How does a safety switch protect your home?
A safety switch monitors the amount of electricity that is going into the cables that supply your light and power outlets. Every 30 milliseconds, the safety switch does a simple calculation to determine if there is an imbalance between the amount of electricity going in and coming out. If there is an imbalance, the safety switch will shut off the power to prevent any damage from occurring. To allow electricity to flow through the circuit again, you would need to reset the safety switch.
While many modern appliances and cables are manufactured to high safety standards, accidents can still happen. Having a safety switch fitted to your electrical system ensures peace of mind that you and your family are safe from harm should an accident occur.
Safety switches are legally required to be installed in every home and rental property within New South Wales. Whilst safety switches can be installed with older switchboards, it can sometimes be more cost-effective to undergo a switchboard upgrade. The average Australian home has at least two powerpoint circuits and two lighting circuits, as well as appliance-specific circuits. From January 2019, it has become mandatory for a safety switch to be installed on all circuits.
- A safety switch monitors the amount of electricity going in and out of cables supplying power to outlets and appliances.
- If there is a difference between the amount of electricity going in and out, the safety switch will cut off further supply to that area.
- Safety switches are now a legal requirement in rental properties (along with smoke alarms) in NSW
Safety Switch Requirements for New South Wales, Australia
According to the NSW Government, 40% of house fires in New South Wales are caused by electrical faults and electrical appliances. As per the Australian/New Zealand Wiring Rules – AS/NZS 3000:2018 which were published on 26 June 2018 and took effect on 1 January 2019, electrical installation work must include the following for safety switches:
- Within New South Wales, a safety switch is mandatory for all final sub-circuits in new domestic and residential installations.
- For all new homes built after 2000, safety switches must be installed on all power points and lighting circuits.
- If your house was built before 2000, it is recommended you consult with a licensed electrician to check if you need any RCD safety switches installed.
- If you’ve recently bought a property and it doesn’t have a safety switch, you must get one installed within three months of taking ownership of the property.
- For rental properties, at the start of your tenancy, a condition report should be completed by both the landlord and the tenant. The safety section of the report should state the working condition of any safety switches.
- If you perform any extensions or alterations to an existing circuit, for example adding a bathroom fan to an existing circuit, a safety switch must be installed.
- For existing installations where only a single piece of electrical equipment is being replaced that is not protected by a safety switch, for example, a single powerpoint, you are not required to install a safety switch. In saying that, we do recommend you protect the circuit by having a safety switch installed.
FAQs on RCD Electrical Safety Switches