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Old Electrical Wiring: An Invitation to Electrical Accidents

Business Wire IndiaEfficiency and safety are the keys to a smart home. While all the new buildings must meet the mandatory electrical safety standards, it is older buildings that pose a great concern. It is these buildings that are not equipped to deal with the rising electrical load and are prone to electrical hazards.

In this age and time, where our dependence on gadgets and appliances is increasing, most of us fail to realize that electrical load on our old wiring is also increasing. In a situation like this, the need for astute management of power and related appliances increases manifold.

For the new buildings, these concerns are being considered and builders are setting up multiple power sockets in the rooms but they are yet to lay special emphasis on circuit designing as well.

Ever thought what might be the case with old buildings? Unfortunately, upgradation of electrical infrastructure is hardly given any importance in such structures.

All the cities around the country have many old buildings which process great risk of electrical accidents. Last January, a fire broke out in the Khairatabad Regional Transport Authority, Hyderabad and many documents were gutted in the fire. The building, which was several decades old, was powered with electrical wiring as old as the building itself.

According to statistics from the International Copper Association India, (ICA India) among all the structures in which fire accidents were reported, about 35 percent occurred in old buildings. Experts list out different reasons for the fire mishaps in old buildings.

Talking about the probable reasons for the fire, Amol Kalsekar, Chief Manager (Building Wire), International Copper Association India said, “In the 80s and 90s, the use of washing machines, geysers, and other appliances were limited. Then mobiles arrived and other gadgets too, but despite the increasing load, owners, especially those of old buildings, continue to operate the appliances using the old wiring systems and pressurizing the electrical system at our homes and in our buildings.”

ICA India as part of the ongoing Electrical Safety Week along with the Chief Electrical Inspectorate of Maharashtra are propagating the message of safe electrical practices in the State and in the country. He further added, “Most people tend to overlook the need to replace the aging components of the electrical system. A sockets, switches and most important wires, which were fixed decades ago in a building cannot sustain the load pressure of present days leading to electrical accidents like short circuits, electrocution or fire, risking the lives of our loved ones.”

Among the other factors, poor maintenance practices and not upgrading with the technology are also prime factors. Most owners hire unskilled electricians, who manage to fix the problems with shortcuts like joining two different sized wires, not following colour code of wires, putting lot of joints, use of under sized wires to save the cost, etc., these temporary solutions can turn out to be very risky in the long run.

It may be surprising, but many owners still do not insist on installation of Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB) for the appliances. Refrigerators, fax machines, burglar alarms etc., should always be wired with separate circuits. Electricity to such appliances should continue through a separate MCB even after the master switch is turned off, ICA India expert recommends.