escape the heat and cannot do without the cooling systems. So what do we do? An alternative is to control overload and this can be done by selecting the right cables.

Further more, while our familiarity with the electrical system in our homes stop with the electrical meter or the auto-trip-off switches that we religiously turn-on whenever they do their job of avoiding overloading or a short circuit. When you are building a house, the best thing would be to look into the aspects of electrical cabling rather closely. Experts suggest that one should clearly decide on the type of appliances that we would use in each room and discuss the same with the electricians before they start putting the electrical tubing. The next step would be to create a detailed wiring plan, not just chalked out on walls, but on paper so that one does not accidentally damage the wiring, while drilling holes, or can reach the troubled spot quickly in the event of any damage or accident later.

“People often leave the aspect of electrical wiring to the contractors who may not be interested in using the best possible wiring and equipment. But it will be a good idea for the owners to at least speak with the electricians once,” P. Siva Kumar, an electrical expert says.

Consultations would be a good idea as electricians should know the requirements of the owners and suggest safety aspects, he explains.

Thumb rules

Ensure that there is a point through which all wirings run through so that one can easily cut off the electrical supply in the event of an accident, overloading or fire. The wiring should also follow proper colour coding to identify the live wires instantly.

Ensure that each room has enough sockets and plugs. “We have a habit of using spike extenders and multi socket plugs to use the same outlet for more than one device, increasing the load on a wire. By providing a socket for each appliance, the wiring will have lesser load,” Kumar explains.

Also install sockets of different capacities, like 2.5 amp, 5 amp, 15 amp and above, in each room so that equipment with higher electrical consumption can be used in appropriate socket. One should also ensure that correct gauge of wire is used for sockets of different capacities. Finally, have an earthing pit dug in a house to protect the equipment from voltage fluctuations and sudden electrical surge.

nemmani sridhar


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