Switchboards and their protective devices are the items that can save your life, or save your house from burning down. Some older homes have systems that do not provide a high level of safety if they have the old slow acting rewire-able ceramic fuses and have not been fitted with a safety switch, Some older switchboards also have a fire retardant material made of Asbestos which poses a risk if it was disturbed by additions or modifications. So what are the options for replacement and what are the benefits?
Essentially there are two main protective devices. These are circuit breakers and safety switches. These devices provide protection to the wiring, appliances, and the occupants by interrupting the electricity supply due some specific electrical faults. The circuit breaker has limited function in that it protects the cabling and appliances in the house if there is a short circuit fault or an overload. However it cannot protect the occupants against all forms of electric shock.
The Safety Switch has a different function that provides protection for the occupants against a greater number of situations that can cause electric shock. This is called personal protection. These devices cannot provide protection against short circuit or overload. Together, the circuit breaker and the safety switch can be used to provide a high level of protection. A third type of device has now become the standard in protective devices for domestic electrical. It is a combination of both the circuit breaker and the safety switch called an ‘RCBO’. With this device fitted to each individual circuit in the house the best available protection is provided to every electrical item throughout your home. In addition, it’s easier to diagnose faults due to the capacity to discriminate between circuits. When a fault occurs will likely be on one circuit only, causing minimal interruption to the general power supply in your home. Read on for more details.