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Safety switches explained

Are you looking to establish a safer environment in your home or business in Adelaide, Australia? Installing safety switches in your premises is a great way to enhance protection for anyone working on or who gets near electrical equipment.

These switches play several roles that help ensure that your entire property is fully protected from all forms of electrical hazards. This article provides you with important details about safety switches.

What are safety switches?

A safety switch refers to a device that checks on the current passing through the wiring system. The device detects any alteration in power and cuts it in about 0.3 seconds or less in the event of a variation resulting from current overload or leakage.

This helps prevent the occurrence of electrical threats some of which include; fires, electrical shocks, or injuries to you, your family members, or employees.

Keep in mind that one safety switch might not be sufficient, and as a result, it is advisable to consult a licensed electrician if you are uncertain about this.

Are safety switches required at home or work?

Here are the significant benefits of installing a safety switch on your property.

• To protect your loved ones and electrical equipment

• Prevents overloading and short circuit

• Detects faulty appliances

• Allows you to see damaged wiring

How do safety switches promote electrical safety?

A safety switch plays a critical role in enhancing the safety of your entire building and its occupants. It helps avoid risks such as shocks to the occupants or fires that can cause destruction of the building and even death. Most people tend to confuse a circuit breaker and a safety switch. We shall look at the difference between the two later in the article.

The primary role of a safety switch is to prevent harm to people due to electrical faults. They are usually installed inside breaker panels. You can also find them at a site where major electrical equipment is being used.

A safety switch works in a simple way. It monitors the live electrical current flowing within your electrical devices. If the current in the monitored circuit gets altered from its path, then the switch cuts the electrical power.

Keep in mind that a safety switch never detects circuit overloading. A circuit breaker performs this job. Instead, a safety switch helps to monitor current movement. When there is an issue with an electrical system, electricity can flow to the nearest human body. As the currents start to shift to flow into the human body instead of the equipment, the switch detects the movement and shuts the electric system.

Therefore, acting as a barrier between your body and the current. For instance, if you touch an exposed wire and the power goes through your body, the safety switch will detect it and cut it off instantly. This saves you from being electrocuted. However, you should know that safety switches only work as a backup and might not prevent all electric shocks or protect all wiring.

The difference between circuit breakers and safety switches

These two devices are usually viewed as interchangeable and play a similar role. However, this is not true. Although they may be located in an electrical panel, they play different functions. A safety switch also referred to as a safety disconnect, helps monitor electric current on various applications. They are found in significant equipment applications such as line equipment, conveyor belts, and other heavy appliances.

They protect the whole electrical system. The switch works by monitoring the current and detecting any fault that may occur in the electrical circuit. This means that if there is an overload, electrical leak, or equipment failure, the switch shuts the power off instantly.

On the other hand, a circuit breaker checks the overloading of a circuit. Suppose a lot of power is drawn by any circuit, the breaker trips, thus cutting off power. You may be more familiar with a circuit breaker since you might have experienced trips when trying to plug a hairdryer or space heater into a circuit that has reached its total capacity.

Types of safety switches

It is essential to know the different types of safety switches, their role, and the kind of protection they offer. The knowledge allows you to make an informed choice and get the one that meets your needs and is rightly priced. The most important thing is to make sure that your safety switch and electrical devices are installed by a highly qualified electrician to guarantee compatibility.

Here are the significant types of safety switches:

Switchboard safety switches

A switchboard safety switch is usually installed on single circuits. They are installed to protect the entire circuit or selected circuits in your residence. They are also installed on extension cords and electrical appliances that are connected to fully protected power points.

A fully licensed electrician should install them. When an electrical fault happens on a circuit featuring a switchboard safety switch, it turns off the electric power supply to that specific circuit. All the lighting and appliances connected to all other circuits keep operating.

Power point safety switches

Power point safety switches usually replace an installed power point. These safety switches usually protect power cords and appliances that are plugged into the switch. They help protect all other power points and electrical wiring on a similar circuit. To enhance the protection of a particular electrical circuit, an electrician must install the safety switch at the first power point following the switchboard.

Portable safety switches

These safety switches are critical protective devices for those who work with power tools and all other appliances in areas with no access to power point safety switches or switchboards. The switches only protect you from faults that occur in the equipment that is plugged into them. To use the safety switch, you should directly plug it into the power point and plug your appliance into the safety switch socket.

Fusible safety switches

These are safety switches that are combined with fuses in one enclosure. These switches offer a more convenient way to manually open and close the circuit. The fuse helps by providing overcurrent protection.

Non-fusible safety switches

This is a type of safety switch without associated fuses as it does not have circuit protection capability. The switch offers a convenient way to close and open the circuit. When you open the circuit, the load is disconnected from its electrical power source. On the other hand, the load is connected when you close the circuit. Circuit protection needs external overcurrent gadgets such as fuses or circuit breakers.

How to test your safety switch

According to government regulations, you must install safety switches in your business or home. Testing your safety switches regularly is mandatory. The testing ensures that the switch is working in the right way. You should open the switchboard and press the test button on each switch to do the testing. The power trips off if the switch is working right, whether you are upgrading or installing a new system.

If it fails to trip off immediately, then it shows that your safety switch has issues. It is advisable to test your safety switch every month to enhance electrical safety in your residence. You need to call your licensed electrician immediately to perform the replacement and avoid electrical mishaps.

Why is your safety switch tripping frequently?

If you find that your safety switch trips and goes off frequently, it could be due to various reasons, including:

Damaged appliances

Damaged and old electrical appliances leak extra current, causing the safety switch to trip. In addition, wear and tear causes performance issues, so proper maintenance is required. When the safety switch goes off, you should try to reset it. If it trips again, you should unplug your appliances, reset the switch and then reconnect each at a time to discover what is causing the tripping.

Faulty wiring

With time your electrical wiring and insulation get damaged. The damaged wiring causes fluctuations that are detected by the safety switch. The switch cuts off the power immediately to reduce the risks of insulation or wiring burning. This calls for building rewiring with new electrical cables.

Bad weather

Lightning and heavy rain usually affect safety switches, especially if lightning strikes nearby power lines, your property, or a station that supplies power. The resulting voltage fluctuations and electrical surge make the safety switch trip.

Defective switch

If your safety switch fails to turn on or go off, it is either worn out or broken. In this case, you need to replace them.

Need safety switch installation or replacement?

As mentioned above, it is mandatory to have a safety switch installed in your property in Adelaide, Australia. To ensure that you get the right safety switch services for your home or business, you must work with a licensed electrician. The professional knows the proper safety switch to install on your property. In addition, they also understand their working mechanisms so they can do repair or replacement anytime there is a problem. As such, it gives you peace of mind knowing that your property is safe from all electrical hazards that may occur.

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