Safety switches are an important part of maintaining electrical safety. Despite this, many people don’t feel they know as much as they should about them. In turn, safety switches are often confused with other electrical safeguards. That’s why it’s now a good time to detail some essential information about safety switches, and when it may be time to upgrade.
What is a Safety Switch Exactly?
For anyone yet to feel they understand what exactly a safety switch does, a brief recap is useful.
A safety switch is a device fitted in a switchboard that will quickly shut down the power in the event of an electrical fault being detected. Due to this mechanism being in place, the risk of dangers such as fires and injury is decreased. Across Australia there are some different laws and regulations that apply to when safety switches must be installed, but from a technological perspective there is no doubt having one can make a property much safer than not having one.
The Difference Between a Safety Switch and Circuit Breaker
A key challenge around safety switches is the general public’s perception of them, and the confusion that exists between safety switches and other safeguards. Oftentimes this centres around the different role that a safety switch performs in comparison to a circuit breaker. Although both of these devices provide some protection, they do so in different ways – and it’s important to understand the difference. Put simply, a safety switch seeks to protect people from electrical accidents, whereas a circuit breaker seeks to protect electrical wiring.
Enhancing Safety with a Switch
Even if a circuit breaker is fitted, there should not be the misunderstanding that a switchboard is safe as it can be. Ultimately, there are a number of factors that go into making a premises safe from an electrical point of view, but undoubtedly the addition of a safety switch can be a great way to boost safety.
The Best Time for an Upgrade
For any property that is yet to have a safety switch installed, the owner will find it’s necessary to do so when the property is sold, renovations occur, or other factors result in an installation being required. In turn, while safety switches should be long-lasting, sometimes conditions can result in a reduction of their effectiveness. In such circumstances, the need for an inspection and upgrade to a safety switch made more recently will be necessary.
It’s also important to keep in mind a safety switch is there to enhance safety, and if there’s other underlying electrical problems it will not resolve them (so it’s important that an electrician is made aware of any and all known electrical issues when they visit). But once all issues are addressed, the presence of a safety switch can help give an early warning about any problems as they arise in future, and do so while also adding an extra layer of protection against any electrical dangers for people using the property.