More than a mere click

If you haven’t switched on to the ever-expanding range of electrical switches, your home may be missing something. Here’s a glimpse of what’s on offer.

By Rakesh Rai | Print Edition: January 11, 2007

Switches aren’t the first thing that come to your mind when you build a house or renovate an old one. Till not so long ago, electricians — not the home owners — made the choice of switches. The disinterest was directly proportional to the dreary options in the market. That’s history. It’s now possible to have lights and fans switched on as you enter home without raising a finger. Or put on your microwave using your mobile phone, even before you’ve reached home.

Short of such fancy and high-tech options, there are many more devices that can add to the convenience of operating lights and fans and aesthetics to your home, without cutting a hole in your pocket. On a more practical level, better switches reduce the chances of short circuits and frequent fuses. According to industry estimates, on an average a new house owner spends Rs 20,000 on electricals and this is what has prompted companies to move over from just plain vanilla switches to electrical accessories incorporating microprocessor-based technologies now.

The options are dazzling: manual ivory colour switch on the lower end to one with a 24-carat gold plating on high-quality sheet metal. The rage now is for modular switches. The next step in control systems that let you control the number of lights or fans used in the house and their wattage or speed. With new designs and finish come improved safety aspects too. Advanced polymers such as polycarbonate make switches much more shockproof and fire-retardant. Modular switches are now available in one-way, two-way and bell-push models, with or without indicators and if you are willing to go up the price ladder you also have the option of non-contact automatic LED switches. Companies are now offering complete home automation systems also.

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