I’ve had a few questions from clients lately about safety switches. Most people don’t understand the difference between safety switches, circuit breakers or surge protectors – so I thought I’d spell it out here.
Safety switches are designed to prevent injury or death by monitoring the flow of electricity through a circuit. They automatically shut off your electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances in your home. This stops the chance of current flowing to earth and through a person and electrocuting them.
Installing a safety switch is a reasonable safety measure that protects you, your family and visitors to your property.
In Victoria, safety switches must be installed on both the power and lighting circuits in new and older properties when extensive renovations are carried out. If it’s essential to have safety switches in new homes, it makes a good deal of sense to install them in older properties.
Today more than ever, we have more electrically powered gadgets in our homes. Most of us have the latest in labour-saving devices like cooking appliances, cleaning appliances, heating/cooling appliances and a range of indoor and outdoor lighting. And then there’s the ever-increasing range of entertainment systems. TVs and computers in just about every room of the house!
Before you find out the hard way, get a safety switch installed on your switchboard through a severe electrical incident.
If you’re not sure whether or not you have a safety switch fitted to your switchboard, check by looking at your switchboard for a “test reset” button. That tells you that you have a safety switch installed. When you open your switchboard, you should see something like this.
All homes have circuit breakers or fuses. These are designed to protect the wiring and appliances within your home. Only safety switches are designed to protect people.
Safety switches are often confused with circuit breakers and surge protectors. Here is a quick guide to help understand the differences.
Surge protectors safeguard your appliances and wiring from voltage surges like a lightning strike. Safety switches and surge protectors play entirely different roles. Surge protectors protect electrical appliances, and safety switches protect people.
Circuit breakers cut the power off when electrical wiring has too much current flowing through it. Too much current flowing through a circuit will your wiring heat or perhaps one of your electrical appliance’s wires to unsafe levels and potentially cause an electrical fire.
Fuses work in the same way as circuit breakers. Both fuses and circuit breakers do not protect people from electrical shock.
Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. They automatically shut the electricity supply when the current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or electrical appliances. This stops the chance of currents flowing to earth through a person, electrocuting them.
Nothing is failsafe. You should regularly check your safety switch. Like a smoke detector or other safety device, it cannot protect you if it is not working correctly. It is also essential to make sure your electrical appliances, wiring, extension leads, and all other electrical equipment are regularly checked and kept in good working order.
We recommend that you test your Safety Switch at least every three months. Here’s how:
If it doesn’t work, contact us immediately.
If your safety switch turns off your power, then it means there’s a fault somewhere – either in your wiring or with an appliance. Here’s what to do:
Contact us if problems persist.
No matter how handy you are around the house, electrical work is never a do-it-yourself job! It’s dangerous and illegal.
Only a licensed electrical contractor can install a safety switch, so call us for a fast quote. We’ll look after you and keep you safe!
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