Safety switches

Safety switches

Choosing a safety switch for your home
Safety switches detect small amounts of constant electrical fault current leaking to earth and quickly switch off the electricity, minimising electric shock and reducing the risk of fire.
Safety switches wired into power and light circuits give reliable protection against serious shock. Other equipment, apparatus and circuits of an electrical installation may not have safety switch protection.
There are three types of approved safety switches.
Switchboard safety switches provide protection on electrical circuits connected to it throughout the house, and for those electrical appliances and extension cords connected to earth leakage protected power points.
Power point safety switches that replace an existing power point, protect extension cords and electrical appliances plugged into the outlet, and the electrical wiring and power points downstream from the safety switch on the same circuit.
Portable safety switches protect portable electrical appliances and extension cords plugged into the safety switch. If using power tools or electrical appliances outdoors that are not protected by a switchboard or power point safety switch, these safety switches are essential.

Installing safety switches
From 1991 to 2000 it was mandatory to install safety switches in new homes to protect power points, except those supplying fridges and freezers, and in existing homes to protect new power circuits. From 2000, it has been mandatory to install safety switches to all electricity and lighting circuits in new homes and in building extensions and alterations to existing homes where new light and power circuits are required.
It is important to seek advice from a licensed electrician regarding the installation of safety switches, and make sure you understand what electricity and lighting circuits will be protected. A licensed electrician must install switchboard and power point safety switches.

Using safety switches
If a safety switch has tripped and shut down the electricity supply, it may be that the fault was temporary, or due to lightning. Resetting the safety switch should restore the electricity supply. If you cannot get the safety switch to reset, contact a licensed electrician to find and repair the fault.
Check each safety switch by turning off all plug-in appliances before pressing its test button every month.


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