Your Home and Electrical safety
By Rageb Ahsan – Electrical Engineer
You must agree that electricity plays a vital role in our everyday life of present time. It does many things for our comfort and entertainment. No doubt it’s an obedient servant of civilization. But if you fail to control it in proper way, it may even kill you within seconds. So we all should know about how to remain safe from electricity.
Electricity is dangerous only when your body comes in contact with it. But we can’t avoid coming in contact with electrical appliances and machinery. So a chance always remains. You have to keep these appliances risk free. You are to have these checked by a competent electrician at a regular interval for any leakage in insulation. Proper earthing of the equipment is very vital to keep them risk free. Yes, all your electrical machinery needs a good earthing to keep you safe from electrical hazards.
You may use Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) for a better protection of your family and the appliances. GFCI interrupts the power supply to the circuit / or part that had developed a ground fault. Thus it ensures safety for you. You may have GFCI protection for at least most vulnerable parts of the house, such as the bath rooms, the kitchen and the living room.
Your house wiring should be tested once a year for any weakness of insulation on it. The wall outlets and electrical switch boards must be free from cracks and water must not enter any of them by any means. You may know that, water is a good conductor of electricity. So when water gets inside an electrical item, it is likely to create a path for electricity up to the surface. This is true for all electrical equipment. For a similar reason you must not touch any electrical item with a wet hand.
In case an electrical machine, whatever it is, gets water splash, never switch it on, unless a qualified electrician tests it. It has risk for both the user and the machine. Never keep an electrical wire (part of a wiring) hanging below the ceiling or in open space. If you have to do so for a short while, don’t try to spread wet clothes on it.
Try to avoid extension wires as far as possible. It’s better to have more wall outlets instead. Extension wires with multiple socket points may create an over burden on the wires and the wall outlet. It may result in an accident. All the wall outlets must be above the reach of your minor children. Power cord of any appliance must be away from children both when in use and when not in use. These cords need regular examination for any leakage.
As you may know that electricity is more dangerous when it passes through your body, you should avoid any chance. You should remain apart from switching anything bare footed. Your feet when touches ground/ floor, electricity finds the easiest path through your body and obviously it passes through. With your shoe / slipper on you are insulated from ground and safer than bare foot.
Never try to fix any electrical problem in your house wiring, keeping the main switch on. Only a competent person can do that. If you have to do the job, first turn the main off. Before buying any electrical goods, be sure about its specification to be compatible with your supply voltage. Even you shouldn’t change the wattage of a lamp before having checked by an electrician.
All electrical appliances those generate heat, should have ventilation spaces around. These are TV, Micro wave oven, Refrigerator and some more. Never try to replace Cutout wires yourself unless you know it well. The wires are of dozens of sizes having dozens of current ratings. A thicker wire or a thinner wire would invite various electrical problems for you.
Hazards may still come even after taking all precautions. If anybody gets electrocuted before you, never try to push him or her with bare hands. You should use a piece of wood or any nonmetal to push him or her.
From the above we can summarize the points as follows:
- Proper earthing of all electrical equipment is a must.
- Use of GFCI is wise for better safety.
- Never allow water splash on Switch boards, wirings and appliances.
- Never touch electrical appliances with wet hands and bare feet.
- Never hang wet clothes on electrical wirings.
- Limit extension wires as far as possible.
- Wall outlets must be above the reach of minor children.
- If you have to do some maintenance job, turn off the main first.
- Electrical goods must be in compliance with your supply ratings.
- Appliances generating heat must have breathing space.
- Don’t replace fuse or cut out wires yourself unless you know it well.
- Get your house wiring and equipment checked by a competent electrician regularly.
- Never touch an electrocuted person with bare hands.
These points are not all. But taking care of these will help to find your home a safer place from electrical hazards. Try to practice the guide lines and stay safe.