Do You Need Isolators For Kitchen Appliances? Answered & Tips!

Do You Need Isolators For Kitchen Appliances? Answered & Tips! |

Generally, it is said that local isolation is important for almost all kinds of electric appliances for maintenance, safety, and repair. But people are often confused about the isolation of kitchen appliances. Many people often don’t get a proper answer regarding this question, so keep reading the article till the end if you are one of such people.

This article will answer your question about using isolators for kitchen appliances. Not just that, you will also get to know a lot more important information related to this topic. Let’s get started!

So, are isolators needed for kitchen appliances?

Kitchen appliances such as microwaves, refrigerators, ovens, and freezers need an isolator, while smaller devices such as blenders and choppers will do just fine with the normal electric socketsAlmost all appliances need isolators when repairing or replacing is required. 

Isolators are important for heavy or bigger kitchen appliances because if not isolated while repairing or replacing, they can cause great danger. A single fault within a kitchen appliance can end up causing the RCBO or MCB to trip and stop working. However, if the isolators are installed for the kitchen appliances, the electrical circuit will enable the RCBO or MCB to reset instead of tripping.

Is it necessary to install isolators in every kitchen?

It’s not necessary but when it’s about safety, the isolation of kitchen appliances also becomes extremely important. Normally a domestic kitchen doesn’t require isolation and functional switching (‘on’ and ‘off’ switches); however, things can go wrong if some accident happens in a domestic kitchen. 

For example, if an electric oven or hob catches fire, you will need to switch every appliance present in the kitchen as quickly as possible. However, it’s impossible to do so unless you have emergency switching.

To avoid such hazards, and for the safety of maintenance workers and yourself, isolation becomes important. It gives you a lifetime service and keeps everyone and everything safe from possible electric hazards.

Tips for installing the isolators at the right place

In a kitchen, you will need to install the isolator switches at the most accessible place without obstructions in between. The space where you install the isolator switches has to be dry and shouldn’t be exposed to moisture

1. Do not place the isolator switches at the back of the appliances.

Readily accessible doesn’t mean that you can place the isolator switch right behind the appliance, as it will be hard to plug the switch in without moving the entire machine. Try checking the space around the appliance where you don’t have to bend or fold the wires of your kitchen appliances to reach the isolator switch.

Remember that the sockets without a remote isolator shouldn’t be considered easily accessible sockets. If the switch is at the back of any kitchen appliance, it is dangerous because there might be a problem with it, and you wouldn’t even know until something bad happens.

Another problem that many people often face is all the pots, pans, or boxes stacked in front of an isolator switch. To avoid such an issue, do not place the isolator switches at places where you will make space for your kitchenware, spice boxes, or something else.

One more thing to remember is to never install an isolator near your kitchen sink or stove. The water and heat can be very dangerous! The thumb rule is to keep at least a 30 cm distance between the isolator socket and the sink or stove.

Now some people must be wondering whether a kitchen cabinet’s back would be considered the right place or not? Well, it depends. This is because professional electricians have a mixed opinion on this topic. I’d say that you can install the isolator switch at the back of a cabinet if there’s no other option, but the problems we mentioned above remain. You’ll have to see if any obstructions are present, or would it be safe to install it behind a cabinet as it’ll stay hidden from your eyes? If the problems don’t come in between here, go for it!


2. Install the isolators near the appliances

Installing the isolators near the appliances is usually known as “the regs.” It is important for safety purposes because if the switch is installed in the wrong place, it would be extremely dangerous, and the rules in most regions don’t even allow you to do so. Installing the isolator switch far from the appliance would be a safety hazard as anyone who is not aware of the maintenance going on might turn on the appliance! So, make sure it is away from the appliances.

Is it important to use isolators for refrigerators?

It is important to use isolators for refrigerators because they are big appliances and require a higher voltage to function. This can be dangerous when replacing or repairing something. It makes it important for every refrigerator to have isolators. 

Just like any other appliance in your house, especially electric heating showers, refrigerators and electric water dispensers stay very close to the water and have high proximity to it. Not just that, larger refrigerators require isolators more than smaller ones. This is because isolators provide ease when you need any repairs or maintenance.

When having proximity to water (which is a conductor), an electrical appliance is very dangerous and can be fatal if not handled properly.

Another thing to remember is that most such appliances consist of sockets that are often out of reach, and you cannot reach them without making direct contact with the appliance, which is dangerous. This is exactly why you need isolators for your refrigerators, freezers, and even electric water dispensers.

What’s an isolator switch?

An isolator switch is a device used to separate a circuit from the rest of the electric circuit to carry out safe maintenance and prevent the current from passing through. These are used for isolating kitchen appliances and other appliances used, such as air conditioners, power grids, electric heaters, etc.

Not only do these switches separate the circuits, but they also are not so hard to be found on the power grids or lines.

Isolator switches have a very close relationship with circuit breakers; this relation is why many people often get confused and think that circuit breakers and isolators are used for the same purposes, even though they don’t and have a lot of differences in functioning and abilities.

Different types of isolator switches

There are several types of isolator switches available on the market, and each of these isolator switches is functional a little different but, of course, performs the same purpose. Some of the most popular and commonly known types based on their application include:

  • Single Break Isolator
    Single break isolator switch, also known as single-pole isolator switch, is generally used in single-phase electrical circuits; the purpose of using them is to power down any electrical circuit during maintenance. Normally a single break isolator islocated somewhere in the live leg of any electric circuit, so ensure that you have powered the live leg of the circuit before you start the maintenance work. Remember that you cannot use single break isolators for bigger appliances, as they are specifically made for smaller appliances such as lights, microwaves, and toasters.
  • Double break isolator
    A double break isolator is also one for single-phase circuits; however, such isolators are specifically made to isolate the transmission lines and the circuit breakers when maintenance work is to be held. Such isolators work with a knife-blade or rotary methods to perform their purpose. These methods are very different from the method a fused isolator uses. The double break isolators also consist of mechanical switches, which represent the neutral and live legs of any connection. Not just that, the double break switches can also shut the whole circuit off, isolating the circuit from the main power source.
    Using a double break isolator, you can isolate or turn off wires of any hard-wired appliance with both neutral and live lines. This helps in keeping the environment safe whenever maintenance or repairing is required. Another important factor about these isolator switches is that their neutral wires are earthened, and the electrical charge can stay in them even if they are not powered down. This is another reason why a double break isolator is prioritized over a single break isolator.
  • Three-pole isolator switch
    As the name suggests, a Three-pole isolator switch is used for 3-phase circuits. These consist of three switches that are interlocked with each other along with three live legs. Just like the single and double break isolators, the three-pole isolator switch can isolate the electrical circuits for safe and easy access.
    Three-pole isolator switches are often used as fan isolator switches because three lines need to be disconnected before isolating and then repairing, replacing, or maintaining them.
  • Four-pole isolator switch
    A four-pole isolator switch is similar to a three-pole isolator switch. It also has three live legs, just like the three-pole isolator switch; however, it also consists of another extra leg which is neutral. But a four-pole isolator switch works both as a surge protector and an isolator, so the appliances it is used for are also different.
  • Battery isolator switch
    A battery isolator switch is another type of isolator switch, and as its name suggests, it’s used with batteries instead of electrical circuits. In easier words, a battery isolator switch helps divert the current from one end of the battery to the other. We are not talking about the batteries you use in toys or remote controls; we are talking about the batteries used in cars, buses, airplanes, trucks, and other massive types of machinery.
    The main purpose of this kind of isolator is to ensure that the vehicle or appliance keeps working fine even when the batteries have stopped generating any current. They are there to keep a vehicle or appliance moving in emergencies.
    In huge trucks and buses, many battery isolator switches are used for separating all the massive batteries used in such vehicles. But the fact is that this kind of isolator switch has nothing to do with a kitchen. The purpose is to stop the vehicle from draining all the batteries from the current at the same time. If a vehicle starts drawing current from all the available batteries at once, it can result in a total electric system failure.
  • Fused isolator switch

Last but not least, fused isolator switches are different from battery isolator switches but are similar to those we mentioned before. Well, not completely identical to the single, double, 3, and 4 pole isolator switches, these isolator switches do have a few differences. The main difference is that these isolator switches consist of several fuses and are considered safer when working.

The safety comes from the fuses. A fuse isolator switch can power down every single circuit present, making it safer to work on the damaged part of the circuit. Not just that, it also helps to protect a circuit by blocking the electrical current from flowing into it during maintenance.


We all have kitchens in our houses, and it is important to keep them safe from any kind of hazards. The electrical appliances present in our kitchens need special care and attention. If handled poorly, these same appliances that we use for our convenience can become a life hazard. Not just that, all appliances need maintenance too, so it is important to make maintaining and repairing easier and safer for the electricians we hire. 

With this article, I hope you would have known the importance of using isolators in a kitchen. You must have also gotten great knowledge about the commonly used different types of isolator switches. 

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