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Why is Saftey Switch Keep Tripping

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  1. #1
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    Default Why is Saftey Switch Keep Tripping

    I am staying down in sydney for a few month for work and the company has rented a brand new town house.

    On about 10 occasions now the saftey switch has tripped and cut the power when appliances have been turned on at the wall or when the lights have been switched on.

    What causing this? I tried getting the property manager to send out a sparky but he said it's due the appliances we are plugging in.

    All the appliances have been test and tagged rencently and are only small things like laptop charges, and it's also happened when I have switched certain lights on but doesn't happen every time.

    Any ideas? None of the sparkys at work could be bothered thinking about what could be causing it.

  2. #2
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Airman,

    Does the place have a single safety switch covering all the circuits?

    It could be a number of things. Firstly, the tripping could be caused by the sum of the leakage currents of all the appliances - each appliance may have leakage below the trip current, but the sum of all the appliance could be close to the trip level. Secondly, the safety switch it self could be faulty.

    If you can, unplug as many appliances as possible and see if the tripping stops. If you can, borrow a PAT (portable appliance tester) and check each appliance for leakage current. Even better, see if you can borrow a safety switch tester to check the safety switch isn't overly sensitive.

    Also, does the place have an electric stove, oven or HWS? Some mineral insulated heating elements are notorious for leaking after not being used for a while.

  3. #3
    ab1
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    If you continually plug the same appliance in and the safety switch trips then look at that appliance.

    Generally I would look at the following in order - gas stove ignition, dishwasher, spa pump, kettle and iron then so on. Unplug the appliance as switching off the power point switch only breaks the active. The safety switch will also trip if there is a neautral earth fault.

    I would suspect there is a fault on one of the circuits that is only evident when enough current is flowing through the safety switch. It's like half a fault.

    My guess is it's water in an outside light.

    I would contact the landlord and demand they send an electrician to check out the problem. It would be very hard for you to find the fault without a mega and some experience in fault finding. It's not your house so it's not you problem.

    It's interesting to read lots of notes from people claiming electrical on their home should be DIY. Can we hear from some DIY's on what they think is a fix for a tripping safety switch.

  4. #4
    2K Club Member chrisp's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ab1 View Post
    t's interesting to read lots of notes from people claiming electrical on their home should be DIY. Can we hear from some DIY's on what they think is a fix for a tripping safety switch.
    So are you now suggesting the problem is in the fixed wiring

  5. #5
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    There could be a hundred and one reasons why its tripping
    If its an RCD/MCB it could be tripping on an overload
    As chrisp said it could be a faulty Safety switch
    Ive found many thing that have caused these thing to intermittently trip from faulty wiring to ants in power-points.
    I once even found an earwig nest in an weatherproof power-point that had enough moisture in it to trip the Safety switch

    We can play guessing games here all day but The reality is (as ab1 said) you need a sparkie with an Insulation resistance tester (commonly wrongly called a Megger in the trade).to find the fault.

  6. #6
    Tool Whore - 1K Club Member Vernonv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ab1 View Post
    It's interesting to read lots of notes from people claiming electrical on their home should be DIY. Can we hear from some DIY's on what they think is a fix for a tripping safety switch.
    I think the fix for a tripping safety switch is to either replace the safety switch if it is faulty (as already suggested) or find an fix/replace the faulty appliance or wiring that is causing the earth leakage (also already suggested). Is that correct .... do I win the prize?

    I'm not sure what your point is ab1, but seeing as my fault finding crystal ball is currently in the repair shop, I think I would use my mega instead, and test each circuit in isolation to see if I could narrow it down. Anything else (like suggesting water in an outside light) is just a guess, which could be correct, but is still a guess, until it is tested with the appropriate gear.

    Airman, do as the others have said. Try and isolate the problem to a particular circuit or appliance and then hassle the agent/landlord to get it checked out and fixed. Maybe mention the liability the agent/landlord would face if someone gets hurt/killed because of the fault.
    Cheers.

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  7. #7
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    I'd be telling the land lord to get it checked properly and I wouldn't be accepting any excuse or a NO as an answer. Its their responsibility to have it working properly and not your responsibility to diagnose the problem.

  8. #8
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    I have an investment property that had this very same problem last year. The property is managed by a real estate company and the property manager did the obvious and asked the tenant to check all his appliances. The tenant really went to town threatening tribunal hearings and withholding rent. Two electricians, one electrical company and $1600 later I still had the same problem. The culprit was the defrost element in the tenant's fridge which was tracked down by the tenant's father, a retired small appliance serviceman. He claims to be self taught and also claims that the only tool he used was fault finding experience. Those that I paid to do work claim to have checked all appliances including the fridge and found no fault.

  9. #9
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by familyguy View Post
    . The culprit was the defrost element in the tenant's fridge .

    Isn't then the Tennant's responsibility to pay

  10. #10
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    safety switch tripping = 99% appliance problem or overload of appliances. I remember one guy trying to run a portable aircon and his entire stereo and entertainment system off one outlet and complaining why the fuse was tripping...idiot.

  11. #11
    ab1
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    Montiee.. Do you realise the RCD will not trip from overload?

  12. #12
    Golden Member nev25's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ab1 View Post
    Montiee.. Do you realise the RCD will not trip from overload?
    Unless its an RCD/MCB

  13. #13
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    The PM sent out the builder who in turn sent out a sparky, they came on friday but I wasn't there so I don't know what the problem was exactly but I did notice they had changed the safety switch, it's now a clipsal before it was another brand.

    Thanks for everyones input

  14. #14
    Purveyor of Fine Firewood Dean's Avatar
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    Happened 3x here at my house. First two times it was the electric kettle/jug, third time the steam mop.
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  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dean View Post
    Happened 3x here at my house. First two times it was the electric kettle/jug, third time the steam mop.
    Anything with an element is high risk for tripping the RCD. Even worse if there's water around since moisture is a problem even with oven etc elements.

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