Things You Must Do to Protect Your Devices From Overcurrent at Home

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Our homes, whether large or small, modern or vintage, carry numerous electrical circuits to provide us with proper electricity. Sometimes, things like overcurrent can create electrical disruptions, causing wires to burn, tear, and even shock us with electricity.

✔ If you use a lot of electronics at home, you must invest in overcurrent protection devices, as these devices will help you prevent your electrical circuits from burning. As a result, your electronic appliances at home will be safe. 

✔ To protect your devices from overcurrent at home, there are certain things you should always avoid doing, such as overloading sockets, using devices with mismatched voltage, etc. Knowing your protective devices will also help you understand the wirings around your home. 



  Protect Your Devices From Overcurrent at Home  


  1. Invest in Overcurrent Protection Devices  

✔ Although there are plenty of options to choose from and install, we can generalize these protection devices into three categories: circuit breakers, fuse boxes, and residual current devices or RCD. 

✔ Circuit breakers and fuse boxes are the most common things used in every household. While comparing circuit breakers vs. fuse boxes, if you’re confused about which one to choose, you must know how each functions. Considering other options can open better doors for you, which is why the following list can be helpful.


a. Fuse Box

✔ A fuse box, also called a fuse panel, contains fuses or automatic circuit breakers that protect the circuits connected to them. Whenever they detect an overcurrent or a short circuit, they immediately cut off the electrical supply to prevent fire or other likely accidents. 

✔ Whenever there’s a cut-off due to excess electricity flow, the fusible link in the tripped fuse needs to be replaced to restore connection, as the link melts to prevent overcurrent. This is why you may hear people saying the phrase ‘blown a fuse’ when these protect your devices from overcurrent. 


b. Circuit Breaker

✔ The circuit breaker is a modern version of the fuse box without the melting and replacement part. Whenever the circuit breaker senses an unstable electrical connection, it trips and breaks contact to prevent your home from a short circuit. You can easily reset it after it trips, which is a fuss-free solution.

✔ You must carry out essential routine inspections and maintenance on circuit breakers, especially if you have a smart home. Thoroughly know which parts of your home each circuit breaker controls, and replace any circuit breaker if you see any damage or loose fittings on it. 


c. Installing an RCD

✔ Every newly made household has residual current devices or RCDs installed in switchboards and installations. This device will prevent fatal electric shocks if you touch a bare wire or any other live wire. It can also give some protection against electrical fires. 

✔ When an RCD detects current flow down an unintentional path, it switches off the circuit to prevent fatal accidents. Three types of RCDs exist, each varying in its purpose:

  • Low-sensitivity RCD for 500 mA current or more: These are used as main circuit breakers for the entire house.
  • Medium-sensitivity RCD for 30 to 500 mA current: These protect general-purpose circuits in residences.
  • High-sensitivity RCD for up to 30 mA: These are used in places with risks of faulty electrical installations, such as bathrooms, kitchens, studios, etc.


  2. Proper Grounding and Earthing  

✔ If any part of the electrical circuits in your home isn’t appropriately grounded or lacks proper earthing, it can be a fatal hazard for you. Neutral earthing provides adequate insulation for electrical systems and prevents us from getting fatal electric shocks. 

✔ Whenever there’s a faulty line, neutral earthing creates a path to allow electricity from the defective line to flow through. It also triggers overcurrent protective devices to stop current flow in the house.

✔ Grounding prevents electrical systems from overloading and protects appliances from burning by unbalancing excess current flow. It lets the extra current flow through the wire to the ground. 

✔ You can tell the difference between earthing and grounding wires by their colours. Earthing wire is green in colour, while the grounding wire is black. Both are necessary for every household if you want to protect your devices from overcurrent at home and yourself.  


  3. Common Mistakes to Avoid  

You must avoid doing certain things if you want to keep your home safe from overcurrent and protect your electrical appliances. You’ll protect yourself, too, in this process. 


a. Overloading Multiplugs and Power Supplies

Many people have the habit of overloading single sockets or multiplugs with many other extensions. This makes more current flow from one socket, essentially burning them and triggering a tripped circuit or a burnt fuse. If the lines are faulty, you may end up with an electric fire. 


b. Mismatching Device Voltage With Sockets

The general rule is to use devices that pull the same voltage the socket provides. If the device voltage is low compared to the socket voltage, it may trigger the circuit breaker, as there will be less resistance in the current flow. To prevent getting shocked, use an adapter that matches the voltage rating of your socket. 


c. Using a Few High-Power Devices at Once

Modern homes are designed to allow a few electrical appliances at once, including various electrical bathroom accessories. However, if most of your devices pull too much current, using them at once will trigger the circuit breaker. This can cause wear and tear in your home wiring over time, putting you in danger of electrical fires and exposed live wires.


d. Using Overcurrent Protection Devices Without Proper Rating

Improper voltage rating and current rating in your electrical equipment can cause fatal incidents, which protection devices with an adequate rating can prevent. However, improper voltage ratings in your overcurrent protection devices can cause an explosion, as they have been trying to stop faulty current flow beyond their interrupting rating. 


e. Using Electronics During Storms

You must never use electronics during storms, especially during thunderstorms. The electromagnetic fields that these devices create can attract lightning which carries high voltage. This will burn your electrical systems at home and may even damage your house entirely. Storms can pull and tear off cables outside while taking vast amounts of static, which interferes with our electrical systems, causing short circuits and fatal accidents. 




✔ Knowing the connections in your fuse box and circuit breakers and understanding what each does will go a long way to protect your devices from overcurrent at home. Also, install RCDs as an extra layer of protection, especially if you have a smart home. 

✔ Avoid operating devices when there’s a storm, and follow general prevention methods if you don’t want your fuse to burn or your circuit breaker to trip repeatedly. With proper care, you and your home will be safe.



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