Safety switches play a vital role in the well being, health and safety of home occupants.

In the event of a leak within the electrical current from either an appliance or from wiring touching something it’s not supposed to, the safety switch will cut the power off in less than a second. This can save you and your family’s lives.

Have you ever turned an appliance on like a toaster or hairdryer and the entire house has lost power as a result? This is due to only having one safety switch being responsible for all current leaks across multiple circuits. Speak to us at Prokop Electrical about increasing the number of safety switches in your home.

Top 3 reasons why safety switches trip

1. Appliances

Over time appliances can become faulty and no longer work the way they are intended to. An easy way to tell if your safety switch is being tripped by an appliance is after your safety switch has been tripped unplug all of your appliances and turn the safety switch back on. Then one by one plug your appliances in and turn them on, when you get to the problem appliance the power will trip.

2. Nuisance

This can come from bugs and ants creating a nest within powerpoints both inside and outside the home. Water features can be quite well known for nuisance tripping due to having a submersible pump which when seized from being underwater constantly can cause tripping. Other things such as a washing machine or dishwasher that leaks can be enough to cause the trip. Fault finding can help to locate these issues.

3. Faulty Wiring

Older homes have older-style wiring which can cause unnecessary tripping. One of the only ways to fix this kind of nuisance tripping is to have your entire home rewired using modern wiring.

A broken safety switch will 9 times out of 10 not trip at all when there is a fault. You should test your safety switches regularly and if it doesn’t trip when testing or if the test button gets stuck then you need to replace your safety switch. 

It is recommended that every circuit in your home has a safety switch. Typically there would be one for lighting, one for power points, and one for hardwire appliances such as dishwashers and ovens. Having multiple safety switches will stop the entire home from blacking out when an appliance or product faults.

How to test your safety switch

Your home should have a safety switch installed on the switchboard. The safety switch will indicate if there are problems with your household wiring. It’s important to understand what the safety switch does, how to test it and what to do if there are problems with your wiring.

The safety switch monitors the flow of electricity through a circuit and detects problems that may pose a risk to personal safety. If they detect a problem they cut the power off within milliseconds. It will only work if it is working correctly and is connected to the faulty circuit.

Safety switches look slightly different on each switchboard, but they are usually labelled ‘safety switch’.

Follow these steps to check your safety switch every three months:

  • Let everyone in your home know you’re about to test the safety switch
  • Press in the test buttons on each safety switch which will cut the power and trip the switch into the off position. You may hear a clunking sound.
  • Check inside the home – there should be no power to lights, appliances and power switches on the circuit you are testing.
  • Once you’re confident that the power is off reset your safety switches by lifting or twisting the switch into the on position.
  • If lights or appliances don’t lose power then your safety switch may have failed. You should call a licensed electrician immediately to investigate.

If you are unsure if a safety switch is installed at your property, contact us at Prokop Electrical and we can help.Only an A grade electrician is qualified to inspect and install household wiring.

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