Mar 5, 2015
Safety Switches



This post is about safety switches. I am sure not many of you know much about the safety switch in your house or what it does or how it work. Well lets shed some light on these areas

What is a Safety Switch?

A Safety Switch is located in your switchboard and is there to save you, the user. If something was to go wrong with an appliance you are using, you run over an extension lead with the lawn mower, one of the lovely children try to get cheese on toast out of the toaster with a knife, the hair dryer gets dropped in the bath or damage a cable or lead. It will prevent you from getting an electric Shock.

How does it work?

Imagine electricity is like water. You have a feed cable (active) and a drain cable (Neutral). When you turn on the tap in your kitchen the water comes from the feed and goes down the drain, in electrical term’s come in on the active and returns on the Neutral. When the water that comes form the feed/tap can’t return down the drain the sink overflows. Unlike with your kitchen sink, where you only end up with water over the floor and no one gets hurt, they just get a bit wet, electricity finds another path back to the main drain cable in your switchboard and that is though the earth and if you end up in that path, you become part of the path and you get electrocuted. When this happens the Safety Switch will see this and isolates the power preventing you from being hurt. Wouldn’t it be great if there was a device that would do this for your sink? A Safety Switch only prevents harm if it working properly. This is why checking your Safety Switch is so important.

How to test Your Safety Switch.

We as electricians have special equipment to test Safety Switches to make sure they operate and isolate the power within the required time of 300ms (less then half a heart beat). You as the home owner can check the operation of your Safety Switch by pressing the test button on the front. This will give you an indication that the Safety Switch is working. You will not be able to check it operates within the required time but you can see it working. You should test your Safety Switch on a regular basis, preferably monthly but definitely no longer then every 6 months. Your safety relies on it.

If your Safety Switch does not pass the test you need to contact your local electrician ASAP. When it is not working you can be electrocuted if there is a fault. We can fix it for you. Please contact us and we will arrange a time for it to be rectified. Click here for our contact details

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