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Check for power outages in your area

If you have lost power to your entire house you can check the SA Power networks outages website and enter your post code to see any outages affecting your suburb

If there are no outages in your area you can check your switch board for any tripped circuit breakers, safety switches / rcd (residual current device) or RCBO (residual current circuit breaker)

How do you tell the difference between a circuit breaker, a safety switch or rcbo?

A safety switch / rcd will have a test button (see circled in red below). The safety switch/ rcd monitors the live conductor and neutral conductor for any difference in current flow and is designed to trip, switching off the power supply if the difference is to greater than (typical house hold rcds 30milliamp) this difference could be caused by a person contacting a live wire, a rodent chewing the wires or a water leak inside a light fitting. The rcd is designed to trip and prevent a person from electrocution.

safety switch

A circuit breaker does not have a test button like a safety switch / rcd, it is designed to protect the wiring and equipment from overload not to protect persons or animals from electrocution. Circuit breakers have a rating ie C10, C16 etc which stands for 10amps and 16amps respectively. This is the amount of Amps or current the circuit breaker will allow before tripping. A trip could be caused by to many appliances being used at the same time, especially appliances that heat ie clothes dryer, kettle, hairdryer or it could trip due to a short circuit fault in the wiring.


An RCBO (residual current circuit breaker) is a combination of a safety switch/ rcd (circled in red) and circuit breaker (circled in yellow) combined into a modern device performing both residual current protection and overload protection.

overload protection

Can I reset my safety switch?

A safety switch/ rcd will typically protect 2-4 circuit breakers (see below) rcd pictured protects 2x power and 1x light circuit breakers.

switch board

If the safety switch is tripped in your switch board you can try the steps below-

  1. Switch off the circuit breakers the safety switch / rcd protects and then reset the safety switch. If the safety switch/ rcd won’t reset you likely have a faulty safety switch/ rcd and need to call and electrician.
  2. If the safety switch/ rcd does reset you can then try resetting the circuit breakers one at a time.
  3. If the safety switch trips when you reset a particular circuit breaker there is likely and issue on that circuit. If it is a power circuit unplug all the appliances in the affected circuit, if it is a light circuit you can turn off all the light switches paying particular attention to any outdoor lights
  4. Repeat steps 1 and 2

If the safety switch remains on you have likely isolated the faulty appliance or light. You can plug in each appliance or turn on each light one at a time. If the safety switch/ rcd trips as you plug in or turn on a particular appliance/ light, unplug or turn off the problem appliance/light and call an electrician for repair.

Can I reset a circuit breaker in my switch board?

If you have a tripped circuit breaker in your switch board you can follow the steps below


  1. Try to think about if you had multiple appliances running at the same time, especially heating appliances ie clothes dryer, kettle, hair dryer?
  2. Switch off or unplug appliances on the affected circuit
  3. Try to reset the circuit breaker ONLY ONCE, it is very important not to try and reset a circuit breaker multiple times if step 1 and 2 did not work. Call an electrician to test the circuit as you might have a short circuit in your wiring which could cause a fire.

Can I reset an RCBO (residual current circuit breaker)? follow the steps below

residual current circuit breaker

  1. You can try to reset your rcbo. If it trips again it could be due to an overload, a short circuit or an earth leakage fault.
  2. If it is a power circuit unplug all the appliances in the affected circuit, if it is a light circuit you can turn off all the light switches paying particular attention to any outdoor lights
  3. Try to reset the rcbo after performing step 2. If it will reset you can try plugging in your appliances or turning on the lights one at a time taking note if the circuit trips as you plug in / turn on a particular appliance / light

If the rcbo won’t reset call an electrician to fault find the circuit

If your looking for an Electrician that services the Adelaide Hills, including Mt Barker, Nairne, Hahndorf and surrounding areas then contact Skyhawk Electrical today for a quote.

Ryan Kelley

Author Ryan Kelley

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