Did you know your home may not actually be fitted with life-saving safety switches? In Queensland, safety switch technology – otherwise known as residual current electrical safety devices or RCD – has been compulsory since 1992. But that only applies to new homes or older ones as they are sold, leaving your home and family potentially exposed to the dangers of electric shock. Are you sure you understand the safety switches and circuit breakers difference?

When something goes wrong in a power system protected by safety switches and circuit breakers, the safety switch detects the problem instantaneously and shuts off the entire circuit breaker. It protects your home, power system and appliances from damage while protecting the people you love from serious injury or even death.

RCD VS circuit breaker – Know the difference

If your home does not have safety switches (RCD), the circuit breakers or fuses will do the protection instead. But although they’re designed to cut the power in the event of a major fault, circuit breakers are only designed to protect the circuit itself – because they require a certain current tolerance before shutting down. But until that tolerance has been reached, live current may already have irreparably damaged your appliances or given someone a potentially fatal ‘zap’.

On the other hand, even the merest leak of electrical current will be shut down under the protection of a safety switch, as it constantly monitors current in:

  • The entire house
  • Each individual circuit
  • Every single outlet & piece of equipment.

What’s your circuit breaker VS safety switch situation?

And even if you find both a safety switch and circuit breaker inside your meter box, remember that there may not be RCD protection on every single circuit. If you’re not 100% sure you fully understand the circuit breaker vs safety switch situation at your place, give some thought as to whether your home may have:

1. No safety switches at all

With no RCDs or safety switches, your power system features absolutely no protection against the potential of fatal electrocution. Your entire electrical system is also at the mercy of a potential minor or major fault, meaning any part of your home could be ‘live’.

2. Only one safety switch for multiple electrical circuits

While one safety switch is better than no safety switch, it can be more trouble than it’s worth. For instance, every single time there is a short circuit, a ground fault or a simple circuit overload, every connected circuit – which could be the entire home – will be tripped. And when that happens, it can be almost impossible to find the source of the fault.

3. A malfunctioning safety switch

If you’re lucky, a dodgy safety switch will simply be annoying – causing multiple nuisance trips. Even worse, however, is when you think that the safety switch is providing protection when it may not be working properly. The most common causes of faulty RCDs are damage due to operation, overheating & burning, or incorrect wiring.

4. Poor quality safety switches

When it comes to life-saving electrical safety, ‘cheap’ could instantly or eventually become ‘fatal’. Your Electrical Expert not only uses only the best quality parts for all electrical work, our tools, equipment and safety testing standard are also top-notch.

Give every safety switch and circuit breaker the green light

Are you worried about your safety switches? Your Electrical Expert is your friendly, local and fully-licensed Brisbane electricians & Gold Coast electrical experts for all of your electrical systems needs – including inspections, safety testing, maintenance, repairs and full installations from start to finish. If you’d like every circuit breaker and safety switch given the green light at your place, message or call us today.