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Must-Know Basics of Home Electrical Components for an Indian Home Buyer

Ensuring electrical safety in your home is critical. This comprehensive guide provides an understanding of home electrical components for Indian home buyers. Knowing these basics will help you ask the right questions to your builder and ensure your home is electrically safe.

Importance of Electrical Safety

Electricity, while indispensable, is inherently dangerous due to its invisible nature. The human body is a conductor of electricity, meaning contact can cause severe injury or death. Ensuring electricity flows safely along intended paths is crucial to avoid direct or indirect contact that could lead to accidents.

Basics of Home Electrical Components for an Indian Home Buyer

Direct vs. Indirect Contact

  • Direct Contact: Occurs when someone accidentally touches a live wire, possibly due to current leakage or exposed wiring.
  • Indirect Contact: Involves contact with a conductive part that has become live due to a fault, such as the metal casing of an appliance.

Key Components of Home Electrical Systems

Cables and Wires

  • Quality of Cables: Use high-quality, branded cables for proper insulation and safety. Copper cables, adhering to IS 8130 standards, are preferred for their superior conductivity and safety. Avoid aluminum wires.
  • Single-Core vs. Multi-Core Wires: Single-core wires are commonly used for house wiring and should have fire-retardant, low-smoke PVC insulation. Multi-core wires, which have additional sheathing for enhanced safety, are used for connecting appliances to plugs.
  • Cable Sizes: Light and fan circuits typically use 1.5 sq. mm cables, while power plugs generally use 4 sq. mm cables for 6/16A outlets.
  • Color Coding: Ensure the builder follows standard color codes: RED, BLUE, YELLOW for phase wires, BLACK for neutral, and GREEN for earth wires. This aids in safe maintenance and repairs.

Cable Joints

  • Cable Connectors: Avoid joining cables by twisting strands and insulating them with tape, as this is prone to risks and hazards. Use cable connectors or heat-shrinkable sleeves with solder for extra insulation.

Fuses and MCBs

  • Fuses: Provide protection from short circuits and overloaded currents based on connected appliances and their current usage. A blown fuse needs replacement, which can be inconvenient.
  • MCBs (Miniature Circuit Breakers): Offer protection from short circuits and overloads. Standard sizes range from 1-4A/6A to 32A/40A. MCBs are available in Type B and Type C variants. Type B is used for general appliances, while Type C is used for appliances with motors.


  • RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker): Detects minute current leakages and cuts off electricity supply to prevent shocks. Recommended sensitivity for household loads is 30 mA.
  • RCBO (Residual Current Circuit Breaker with Overcurrent Protection): Combines the functions of RCCB and MCB, providing comprehensive protection against short circuits and current leakages.

Switches and Sockets

  • Quality: Opt for high-quality, branded switches and sockets to ensure durability and safety. Poor-quality switches can lead to heating and insulation failure over time.
  • Safety Features: Switches should have thick, long earth pins to prevent shocks. Sockets with shutters can prevent children from inserting objects.

Mounting Boxes

  • Material: Use good quality Steel or GI (Galvanized Iron) electrical boxes to aid in earthing and ensure proper MCB tripping in case of faults.
  • Installation: Proper installation ensures durability and safety.


  • Concealed Wiring: Preferred for its safety and aesthetics, as it reduces the risk of mechanical damage and smoke spread during fires. Ensure the use of rigid or metallic pipes for exposed wiring.
  • Standards Compliance: Ensure conduits (whether flexible or non-flexible) comply with Indian Standards for durability and safety.


  • Importance of Earthing: Earthing is essential for safety, acting as a "drainage" for leaking current. All appliances must have proper earthing, and the earth wire should run throughout the house. Earthing safeguards the premises from lightning and earth fault situations and provides a low resistance path for fault currents.

How Earthing is Done in Residential Buildings

  • Plate Earthing:
    • GI or tinned copper earth wire is bolted to a plate and buried at a depth of 3 meters or more, embedded in alternative layers of coke and salts.
    • The wire passes through a GI pipe and is securely bolted to the earth plate.
    • Water is poured into the GI pipe to increase conductivity.
    • The earth wire is connected to the earth point of the socket and covered with soil.

By understanding these essential components and their functions, home buyers can better ensure that their homes are protected from electrical hazards, providing peace of mind and safety for all occupants. This checklist serves as a guide to ask the right questions and verify the quality and safety of the electrical system in your new home.

Checklist Table for Home Electrical Components



Key Points

Cables and Wires

High-quality, branded cables for insulation and safety. Prefer copper over aluminum wires.

- Use copper cables adhering to IS 8130 standards- Avoid aluminum wires- Use fire-retardant, low-smoke PVC insulation for single-core- Multi-core wires have extra sheathing for safety- Standard cable sizes: 1.5 sq. mm for light/fan circuits, 4 sq. mm for 6/16A power plugs- Follow color codes: RED, BLUE, YELLOW for phase, BLACK for neutral, GREEN for earth

Cable Joints

Proper methods for joining cables to ensure safety and reduce risks.

- Use cable connectors or heat-shrinkable sleeves with solder- Avoid twisting strands and insulating with tape

Fuses and MCBs

Protect from short circuits and overloads. Fuses need replacement when blown; MCBs (Miniature Circuit Breakers) offer reusable protection.

- Standard MCB sizes: 1-4A/6A to 32A/40A- Type B for general appliances, Type C for motor appliances


Advanced protection devices detecting minute current leakages and combining functions of RCCB (Residual Current Circuit Breaker) and MCB.

- RCCB recommended sensitivity: 30 mA for households- RCBO combines RCCB and MCB for comprehensive protection

Switches and Sockets

High-quality, branded switches and sockets with safety features to prevent shocks and ensure durability.

- Use switches with thick, long earth pins- Opt for sockets with shutters to prevent accidental contact by children

Mounting Boxes

Steel or GI (Galvanized Iron) electrical boxes that aid in earthing and ensure proper MCB tripping in case of faults.

- Ensure high-quality, durable materials to prevent electrical hazards


Concealed wiring for safety and aesthetics, with conduits complying with Indian Standards for durability.

- Use rigid or metallic pipes for exposed wiring- Concealed wiring reduces mechanical damage and smoke spread


Essential for safety, acting as a "drainage" for leaking current and safeguarding from lightning and earth faults.

- Ensure proper earthing for all appliances- Earth wire should run throughout the house- Proper earthing techniques such as plate earthing using GI or copper plates

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