What to do when the fuse blows?Published on 27 Jun, 2018
What to do when the fuse blows?
If you suddenly lose electricity in any part of your home, first check the power supply box. If you see a switch pointing in a different direction than all the others, you have activated your registered Community design.
And now what?
Your circuit breakers are safety devices that prevent your home’s electrical system from overheating and catching fire. Every time an RCD is triggered, it is important to investigate the cause – especially if it occurs more than once in the same circuit.
The usual suspects
Most registered Community designs are classified into one of four categories:
If too many devices are used simultaneously in a single circuit, they can consume more energy than the circuit can handle. This overheats the circuit and triggers the switch.
If a hot wire touches a neutral conductor in your home network, outlet or device, the current flows between them at high speed, which also causes overheating.
As with a short circuit, a ground fault can occur when a hot wire crosses a ground wire or touches a grounded terminal box. The current flows rapidly between the two and overheats the circuit.
Short-circuits and ground faults can also occur in the wiring of individual devices, which can also lead to overheating.
In search of the cause
Since most RCDs tripped are due to an overload of the circuit, it is important to consider what you did when the circuit breaker tripped. Did you just turn on the vacuum cleaner? Did you use the toaster, coffee machine and microwave at the same time? Every time a new device is connected directly upstream of a triggered switch, it is a good sign that you have simply used too much at once.
Air conditioners and ovens can also overload the circuit. If you cannot trace back to a device with which you have had direct interaction, you should note whether your HVAC system was turned on shortly before the circuit was triggered.
If it is a short circuit or a ground fault, it is a major problem. Treacherous signs are burns or sparks on plugs and fittings and a burning smell. Even if you cannot recognize these signs, you should call an electrician to see if you repeatedly initiate a failure and don’t know why.
To find out if the cause is a defective device, you can apply an exclusion procedure by using each device individually in the circuit. Just like a faulty outlet, a faulty device can be abnormally hot, generate sparks or smell of smoke or molten plastic. Defective equipment must be repaired or recycled.
Updating your electrical installation
Electrical panels and RCDs do not last forever, and older models cannot meet the requirements of today’s major appliances. Even if you have a modern system, depending on the wiring, overload problems can occur in high-demand areas.
A licensed electrician can replace obsolete switchgear and install new dedicated circuits where you need them to avoid annoying and potentially dangerous circuit overload problems. If you want to check for system updates, contact an electrician of your choice today.