Everything You Need to Know About Safety Switches and What to do When They Trip

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A safety switch, also known as a residual current device (RCD), offers an additional layer of protection against electric shock. It monitors the current flowing through an electrical circuit and instantly cuts off the power if an imbalance is detected. With this device installed, you can rest assured that your electrical system is secure and your family is safe.

Why are safety switches necessary?

For something so small, safety switches are a critical piece of equipment in any home or workplace and provide a valuable level of protection against the risk of electric shock and can help prevent serious injury or even death. This video by NSW Govt reinforces the need and importance of Safety Switches to keep one’s family and loved ones safe.

5 Things You Should Do When a Safety Switch Trips

We know the feeling; you’ve settled in for the night to binge-watch something when the power suddenly goes out. Here’s your handy guide to getting the lights back on:

  • Look outside at your neighbours’ homes. Are you dealing with a power outage in your area or are you flying solo? Unfortunately, there’s not much we can do to help if it’s an outage; we suggest lighting some candles and playing charades to pass the time. Check for power outages in your area with Ausgrid.
  • Check that the switch has tripped. If it has, the switch will either be in the ‘off’ position (down) or have an illuminated red indicator.
  • Immediately unplug any electrical appliances that are connected to the circuit, as they may be the cause of the trip. Everything from your TV to the toaster, washing machine, air conditioner or microwave could be responsible for the power going out, especially if you are using a lot of appliances simultaneously.
  • Turn off the main electricity switch at the power board to reset the circuit. Check the electrical circuit for possible damage, such as loose wires, exposed wiring, or damaged fixtures. Reset the safety switch and turn the main switch back on.
  • If you cannot locate or repair the issue, give us a call and we’ll send a qualified electrician out to help you.

How to Prevent a Safety Switch from Tripping

  • An easy way to prevent overloading your circuit and tripping the safety switch is to book regular inspections and services by a qualified electrician.
  • Make sure that any electrical appliances you use are in good working condition and meet safety standards. You may want to boast that the washing machine handed down from your grandma is immortal, but older or unmaintained appliances could be a disaster waiting to happen.
  • Don’t overload circuits by plugging in too many electrical appliances. It should go without saying, but don’t plug an 8-socket powerboard into another 8-socket powerboard—trust us.
  • Make sure any extension leads or powerboards are in good condition and rated for the correct amperage. It’s like questioning the leftover takeaway in the fridge; if you’re unsure if you should, it’s safest not to use it and replace it.
  • If you are using an extension lead outdoors, ensure it is suitable for outdoor use.
  • Don’t use electrical appliances in wet conditions.

Safety switches are essential equipment in any home or workplace and offer you peace of mind. You can never be too safe when it comes to electricity; call a professional electrician to inspect your home or business and ensure your safety switches are in good working order. While a tripped safety switch can sometimes be because of a minor issue, it can indicate a bigger problem if it continues to trip.