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safety disconnect switches

What is the Difference Between a Light Duty Disconnect Switch and a Heavy Duty Disconnect Switch?

Electric power systems are crucial in powering residences, commercial buildings, and industrial structures. These places need electricity so that the electrical components that are being used will be able to operate. Any system that deals with electricity may always have the risk of incurring fire hazards or damages to property. This is why standards are imposed by governing bodies to ensure that safety procedures are put in place.

One of the required safety measures that must always be considered is the installation of safety disconnect switches within the electric power system. These disconnect switches are divided into two types called light-duty disconnect switch and heavy-duty disconnect switch. This article will show you the differences between these two types of safety disconnect switches.

Important Things To Know About Safety Disconnect Switches

Having safety measures in place is one of the ways that the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) finds necessary to reduce the instances of fire hazards within the province of Ontario. Licensed electricians are familiar with these measures since they have been taught with these during their days studying and training before they were able to acquire their electrician licenses for Ontario. Safety disconnect switches are specific electrical components installed within the electric power systems of any building structure. It cannot be stressed enough that these are necessary for the electrical setup to be approved by the governing bodies in Ontario. To give you a better idea about these safety disconnect switches, you may refer to the following list:

  •       There is a possibility that you may have already been introduced to them before, but they were called by their alternative names. Some people may refer to these as isolator switches, load break switches or safety switches. These switches are usually installed inside the electrical switchboard.
  •       These are used to interrupt the flow of electrical current. This is important because by isolating the electrical circuits, it makes it possible to do emergency shutdowns. It may also be possible to stop using a specific source of power and change to alternative sources that have been included in the electric power system setup.
  •       Some people tend to confuse themselves between safety disconnect switches and circuit breakers. They have similar designs, but the main difference between them is that safety disconnect switch is a residual-current device (RCD). It is able to protect people from getting electric shocks, which is not a feature in a circuit breaker.
  •       A safety disconnect switch is composed of three parts. These parts include its enclosure, an actuator, and wired electrical contacts. The enclosure is basically used to protect the electrical contacts from getting exposed to foreign hazards, such as water or dust, which may cause negative reactions to the electrical contacts inside the safety disconnect switch. In addition, the enclosure protects people from accidentally touching the live circuits. The actuator is divided into various parts. One of the most important of its parts is the handle or knob. This is used to disengage or engage the electrical contacts inside the safety disconnect switch.
  •       There are two designs made for these switches. Non-fusible safety disconnect switches are basically used to switch the flow of electricity on and off. They cannot determine if there are short circuits or overcurrent happening within the system. However, a fusible safety disconnect switch can be used manually and automatically. A fusible safety disconnect switch can work automatically without the need for a person to move the handle or knob to stop the electric current from flowing through. It constantly checks the electric current passing through the live wires inside it. Once it is able to identify any sort of imbalance in the electric current, it will automatically cut off power in less than a second after determining the electrical imbalance.
  •       These safety disconnect switches are used in the production line of industrial businesses to automatically turn off any equipment that may be having problems. Also, these switches may be applied in different areas in factories so that only areas that are having problems will have their electrical current shut off.

heavy-duty safety disconnect switches

Difference Between Light-Duty And Heavy-Duty Safety Disconnect Switches

Safety disconnect switches are divided into two types. Depending on the usage, it may be cost-effective to use one over the other. These two types include heavy-duty safety disconnect switches and light-duty safety disconnect switches. Light-duty safety disconnect switches are also known as general-duty safety disconnect switches. Below are the differences between these two types:

  •       They differ with their maximum voltage ratings. A light-duty safety disconnect switch has a voltage rating that can reach up to 240 Vac Max. Heavy-duty safety disconnect switches have ratings that reach up to 600Vac and 600Vdc. This would entail that for those who will be employing equipment and machinery that will need higher voltage of electricity, they will need to install heavy-duty safety disconnect switches.
  •       When it comes to the maximum amperage ratings, light-duty safety disconnect switches are not advisable to be used in commercial and industrial settings. This is because the maximum amperage ratings these switches have are limited to 800amps. They are used preferably for residential buildings. Heavy-duty safety disconnect switches, on the other hand, have amperage ratings that reach up to 1200amps.
  •       With regards to their enclosures, heavy-duty safety disconnect switches have more choices that can be used for areas that are exposed to different types of foreign substances. These switches have NEMA ratings that can effectively guard the internal connections from rain, ice, dust, and other contaminants that may cause corrosion to the electrical connections inside the safety disconnect switches. Heavy-duty safety disconnect switches are available with enclosures with NEMA rating types 1, 3R, 4, 4x, 5, 7, 9, 12, and 12K. Light-duty safety disconnect switches are only available in NEMA rating types 1 and 3R.

Only Use Safety Disconnect Switches That Would Fit Your Requirements

Seeing that safety disconnect switches are very important in preventing property damage and fire hazards, you should be careful in choosing which would fit the circumstances of your property. You may need to consider consulting first with licensed electrical contractors in Ontario before purchasing a specific type of safety disconnect switch so that you may avoid wasting resources. You may contact CSG Electric at 416 893 9205 for your electrical needs.

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safety disconnect switches
What is the Difference Between a Light Duty Disconnect Switch and a Heavy Duty Disconnect Switch?