One of the essential parts of modern life is electricity, but people tend to disregard how high-risk it can also be. With this, it is a must to protect your business from electrical hazards such as electrical fires, shocks, and arc flashes. An excellent way to prevent these serious incidents is to check the condition of your safety switch, also known as RCD, (residual current device). While you can perform the testing easily, registered professional electrical services can provide you with extensive work and a detailed report.
What Is the Difference Between Safety Switch and Circuit Breaker?
Both safety switches and circuit breakers are integral components that help your place free of electrical hazards. A safety switch protects people from hazards by shutting the electricity off if it detects a problem, while a circuit breaker cuts power to protect appliances and wiring in case of a system overload or fault. They are also similar in appearance, but a safety switch comes with a test button, which is absent in a circuit breaker. A safety switch typically monitors the electricity flow through a circuit.
When there is a power point overload, the circuit breaker creates a short circuit override, and protects your computer, toaster, coffee maker, and other appliances from electrical surges, helping to prevent damage or fire. However, it cannot keep an electric shock from happening to you. This is because a safety switch is the only one that can turn the power off as soon as an electrical issue occurs, in approximately 0.03millisecond.
For example, if you touch a live conductor of an oven, electricity will run through your body as a conduit to the ground, causing your heart to stop. A well-functioning safety switch can provide you with life-saving protection by stopping the electricity in 300 milliseconds.
Where Can You Find the Safety Switch?
In general, safety switches are inside fuse boxes or switchboards, in the same location where meter readings often are. Not all safety switches look the same, depending on the manufacturer. For maximum safety and protection, install a safety switch on each circuit breaker in the property. In other words, you need a safety switch for the air conditioning, lighting, power points, pool, hot water, etc. They will be your additional line of defence against electrical failures.
Ways to Test a Safety Switch
The safety switches in your circuit boards need regular inspections every six months to make sure they function properly. It is best to call an Electrician for a comprehensive report and efficient testing.
The first thing that the electrical expert does is to locate the switchboard on your property. They will check its door hinge and clean the general area of the locking mechanism and exterior of the switchboard. Next, they will test the safety switch usually using these two processes:
- RCD testing. This method refers to the checking of the RCD safe tripping to determine if it can quickly do its job of avoiding hazards. The RCD should be able to trip in about 30 milliseconds. This quick tripping produces only a small shock, so it is a safe process.
- Push-button test. During ground leakage, the specialists at the electrical services will test the RCD trips to ascertain their operational status. The testing will determine if the safety switch can protect people from electric shock or electrocution, and if it can break the circuit. When the expert presses the button, the residual current device should disconnect or power off if it detects an imbalance. If your electricity takes longer to trip off than a millisecond or stays on, then you have a faulty safety switch.
Your electricians should record all the results of their testing and recommend a proper course of action to ensure safety in your property. The report also includes information regarding the location of your safety switch and if it has failed or passed the test. You can take the best approach to keep everyone safe within your premises, based on the information you get from the test results.
The risks of electricity-related injuries and accidents are real. Installing safety switches is a must on all circuits, whether you rent or own the place. If you want to be sure that your commercial property is safe, call an electrical contracting company immediately because it is best to leave this kind of job to the experts.