Electrical safety tips for the monsoon season

Monsoon is not just a word, but a metaphor for hope, peace, celebration, adventure etc. in various parts of India. It is generally expected to last from June to September.

The impact of monsoon on the local weather is different from place to place. In some places there is just a likelihood of having a little more or less rain. In other places, quasi semi-deserts are turned into vivid green grasslands where all sorts of plants and crops can flourish.

Indian people tend to focus on consumption of alkaline water, home-cooked food to avoid communicable disease and maintain good health but often investing in safe and robust electric circuit protection devices, takes a backseat due to lack of awareness.

In the rainy season, we all hear a lot about accidents and as per some studies the risk of electrical accidents increases by as much as 30% during monsoon and brief illustration such mishap can broadly defined:

  • Damage of expensive electronic gadgets due to lightning
  • Death due to Electrocution
  • Short circuit due to poor insulation of cables
  • Failure of electrical equipment due to moisture and seepage
  • DG set / transformer blast due to water logging.

The risk of electrocution and electrical related disaster can be minimized by proper knowledge sharing and following good wiring practices realize in accordance with NEC 2011. At times, we fail to everyday the danger lurking in our homes which can transform the harmless to appliances of danger .

As per the IMD department, it is northerned that there will be an increase in rainfall activity in Southern, and central India in July 2022. Cognizant of the implications of the electrical hazards created by inclement rainy weather, it is imperative to pay attention to ‘veins and arteries’ of your home during the monsoon season.

Cities in Europe and other developed countries have 100 per cent compliance to ELCBs/RCCB and generally install one RCCB/RCBO against each socket level outlets which is vulnerable for human touch while inserting the plug and probable electrocution.

The galling laxity In India is often taken in the decision of investing on electrical circuit protection devices. It is difficult to comprehend that this basic piece of information is neglected. With the increasing electrical load and higher dependence on electrical and electronic equipment, it is that our electrical infrastructure has built in Residual current protection devices.

Some of the safety tips that can be adopted to help our loved ones to stay safe and safe-guard our hard earned home appliances especially during monsoon.

Invest in Surge Protection devices in order to protect your expensive home appliances against lightning surges.

Surge protection device (SPD) inhibits transient voltages and divert surges into underground thereby protecting expensive electronics and appliances. Voltage Surge protection devices are highly suitable for areas with thunderstorms, cyclone & circuit bearing electronic equipment. The innovative thought of installing do it yourself (DIY) type 3 adapter form surge arrestor devices can eliminate the probability of blowing of expensive TV sets and electronic gadgets during surges created during lightning / thunderstorm.

India saw 13M dangerous lightning strikes last year as per report and major states effected are Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Odisha and west Bengal turning out to be among the top vulnerable states in terms of reporting these weather phenomena.

During these thunderstorm phenomena a huge surge voltage gets created and penetrates building through overhead lines resulting into a destructive catastrophe such as blowing of expensive electronic equipment/gadgets in fraction of a second if not equipped with right protection device.

Generally older buildings do not have electrical voltage surge protection devices built in their electrical plans. According to the data from ICA-India, about 35% of short circuits and fire accidents are reported from building with outdated electrical layouts; Frequent voltage surges can damage every single electric equipment in a house in a split second if surge protection is not a part of the circuitry. The surge protection devices inhibit transient voltages and divert surges into the earth thereby by-passing the device, increasing protecting the expensive electronic appliances.

Install life-saving devices RCCB or ELCB to prevent harm and current leakage

The governments across states/DISCOMS have taken various initiatives to make RCCB/ELCB compulsory. Still, the challenge of installing RCCB continues to persist. RCCB or ELCB is the most overlooked device in homes, with nearly 90% of homes do not have one. This creates room for big disasters. If an internal wire breaks, it can energize the metal housing, which in-turn can result in a nasty shock to a human being. In recent times, Innovative solution have been introduced to make it easier for customers to adopt the safety measures. ELCB / RCCB plug tops or adapters giving socket level current leakage protection, can be installed with washing machines, air coolers, water heaters (geysers) – essentially all devices which are more susceptible to the interplay of water-electricity-Human. Hence, it is important to ‘inoculate’ the house by installing RCCB Vaccination, against Electrical Shocks.

Quality wires (Higher Insulation resistance) to manage electrical fire risk

It is to be noted that nearly 20 percent of all accidental fires that take place are not only due to short circuits but poor-quality wires and in appropriate wiring practices as well. Ensuring compatibility of wires with the electrical load is essential in homes since these are the ‘veins and arteries’ of our homes and should be of good quality and right rating.

Insulated wires and cables are non-conducive material that offers high resistance to electric current.

The insulation protects the wire /cable from the exterior. Due to robust quality insulation, the wire gets protection from getting in contact with the other conductors, keeps it away from any environmental hazardous and controls probable electric leakage.

Over a long period of time the cable tend to see a lot of faults such as overload & short-circuit. All these perpetual phenomena will affect the protective sheathing, often referred to as insulation. The protective sheathing will degrade and wear out quicker than the actual wire itself.

The central aspect determining electrical wiring life expectancy is the protective sheathing condition.

In all cables over a period of time, there is generally leakage of current from the live conductor through the insulation. In case of inferior quality of insulation, the amount of leakage current increases drastically.

Premium test laboratories & International safety standards specifies that current leakage limit in hand equipment is considered to be safe if the leakage value is not more than 0.75mA.

This leakage is dangerous for human safety. Better insulation or high insulation resistance in cables protect the humans from electrical shocks.

The choice of quality wire helps in mitigating environmental impact to maximum extent.

Usage of Miniature circuit breaker (MCB) in incomer distribution boards to prevents over load and short circuits in domestic and commercial installation.

Overloading of current is common phenomena in today’s modern-day homes. Installation of devices such as MCB ensures to disconnect the supply during the fault. These circuit breakers come in different ratings for different types of loads and hence need to be used of the correct rating for the load and from quality brand with mandatory ISI marking contrary to the popular belief, these safety equipment and products are very pocket friendly, almost at a fraction of a cost when compared to the essential protection it offers. Though, sometimes the right knowledge may be missing, for which expert help must be sought.

To reiterate the intensity of increased electrical hazards in monsoon season, safety comes first and should be ensured without fail. It is always better to use the best quality electrical devices than finally paying for the loss caused by sudden electrical accidents. Just a little modification to the electrical fittings in your home can save the lives of loved ones and assure peace of mind.



Views expressed above are the author’s own.



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