Switchboard upgrade in general, command little interest from home owners, they are usually mounted on an outside wall and frequently “out of sight, out of mind” except to check power consumption when a large bill arrives. Similarly, when purchasing a new home, the condition of the switchboard is not high on a list of priorities.
However, our modern lifestyle promotes a large range of electrical appliances being used, these often require high amounts of electrical current that older style switchboards were not designed to handle and may offer a potential risk if your switchboard has not been recently upgraded and fitted with a safety switch device.
All modern switchboards are required by law to have safety switches installed. These are devices that quickly switch off the power to your home in the event of a fault in an electrical circuit. Safety switches will cut power to any problem circuit, in approximately 0.03 seconds, protecting you and your home.
Current Australian electrical standards require lighting and power circuits on all new switchboards to have safety switches installed, safeguarding against electrical shock and to protect your home from electrically induced fire hazards, however, if your switchboard has not been upgraded recently, you may be in a high risk bracket.
While fuses and circuit breakers, common in older style switchboards may protect against electrical overload, these were designed for low current flow appliances. If a fuse or circuit breaker “blows” frequently, it is evident there is a problem with an appliance being used, however, fuses and circuit breakers cannot offer the level of protection provided by safety switches.
Modern appliances have the potential for higher immediate current flows, often operating in a constant “stand by” mode.
Additionally, a modern family will operate many more appliances at the same time such as TV’s, air conditioners, dishwashers, washing machines and dryers to name a few, requiring the additional protection that a safety switch offers.
If your switchboard is fitted with a safety switch and a fault occurs the safety switch automatically activates. Resetting the safety switch to restore current to the circuit is quite simple if the faulty appliance has been unplugged and disconnected from the circuit. However, if the fault still exists, the safety switch will again sense a circuit fault and cut power again until the fault has been removed.
In such cases, unplug or disconnect the most recently used appliances and reset the safety switch. Once the faulty appliance has been identified it must be quarantined from further use or be repaired by a trained professional.
If the safety switch activates due to a problem with a wired appliance such as an oven or a light circuit, professional help should be called immediately before attempting to reset the safety switch again. In such cases leave the safety switch in the “off” position until professional restoration of the circuit is complete.
In the event your switchboard hasn’t been updated recently, your family and your home may be at risk and your switchboard should be checked urgently by a qualified electrician to assess your level of protection.
Alliance Climate Control have trained and qualified electricians on call to diagnose and repair any faulty appliance or to upgrade your older switchboard incorporating lifesaving safety switch devices.
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