In Qld, it is now mandatory for all final sub-circuits in domestic/residential installations to be protected with a 30mA Residual Current Device (RCD), otherwise known as a safety switch. This applies to all lighting and power circuits, as well as fixed electrical appliance circuits such as air conditioning units, hot water systems, stoves, ovens and hot plates etc.
What is a Safety Switch?
A safety switch is a protection device that protects you and your family from serious electrical harm including electrocution, by cutting the supply of electricity if you happen to make contact with a live conductive part.
How Does a Safety Switch Work?
If you accidentally happen to make contact with a live conductive part, you can create a circuit through your body down to ground or “earth”. The safety switch is designed to detect these imbalances in the circuit and quickly disconnect the supply.
I Have Circuit Breakers. Why Do I Need Safety Switches?
Circuit breakers protect an electrical circuit by cutting power when there is a high current fault or overload. A safety switch is different as it cuts power when it detects a leakage to earth. Circuit breakers are installed to protect circuit wiring and appliances, while safety switches are installed to protect people.
Will My Safety Switch Always Protect Me?
No. Like anything, sometimes over time things can fail. This is why it is important to regularly test your safety switches to make sure they are working. Tests should be done at least every 3 months.
How Can I Test My Safety Switches?
You can test your safety switches yourself by going to your switchboard and pressing the test buttons on the devices. If it cuts the electricity supply immediately it is working. If it doesn’t cut the power, it is most likely faulty and should be replaced by a qualified electrician as soon as possible.
How Do The New Rules Affect Me?
As stated previously, all circuits must now be protected by an RCD in domestic/residential premises and all circuits under 32A for non-domestic premises. So this applies to everyone who is looking at getting new electrical installations done. Just be aware that the electrician may have to upgrade your protection devices in your switchboard in order to comply with the new standards.
For more information or advice on safety switches and how they protect you and your family, call us today and we’d be more than happy to assist you.