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A safety switch can save your life

Did you know that every year around 15 people in Australia are killed due to electrical shocks, while 300 are hospitalised due to electrical injuries? It is a sad statistic but one that can be avoided with the installation of RCDs or safety switches.

According to research conducted into the causes of electrical incidents in South Australia, finds uncovered that many could be easily prevented by the installation of RCD/Safety Switches. Electricity is dangerous and often taken for granted as it has become such an ingrained part of our lives. So if you haven’t tested your safety switch in a while, test them today. It is recommended to test the safety switches every 3 months. Also, ensure you have safety switches installed on all the electrical circuits.

So what exactly is a safety switch and how does it help?

In essence, a safety switch is a device that can immediately detect when there is an electricity leak and will cut the flow at the source immediately. This could be when a person has accidentally made contact with the current or there is a perceived threat of leakage. Potentially this simple device could and does save lives.

Difference between a safety switch and circuit breakers

Safety switch protects people from serious injury and electrocution from electric shocks due to a fault in the electrical circuit. They monitor the electrical current and shut off the power in merely 0.03 seconds.

However, circuit breakers protect the electrical wiring and appliances from damage caused by short circuits or overloading. If you observe your switchboard, you will notice that safety switches have a Test Button labelled as T while circuit breakers do not have any.

How many safety switches should I ideally have installed on my property?

The majority of people have installed them on main power circuits only. While this is a start it doesn’t guarantee total protection. Ideally to ensure a higher degree of safety then switches should be installed at every single circuit point throughout your property. This includes circuits that control stoves, lights and hot water.

How do I go about getting safety switches installed?

A good electrician will be able to install them for you. They will also be able to advise you of the best places to locate them. The good news is that they are inexpensive to buy. However the price of the job will vary due to the size of the house, the number of switches to be installed and of course, the fee of the electrician or company carrying out the job.

How do I know if it’s working or not?

The answer is to do carry out a quick test. Although safety switches come in different designs and models, they will all have a ‘test’ button that you can press. If it’s working it should immediately trip the electrical circuit that it’s connected to. The switch then just needs to be reset. If it appears not to be working, then contact a skilled electrician who can either repair the existing switch or replace it for a new one. As for the frequency of testing….a quick test once a month should be more than sufficient to give you total peace of mind.

How to test a safety switch?

  1. Locate the safety switch on your switchboard.
  2. Press the T button.
  3. The safety switch should automatically trip to the off position.
  4. Reset the safety switch by pushing it back to the ON position.

If the safety switch doesn’t reset, call a licensed electrician to assess the issue.

Here at Static Electrics, if you need any information on safety switches or if you need further advice on the installation and testing of a safety switch, then let us find the right electrician for you. Contact us on 1300 206 004 or visit our website for a quick response.

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