Back August 02, 2019

The Importance of Safety Switches

Safety switches help to protect your family from electrocution, injury, or worse - they're an absolute necessity in every home.

Safety switches are designed to keep track of all electricity that flows through circuits. More importantly, should a leakage of the electrical current be detected by the switch, it will turn off the supply to all power points on the circuit in a fraction of a second. This means that should an electrical appliance come in contact with water, or its wire is damaged, the safety switch should cut the supply of power to that circuit (although we don’t suggest testing this!). Installing safety switches in your home helps to protect your family from electrocution, injury, or worse, and minimize the risks posed by electrical hazards. 

Although each state has different regulations, it has been law in Victoria since 1991 that all new homes must have safety switches installed. On top of that, any home that requires an electrician to install additional lighting fixtures or powerpoints must also then have safety switches installed if they do not already. However, for older homes where no electrical works are required, we highly recommend contacting an electrician to discuss having safety switches installed in your home to protect your house and family. 

If you’re finding that your safety switch is constantly turning off, there’s likely a very good reason for this. “Nuisance tripping” often happens when a faulty electrical appliance is plugged into a socket on the circuit. Usually, the appliance causing issues produces moisture, such as kettles, fridges, dishwashers etc. To figure out which appliance is causing issues, you will need to go to each room in your home and unplug everything – and we mean absolutely everything. Then, you will need to reset the safety switch. If after this is done, the switch trips again, check once more to see if there’s something still plugged in. If the power stays on, then you will need to go and plug in each appliance one-by-one. If the electricity trips again while plugging an appliance back in, you know you’ve found the culprit. It’s a slow but simple process which saves you the time and money of calling an electrician out. 

It’s important for the safety of your home and family that your safety switches are checked regularly to ensure they’re in good working order – this can be done roughly every three months. While they should always be installed by a qualified electrician, checks can be conducted simply and quickly without the need for help by following these steps: 

  • Warn all others in the house that you’re about to conduct a test. Turning the safety switches off will mean that most appliances do not receive power temporarily, so if someone is using something like a desktop computer, they will need to save what they are doing.
  • Press the ‘Test’ button on the safety switch. Often, they will just show the letter ‘T’.
    →  If it trips and cuts the power, your switch is working.
    →  If the power stays on, and appliances are still working, your safety switch is not working.
  • Make sure to turn the switch back on.

If you have any concerns about your safety switches or are considering getting one installed in your home, Quay Electrical is here to help. Feel free to get in touch with us here, or request a quote using this form

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