Ensuring electrical safety at home

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 Electricity powers our daily lives, allowing us to light our homes, run our appliances, and charge our devices. While we enjoy the convenience and comfort brought by electricity, it can be hazardous if not handled properly and cause serious injury. Therefore, it is crucial to take the necessary measures to ensure your safety and the safety of your loved ones. Issues like flickering lights and faulty switches might seem common, but they may also be symptoms of a serious electrical fault.

Electrical faults can occur for various reasons, such as overloaded circuits, damaged wiring, or faulty appliances. They can also be caused by external factors, such as lightning strikes or power surges. Electrical issues have been identified as the main cause of fires in places such as India, where fires caused by electrical accidents took up 20% of cases in 2020. By being proactive and seeking professional advice and safety equipment, we can ensure our homes remain a safe and comfortable place for us and our families.

Ensuring electrical safety at home

Let’s share some insight into electrical faults, how they may occur, and how we can help keep our homes safe and have peace of mind.

Short circuit

A short circuit is a common electrical malfunction that occurs when a live wire carrying electricity comes in contact with a neutral wire. It can be caused by various factors, including damaged outlets, loose connections, pests chewing through wires, water coming into contact with wiring, deterioration of electrical cable sheathing, or poor maintenance. When a short circuit occurs, the flow of electricity is disrupted, and a large amount of current is generated, leading to excessive heating. This can cause a fire or explosion if not addressed promptly.

Overload

When an excessive amount of electrical current flows through a circuit, it can cause the wires to overheat, melt the insulation, and even start a fire. Signs of an overloaded circuit may include flickering or dimming lights, buzzing outlets or switches, warm or hot outlet covers, burning odors, scorched plugs or outlets, and malfunctioning appliances or electronics. It’s important to take immediate action if you notice any of these signs, such as unplugging appliances and electronics, and contact a licensed electrician to diagnose and address any issues with your electrical system.

Leakage current

A leakage current occurs when an unintentional electrical connection between an energized component – or conductor – and the ground. An example is when a person comes in contact with a live conductor while standing on the ground; the current can flow from the live conductor to the ground through that person’s body, resulting in an electrical shock. This can be extremely dangerous and even fatal in some cases.

Electrical devices such as washing machines, water heaters and refrigerators can experience earth leakage due to insulation damage, wetness, or incorrect grounding. This can damage the device and pose a risk to users. Proper grounding and avoiding contact with live conductors can help prevent leakage currents. Regular maintenance and inspections can detect and resolve issues before they become problematic.

Electrical surges

Electrical or power surges occur when there is an abrupt interruption in the flow of electricity, followed by a sudden restart. These surges can be caused by several factors, including lightning strikes, power outages, or even when large appliances, such as air conditioners or refrigerators, turn on or off.

Lightning strikes can cause massive power surges that damage electronic devices connected to the grid. Power outages can also result in power surges when the power supply is restored.

During a power grid failure, there may be a sudden surge of electricity when the power is reconnected, which can damage any devices that were not previously turned off.

Under voltage/Over voltage

Voltage surges can be caused by switching impulses, which can lead to undervoltage or overvoltage. Undervoltage occurs when the voltage level of the system falls below a certain threshold, which can cause a decline in equipment performance and reliability. This can be especially problematic for sensitive equipment such as computers and other electronics.

Overvoltage occurs when there is a sudden increase in voltage, which can be caused by things such as strong motors, welding equipment, or large electrical appliances. If left unprotected, this can permanently damage electrical appliances. Both undervoltage and overvoltage can cause the appliance to malfunction or shorten its service life.

It’s important to note that voltage surges can be unpredictable and happen anytime.

Arc fault/flash

Arc faults or flashes are electrical faults that occur when there are loose connections or compromised distances between energized parts. These issues can lead to an arcing fault that generates intense heat. This heat can cause burning particles to ignite surrounding materials, resulting in injuries and even fatalities in severe cases. Arc faults can occur for several reasons, including human error or carelessness during installation or maintenance, substandard or faulty parts use, and condensation or other liquids near electrical equipment. It is important to be aware of these potential causes of arc faults to prevent them from occurring and to ensure the safety of individuals who work with or around electrical equipment.

Keep our homes safe

When there is any doubt about the risk involved, do seek professional advice on electrical safety On top of Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs), there is a need to have innovative protective devices to make your home and family even safer, such as Surge Protection Devices (SPDs), Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCCBs), Under voltage (UV) and Overvoltage (OV) Protection, and Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs), While MCBs protect against short circuit & overload, SPDs protect against power surges, and RCCBs protect from leakage currents. UV and OV Protection shields against under and overvoltage, and AFDDs detect & protect against electrical arcs which may lead to fire.

Our teams at Schneider Electric foster a safety-conscious culture and empower users with reliable and safe technology. Our top priority is ensuring you can use our products with peace of mind and without stress. To fulfill our commitment, we are dedicated to promoting safety awareness and providing high-quality products that enable safe and hassle-free use of technology and safe electricity for all. We’re here to help all of us stay secure and protected.

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