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Electrical safety - which switch does what?
Published: April 18, 2021 Last Updated: October 17, 2022
Understanding each function of the different electrical switches in your switchboard can be a challenge, especially as they tend to look very similar. Our electrician Morris explains to homeowner Mick what each safety switch does.
So Morris, we've got a whole range of switches that are meant for the switchboard, what do each one of them do?
Good question Mick. This one here protects our mains cables from any overload or short circuit.
So that's the cable from the street to the house, it protects it from overheating?
Yep, exactly. This one here is a safety switch so basically protects you and I from electric shock.
Uh, like if someone put a fork in a power point.
Yeah, good example. Perfect
This one here is a surge protection device Mick so this will basically protect against any lightning strike or any power surge from the grid or anything like that.
Like those plugs, we used to put on behind our computers back in the day or our TVs? That is the one we're putting the switchboard.
So put that in the switchboard and that's going to cover the whole entire house.
And this last one here Mick is an arc fault detection device.
So what is an arc fault?
An arc fault Mick is basically when a cable gets really hot. It can be caused by old or damaged cables from rodents or something like that. Two conductors will touch and potentially pull the fire.
So two wires touching makes it really hot? This one can identify that.
Yep. Take that and de-energize the circuit before it uh (...) and all the rest of it.
Okay, so how many of these do I need?
You would put one on each circuit that requires it. One is not going to do the whole house.
Yeah, okay, great mate. Well, I know you're really busy. Thanks for taking your time out and I'll let you get back to it.