It has been a legal requirement that all new homes in Australia have an Electrical Safety Switch (Residual Current Devices) fitted as part of their construction since the late 90’s, with many existing homes having them installed as part of any renovation or refurbishment work. These days, it’s common to find a Safety Switch in most homes – but we still find a number of properties which don’t have them. If you are not sure if your home has a Safety Switch, call us and we can assist you to find out.
Safety Switches are designed to trip and break the electrical circuit if any form of leakage is detected. The concept behind this is to cut the circuit quickly to either prevent or restrict the level of electrocution which could occur from the accidental exposure to the electrical circuit. Safety Switches react very fast, breaking the circuit in as little as 0.3 of a second.
In simple terms, the Safety Switch is measuring the flow of electricity through your house and is looking for any sudden imbalance. If an imbalance is detected, then the Safety Switch will immediately cut the supply.
So what sort of things can trip a Safety Switch?
Many incidents can trip a Safety Switch, but the common ones are;
- Defective wiring in an appliance. A loose or damaged wire in an appliance may disrupt the flow of electricity in the household circuit. As the Safety Switch will detect this imbalance, it will trip and shut off the electrical circuit.
- Accidental cut or break in the circuit. Accidentally cutting an appliance cord or part of the house wiring will trip the Safety Switch. Many home renovations or electrical gardening tools have been responsible for this – with the cause generally being pretty obvious.
- Accidental breach of a powerpoint. This is the fear of most parents, with a curious child putting something into a powerpoint to see what happens. Fortunately with a Safety Switch, the answer is very little as it will cut the circuit quickly.
As a general rule, if your Safety Switch triggers, then you have a fault somewhere. Our experience show that a Safety Switch usually trips due to a faulty appliance. To safety find out if it is a faulty appliance, follow the steps below:
- LEAVE the Safety Switch OFF.
- Turn off all power points at the switch and UNPLUG all of your appliances. Don’t forget power points in cupboards for appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines and behind fridges.
- Turn the Safety Switch back on. If it stays on, then you probably have a faulty appliance which was causing it to trip.
- To identify the faulty appliance you can plug in your appliances and switch them on one at a time. Once the faulty appliance is plugged in, it will cause the Safety Switch to trip again. This appliance can then be repaired or replaced.
If you are unable to reset your Safety Switch once you have unplugged all of your appliances – it is time to call 1300 473 862 and one of our friendly trained technicians will be able to help. We will always try and help over the phone at no charge, but if the need arises we are able to visit your home or business and have you back up and running in no time 24/7.
If you cannot quickly find that an appliance is tripping your Safety Switch, you may have a more serious fault – so its always best to contact us for assistance.
Please note that this is to be used as a guide only. If you are unsure of any of the above steps contact us on 1300 473 862.
Safety Switches should also be tested on a regular basis to ensure that they are operating correctly. Most have a very obvious “test” button on them, so we recommend that they be tested on a 3 monthly basis. If they don’t trip the power when tested, then call us to arrange an inspection – as something is wrong. Electricity is very safe when handled correctly, but in the event of any concerns about your wiring, switch board or safety switch, then we recommend an inspection by a suitably qualified electrical contractor as quickly as possible.
Revma Electrical Contractors provide a comprehensive range of electrical services to the commercial, domestic and aged care segments of the market. Providing both general and emergency call out services, we can provide prompt attention to your electrical needs. Call us today on 1300 473 862 to see how we can assist.