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Incorporating Safety Features into Design

Faulty appliances and outlets, overloaded power boards, space heaters and compromised cable insulation are responsible for around 1,500 house fires per year in New Zealand.

While the responsibility for ensuring the safety of Kiwi families and their property falls to the electrician, designers play a vital role in the protection of New Zealand families and their homes by specifying and installing safety devices. Choosing electrical safety solutions and components from Schneider Electric will provide easy installation, and most importantly, a complete protection package for customers.

Prevention is better than cure so beginning at the distribution board, Schneider’s range of safety products will tick all the boxes:

Best-in-class switchboard solutions

PDL by Schneider Electric’s switchboard range is designed to be customisation-ready, with various door and hinge, mounting and busbar options. All boards deliver the capacity to house necessary safety devices and satisfy the aesthetic and practical requirements for every home and business.

Protection at the board

Optimum safety can be achieved before power is even required at the plug-socket with the installation of distribution-board safety devices. 

Arc fault detection devices (AFDD) are designed to prevent dangerous electrical arcs in low-voltage applications. Perfect for homes where the wiring is older — designers can upgrade the safety of clients with one easily retrofitted product. AFDDs are a simple and cost-effective way to prevent electrical fires caused by dangerous arcs and provide alerts when a trip has occurred.

Residual Current Circuit Breakers (RCCB) is a fundamental part of any domestic electrical circuit that will switch off current immediately when a fault is detected. Designed and certified to protect from fibrillation, electrical shocks and electrocution in the event of a person coming into direct contact with a wire, RCCBs are the best defence against electrical hazards.

Dangerous power surges can damage electrical equipment and appliances and endanger people within a home. By installing surge protection at the distribution-board, surges can be detected and mitigated before they have a chance to present any risk.

The way modern homes utilise power has rendered many conventional fuses and circuit breakers ineffective. RCDs or residual current devices are now the simplest and most cost-effective way of delivering a higher level of protection from earth faults.

If a faulty appliance overheats or the lawnmower accidentally cuts through a cable exposing the wires, it’s the RCD that detects this and cuts the power immediately. The chances of electrical fires and electric shocks are significantly reduced simply by installing fixed RCDs at the distribution-board or specifying socket outlet RDCs in areas where many appliances are in use or hazards are most likely to occur such as kitchens, workshops, home offices, garages and gardens.

Smoke alarms

Top of the list for every New Zealand home should be smoke alarms. Available in a wide range of price points and capabilities, no home should be without them. These have now moved well beyond the battery-operated, test-every-six-months devices, with smart, connected units able to sound alarms throughout the home instead of just where a hazard has been detected.

New long-life domestic smoke detectors can be hard-wired, offer lithium battery backup, automatic testing, device monitoring and detect factors beyond simple smoke. Photoelectric sensing detects even smouldering heat for earlier warnings than ever, and some devices can even detect specific chemicals that are produced when various materials burn.

Hopefully, detection won’t be needed if prevention is well addressed.

Connected and monitored

In conventional installations, designing and specifying electrical safety often required a room-by-room approach. Now designers can deploy a connected safety solution with devices that integrate, communicate and complement one another.

There is no better way to ensure the safety of customers than installing a total safety solution where all devices monitor electrical use within a home, collectively detect and pinpoint faults, deliver alerts and alarms and prevent issues and risks before they arise.

This functionality is available now and delivers full control and visibility of how electricity is managed within a home. By choosing the right solution designers can get faster, easier installations and clients can plug in all manner of new toys while enjoying unmatched protection and peace of mind.

Schneider Electric's home solutions consultant can discuss safety requirements and give architects and designers advice on suitable products that meet their needs from the extensive PDL by Schneider Electric range. Appointment can be run digitally, offering support and guidance from the comfort of the home or office.

Book a free appointment here: or call 0800 568 888.

View more information on Schneider Electric, including contact details.
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