How does a circuit breaker differ from a safety switch? - PRR Computers, LLC

by Andrew Turkhurst
2 years ago

Can you recognize the difference between a circuit breaker and a safety switch? Few individuals can differentiate between the two, and many people will actually believe that they are the same thing. 

However, while both safety switches and circuit breakers are safety devices that protect your house, they are not the same in principle.

Understanding the distinctions between them will help you better grasp how they work – and, more significantly, how to recognize the symptoms that one is failing.

Before working on or inspecting a circuit breaker make sure you have insurance for electricians to keep yourself safe.

Safety Switches

What is the purpose of a safety switch?

Let’s start with the basics: you’re probably already aware that electricity runs through your home’s electrical wiring to power a variety of gadgets and devices.

A safety switch’s aim is to block any anomalous electrical current that may represent a risk to a person when using electrical appliances, switches, and outlets, protecting you from electrical shock or burns and safeguarding your home from an electrical fire.

A working safety switch monitors the flow of power and may readily identify electrical imbalances where current is flowing. It can turn off the power source in less than 0.3 seconds!

Safety switches must be installed in all final sub-circuits in new domestic and residential installations in Australia by legislation.

In summary, a safety switch safeguards your whole electrical system against shock and damage caused by poor wiring, overloading, and even appliance failure.

The issue: Problems with safety switches are common.

Electrical tripping is one of the most prevalent problems with safety switches. This can occur at any time and without warning.

However, it’s most common when your electrical system is overworked, such as when you’re powering a lot of energy-hungry devices. Consider a standard busy family home: You’ll likely have family members working at a computer, watching their favorite TV show on a streaming service, and preparing food in the kitchen.

When your electricity goes out unexpectedly, and your house is the only one in your neighborhood without power, something is wrong with your system (Note that if your electricity looks to be out for your neighbors as well, it’s normally an area-wide blackout, which is your electrical company’s duty to resolve).

The following are some of the most prevalent causes of your safety switch tripping:

  • Electrical items that are not working properly
  • Water damage 
  • Overloading

If you’re not sure what to do about defective safety switches, contact a professional electrician without hesitation.

A skilled electrician can evaluate your electrical system and swiftly discover any problems or concerns, repairing them on the spot if feasible and assuring the safety of you and your family.

Circuit Breakers

What is the function of a circuit breaker?

Circuit breakers are used to safeguard your system from overheating and prevent electrical fires caused by abrupt electrical surges.

Circuit breakers automatically shut off power if there is too much (or uncontrolled) power in an electrical circuit to prevent overheating and damage caused by the surge.

Issue: Yet again, circuit breaker problems are rather common. Some of these can be caused by the following:

Wiring issues

Electrical wiring that has been improperly installed might cause any of your electrical equipment and appliances to malfunction.

As a result, your family might be at risk of electrical shock or damage to your property.

Ensure that your wiring is properly built and fault-free to fulfill electrical safety regulations.

Flickering lights, malfunctioning appliances, and sparks or smoke emanating from the power outlet are all signs to watch for.

Overloaded circuit

A professional electrician can automatically calculate the proper amp/voltage to utilize for a certain device while installing circuit breakers and electrical wiring.

In most homes in Australia, basic equipment such as lighting fixtures and minor appliances will demand 15 to 20 amps.

Some large equipment, such as refrigerators, electric stoves, and clothes dryers, may demand more than 20 amps.

If homeowners aren’t familiar with this (and let’s face it, the average person doesn’t have the need or need to know these things in great depth), their circuits are likely to be overloaded.

You should avoid plugging too many appliances or devices into a single socket. You should also look for any weak connections that might lead to circuit overloading.

Tripped circuit

When a hot wire meets another hot wire, a circuit breaker trips owing to a short circuit.

The risk of electrical damage and fire is increased if this is not remedied quickly.

Make sure any exposed, frayed, or broken wires are addressed right once to protect your electrical system.

Where will I find my safety switch and circuit breaker?

The best course of action is to identify your switchboard and see what’s available. The circuit breaker and safety switch are frequently labeled for easy identification.

Make an appointment with a certified and experienced electrician if you’re still unsure about its placement or want a peace-of-mind assessment of your breaker box and all of its vital components.

An electrician can assist you in grasping the fundamentals and identifying any potential issues with these gadgets.

This preventative measure can help you avoid future reactive emergency situations!


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