Did you know that a safety switch can save your life? If there’s a power surge or faulty appliance in your home, a safety switch cuts the power in a fraction of a second. That said, you need to test your safety switches to ensure that you and your family are safe.

Here’s everything you need to know about safety switches.

A safety switch is a mechanism that protects you from electric shock. It’s a button marked “T” or “Test” near your circuit breaker. If you have only one safety switch, consider adding more to protect your entire home. If you have no safety switches, call a certified electrician to install them per regulations.

What’s the Difference Between A Safety Switch and Circuit Breaker?

A safety switch protects humans from electrocution, but a circuit breaker protects your electrical appliances, equipment, and lights in case of a power surge. Both cut off your power supply, but a safety switch works much faster.

For example, let’s say you’re renovating your home and accidentally hit a live wire. The safety switch immediately kills the power and saves you from injury or death.

Is It Safe to Change Your Circuit Breakers?

If your circuit breakers trip regularly for no apparent reason, ask a licensed electrician for help. Don’t attempt any electrical work on your own. Otherwise, you risk putting yourself and your home at risk of electrocution.

How Often Should You Test Safety Switches?

Test your safety switches every three months to ensure they’re clear of dust, dirt, or debris.

How Many Safety Switches Do You Need?

All the circuits in your home need a safety switch. These include sockets and outlets, lights, hot water supply, pool equipment, air conditioning, refrigerator, and oven. As a precaution, always use home appliances according to manufacturers’ instructions, and repair or replace any faulty appliances to minimise your risk of electrical injury.

How Do You Test Your Safety Switches?

First, ensure that everyone in your household knows you’re testing your safety switches. If anyone is using a desktop computer or recording a show on TV, ask them to save or pause their work. Next, open your circuit box and press the “T” or “Test” button. The circuit breaker should immediately flick off and cut the power. Then check which appliances and lights are off, and turn the safety switch back on.

If the power doesn’t come back on after testing, or if you can’t reset the safety switch, there may be a problem with the circuit. A certified electrician can diagnose the problem and install new safety switches and circuit breakers.

How Long Do Safety Switches Last?

According to Australian manufacturing standards, safety switches can last about 4,000 tests. That’s a lifetime of service if there’s no problem with your devices or circuits.

Regular testing is the only way to know that your safety switches work. If you detect any faults with your safety switches, don’t attempt to fix them yourself. You can call a licenced electrician to help test and replace your safety switches to protect you and your loved ones.