Substandard cables can cause fire in homes, says association

  • Nation
  • Thursday, 09 Feb 2017

PETALING JAYA: Houseowners have been advised to ensure that the electrical cables they use in their homes meet the required standards because substandard cables can cause fires.

The advice comes from the Electrical and Electronics Association of Malaysia (TEEAM), which cautions that a lot of poor quality material has flooded the market.

“The common conductors for electrical cable are mainly made of copper and aluminum but some of the substandard wires are made of other metal.

“If other materials are used instead of the two, the electrical conductivity is not good and this will lead to overheating and fire,” said association vice-president Stan Lim in an interview.

Lim said substandard cables were not designed, constructed, test-approved, installed or used in accordance with the prescribed standards and specification.

On Monday, four people died in a fire which razed a double-storey terrace house in Subang Jaya.

Lim said that people should use cables that are certified and professionally recognised for the specific application and avoid using undersized and non-Sirim approved cables. Sirim is a national organisation that determines standards and quality of products.

He advised those doing house renovations to use contractors certified by the Energy Commission or a government authority.

A wiring or electrical extension plan that was not done properly could cause an overload and heating, and trigger a fire.

A spokesman from the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department was reported as saying that the department was alerted about the incident at Jalan USJ 2/3 at about 5.30am and 80% of the house was completely burnt by the time they arrived.

Lim also said houseowners should also test the residual circuit breaker every month.

“Open up the board, look for the button with the “T” and test it every month by pressing the button.

“If it causes the electricity to trip, then it is working. Then, push it back. If it is not working, it will need to be replaced,” he said.

Standards Users Association of Malaysia CEO Ratna Devi said that the cable industry had revealed that copper wires are now expensive and some of the imported ones used uncertified mixed materials, with compromised insulation properties or fake certification.

“These are fire hazards because they cannot conduct electricity well. Consumers often are not aware of this as they did not buy the cables for their homes. So, for renovations, they need to ensure that they use a licensed contractor for wiring,” she said.

Ratna said consumers should also make sure that any electrical appliance they buy is certified and should have the Energy Commission and Sirim’s sticker on it.

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