Why does my safety switch keep tripping?
Although the tripping of your safety switch may seem like a nuisance at times, it is only doing its job! A safety switch is designed to protect people from leaking current from circuits, so when a safety switch ‘trips’, it disconnects the power to that circuit to ensure the safety of those potentially in harm’s way. When you are sitting in the dark and your neighbours are watching TV with their lights on it can seem rather annoying, but it is only acting as a safety mechanism for electrical hazards in your home!
How do I know if my safety switch has tripped?
Your safety switch or RCD (residual current device) is likely located in your fuse box or switchboard. If the switch is on ‘OFF’, this means it has tripped. Some new systems will only click off half way when they trip, therefore take a good look to see what your safety switch is doing. If it is still on, but your power is off, then your safety switch is not the issue. If your safety switch is sitting on ‘OFF’, you need to get to the bottom of why it has tripped.
Reasons a safety switch may be tripping
There are a few different reasons why your safety switch may be tripping, including :
- A temporary electrical fault (these are easily fixed!)
- Rain damage caused by heavy falls (make sure you call an electrician for this one)
- Thunder, lightning and electrical storms can trigger RCD sensors (this usually resolves itself)
- Damaged wiring (worn out over time)
- Nuisance tripping (when too many appliances are running at once)
- A faulty safety switch (this is uncommon but it can happen)
What should you do if your safety switch is tripping?
To deal with a tripping safety switch, there are a few different approaches that can be taken. Firstly, it may be simply switching the safety switch to ‘ON’ and your power may come back on – a simple fix. If you attempt this though, and it switches off again, you will have to try another option. This includes unplugging every appliance in your home (yes every single one) and then trying to turn the safety switch to ‘ON’ again. If the safety switch remains on, you will then need to re-plug every appliance back to see which one tripped the safety switch – the most common culprits are fridges, toasters, kettles, irons and freezers. Your washing machine or rangehood might ever be doing it. If you find the appliance causing the issue, ensure you keep it unplugged and take it to a licensed appliance repair technician for fixing.
If you are still having issues or are unable to find the fault, it is highly recommended that you call a licensed and qualified electrician to come and inspect the issue. It is always better to be on the safe side!