Everyone thinks about safety and wants to keep their Florence, SC homes out of harm’s way. However, only a few seem to get it right when it comes to electrical safety. This is because, for most people, electrical safety only springs to their minds when there’s an actual hazard.
Your home’s electrical safety begins and ends with the switchboard. For starters, a switchboard is the central hub for your home’s electrical unit and directs electricity from the main supply to your power outlets and appliances. Simply put, it’s the control center of your electricity.
In this article, you’ll learn about the five things your switchboard requires to keep your home safe.
Safety Switches or RCDs
Residual current device (RCD), aka safety switches, is a life-saving device in your electrical switchboard that protects you from potential electrocution or bodily harm.
This device must be installed to protect all your circuits. If electricity gets into contact with something it shouldn’t, the safety switch is activated and picks up on the earth leakage current running through any of your switchboard circuits.
RCDs are designed to shut off when a difference is detected in the electric current flow. For example, when someone touches an appliance with a loose, live wire, a current flows through their body to the earth.
This disconnection or the tripping of these devices must occur within 0.3 seconds, but less is better. Any longer than that, and the risk of harm is real. In essence, RCD doesn’t prevent you from getting a shock; it simply means it shouldn’t last long enough to kill you.
It would help if you had a licensed electrician in Florence, SC test your safety switches regularly to ensure the internal mechanisms of the switchboard remain functional. Also, RCD checks should be conducted routinely to confirm that the trip rate of the unit is under the legally stipulated range of 0.3 seconds.
If you’re upgrading your switchboard, it’s advisable to get an electrician to install residual current circuit-breakers with over-current (RCBOs) for each of your circuits also known as ground-fault circuit interrupters (GFCIs). These are safety switches with similar functionalities as your circuit breaker, which gives protection against earth leakage, overloads, and short circuits.
Circuit Breaker Main Switch
As opposed to the safety switch, which shuts off power to prevent you from having an awful experience whenever there’s a fault, a circuit breaker disconnects power to the entire circuit breaker panel, shutting off power to the whole house. The primary function of the main circuit breaker is to protect your electrical system from overloads and short circuits.
Essentially, the Amp rating of your main breaker is about the size of your home’s incoming consumer mains, i.e., the main electricity line powering your home or office.
Each cable has its rating for the load size it can carry. Making sure your main switch at the switchboard is a circuit breaker ensures that the incoming cable doesn’t melt or get damaged in case of any overload current from all the other circuits combined.
A properly functioning circuit breaker will automatically shut off once it picks up a load coming through its unit, offering the needed protection for the cable.
However, if your main switch ever turns off on its own and you’re convinced there’s no overload or short circuit in the home, then it could be faulty. In that case, you should contact an electrician near Florence, SC to come in and fix the issue immediately.
Main Earthing System
An earthing or grounding system connects specific components of your home’s electrical switchboard to the earth for safety and functional purposes. It’s crucial to ensure that your property is grounded to prevent any prickles or zaps on all metallic fittings.
Additionally, you’ll have the peace of mind knowing all your electrical devices and appliances are working at their full potential.
Again, as mentioned earlier, this isn’t a DIY job. Leave the work to a licensed electrician who is knowledgeable and understands the electrical standards that apply to wiring in homes.
Surge protectors are essential devices every individual should have, yet they’re undervalued and often overlooked. This is a component of your switchboard designed for taking the “hit” when any power surge randomly occurs in your electrical system’s incoming lines.
A spike in your electricity will mainly be caused by thunderstorms or other extreme weather conditions affecting the power supplier’s energy.
This sudden increase in voltage can be shot down in your incoming lines in the blink of an eye, causing your electronic equipment to be fried sporadically. But if you have surge protection, any potential surge entering your house is eliminated, protecting all your household appliances and electronics.
Although most electrical devices will have point-of-use surge protectors, you can ask your electrician to install whole-house surge protection in your home for maximum safety.
When you hire a quack, don’t be surprised to see incorrect or poor switchboard labeling. Ideally, every circuit in your electrical switchboard should be labeled clearly for the area it takes care of. For instance, lights, hot water, stove, power, etc. The same rule also applies to all your RCD-protected circuits.
Correct switchboard labeling minimizes the risk of electrical danger by ensuring that the electrician coming to work on your property doesn’t turn off the wrong circuit.
Consider a scenario where the electrician is working on your light circuit and goes to the switchboard to turn off the circuit for the “lights off,” only to find each of the circuits labeled “power.” They’ll have no option but to have all the circuits turned off to establish the one that controls the lights. What a headache!
Rely on the Experts from Mister Sparky of Florence
Mister Sparky of Florence is your reliable electrical service company that delivers quality services with unmatched professionalism. Our electricians are insured and licensed to provide a wide range of general and emergency electrical services. Give us a phone call today for more details.
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