A Residual Current Device (RCD) is a safety device which will automatically switch off electricity when it detects a fault. An RCD will shut down the electrical power supply of the affected circuit to prevent you from experiencing an electric shock if you touch something live.

RCD’s offer a level of protection that fuses, and circuit breakers cannot provide because they don’t react fast enough.

How effective are these RCD’s?

Electrical current in a domestic property flows freely through an appliance before going back to the supply. If the appliance has a fault, there’s a risk the current will go through that person and earth causing a cardiac arrest, serious injury and in the worst-case scenario death.

An RCD can detect electricity leakages and imbalances almost immediately, disconnecting the current in as little as 30 milliseconds. These RCD’s are fitted onto the main switch board or fuse box to provide protection to individual or group circuits.

Just like smoke alarms you should test them every three months by pressing the test button next to them. Research has shown them to be 97% effective.

Making safety a priority

Since 2000, all new homes in Western Australia require the installation of two RCD’s. There are two to ensure that some light or power remains if only one is operational and two RCD’s also reduce the possibility of tripping.

When a residential property is leased or sold, the owner must ensure two RCD’s are installed protecting power points and lighting circuits. Anyone who fails to comply faces hefty penalties. Property owners can face fines of up to $15,000 if RCD’s are not fitted in accordance with the regulations.

This means if you are considering selling your home and you don’t have them; you’ll need to enlist the services of a licensed electrical contractor to fit them to the main switch board. This must be done ahead of the transfer of the land title.

As of 2011, landlords have a duty to ensure all rental properties have two installed.

If your house is older than 2000 you should check that RCD’s are fitted.

How do RCD’s help?

An RCD is so effective that it will detect a problem before you even know it exists. If you’re mowing a lawn with an electric lawnmower and you cut through the lead, the RCD would activate and prevent a disaster.

If you left your washing machine on and it developed a fault while you were out of the house, the RCD would prevent a fire from starting and your property from being razed to the ground.

RCD protection reduces the risk of death and injury, but it doesn’t reduce the need to be vigilant. If you think your RCD’s may be faulty or you have an outdated switch board, then the team at PWA Electrical Services can help. We are a Perth based company and offer free no obligation quotes. All our electricians are fully insured, certified and licensed, so pick up that phone and give us a call today to protect you and your family’s safety.