Two Protection Mechanisms Within Your Electricity Switch Board

If you've noticed your electricity behaving in unusual ways, if appliances stop working or lights dim, it may be time to call an electrician. While your electrical system has inbuilt protection measures, if you have any doubts, it's always wise to call in experts. In the meanwhile, though, here are two ways your setup guards you and your home.

Safety Switches

The electricity switch box in your home contains two crucial protective systems, one of which is the safety switch. Whenever you use an appliance, such as a hairdryer, the electrical current flows from the power supply into the device and then back again. So the current travels in a circuit. It moves outwards towards the appliance via an active wire and back to the switchboard via a neutral wire. 

In a dangerous situation where your hairdryer gets wet while in use, for instance, the current can attempt to move through your body, giving you an electric shock. However, the safety switch is always comparing the current that leaves and comes back. If the ingoing and outgoing currents aren't equal, the safety switch triggers and blocks the electricity flow. In this scenario, once some current diverts towards your body, the safety switch senses this and cuts off the power instantaneously, possibly saving your life. 

Circuit Breakers

The other protective mechanisms in the switchboard are the circuit breakers. These divide up the electricity flow into different circuits so that one powers the dishwasher and other appliances, while another circuit controls lights and power points, for instance. 

Circuit breakers gauge the strength of the current flowing through the wires, and if it's too strong, they switch off. That's why, for example, a circuit breaker might switch off once you plug in an additional heater or portable air cooler. It could be that you've overloaded that circuit which is designed with a current limit in mind. Alternatively, at times, though, the problem lies with a faulty appliance.

Circuit breakers prevent appliances overheating and causing fires—their prime role is to protect property. However, the safety switches' main objective is to save lives. Only a tiny amount of current can cause problems for the human heartbeat, and safety switches can detect minute current discrepancies and act exceptionally quickly — faster than the circuit breaker can act. While your electrical system has these inbuilt protective mechanisms, it's always best to call electricians if you have any concerns or doubts to prevent accidents.

For further details, reach out to a local electrician.