Electrical Safety 101

Safety Switch Tripped Again? Why You Need to Take Action This Time

by David Hart

Do you take your electricity for granted? It's easy to do so, as life revolves around this amazing utility, but it is nevertheless inherently dangerous, and you have to treat it with respect. Consequently, you should not be blasé if your safety switches keep tripping at the most "awkward" moment. Rather than cursing under your breath and resetting the switch without further action, you need to get to the bottom of the potential problem. Where should you start?

Internal Problems

Most of the time, a tripped safety switch is a result of some issue within the home. However, it may activate if there is an electrical storm nearby and if this causes a general surge. When lightning hits a power line or transformer it will, of course, overload and this will trigger safety devices along the entire network.

Bad Appliance

Still, if it's a perfectly fine day and there are no storms nearby, the first place to look is for a faulty appliance. If yours is a typical home, then you will probably have a dozen or more appliances scattered through the property and as with anything else electrical, they don't last forever. If one were to develop a fault then it could create a current discharge, unbalancing the circuit and switching things off.

Begin by unplugging all the appliances in the affected circuit, before resetting the safety switch and plugging each appliance in one by one. Once you find the faulty appliance you can decide what to do with it, but if it's a relatively inexpensive product then you will be better off replacing it completely.

Faulty Wiring

Occasionally, bad wiring can trigger the switch due to an overload. Sometimes this is due to a system that is simply out of date or needs to be renovated, but you may also have a wild mouse or similar rodent working away in a dark corner. Faulty wiring will normally emit an unusual buzzing noise, or in the worst-case scenario, you may notice a burning smell. This can be difficult to pinpoint without sophisticated equipment, so it's probably a job for your electrician.


Make sure that you are not overloading your home by plugging too many appliances into the same outlet. This is a common occurrence in the living room, for example, where five or six entertainment-related devices are grouped together in one spot. Some of these appliances may be quite hungry for electricity and you should never piggybank them together in this way.

Taking Action

If you cannot find the source of your safety switch activation or may be worried if it's related to anything bigger, pick up the phone and call out an emergency electrician without further delay.