Earth leakage describes an abnormal or unintended state when electrical current leaks from an electrical appliance or circuit to the earth. The following are the most common reasons why earth leakage occurs:

  • Insulation failure: Insulation failure (Figure 2) can occur due to age, temperature, or physical damage to the insulation.
  • Imperfect electrical connections: Loose or poorly connected electrical joints.
  • Poor earthing systems: If the earth connection is not of sufficient quality or resistance, it can cause current to flow to earth.
  • Use of faulty equipment: Faulty electrical equipment, such as a damaged appliance, can cause earth leakage.
  • Human error: Improper installation can cause earth leakage.

Earth leakage's potential consequences and dangers include electrical shock, fire, and other hazardous electrical incidents. Examples of appliances and circuits prone to earth leakage are refrigerators, washing machines, power tools, and lighting circuits.