RCDs or residual current devices are designed to protect the occupants of a building from electrocution. They are installed in both residential and commercial buildings and are required by Australian law and Safety Standards. RCDs should also be tested periodically to ensure they are operating correctly. Business and home owners may be liable for the injury or death of occupants in a building if working RCD’s are not installed. For more information on information on RCD installation in the Rockhampton area. If you are not in the Rockhampton area visit our national website which contains more information on RCD testing.
What Is An RCD?
An RCD is a device installed at the main switchboard that checks the level of electricity to the switchboard. The intent is to protect the switchboard and home from a higher or lower voltage than normal. When two or more are installed, they can protect the full switchboard and prevent any electrical arcs that could cause an electrocution. A person can be electrocuted when they’re plugging something in, using a light switch that isn’t working properly or unplugging something inside their home.
How Does it Work?
The device monitors the flow of electricity entering and exiting the switchboard to make sure there are no points where it’s higher or lower. If there is an imbalance detected, the RCD will shut off the electricity to that part of the switchboard. This prevents any arcing or other issues with the electricity so there’s a lowered chance of electrocution. If there are two or more installed on the switchboard, they can each cover a portion of the switchboard. This way, only a part of the electricity is shut off if there’s an issue, not the entire home. This allows the homeowners to still have lights and appliances while they try to determine the cause of the shutoff.
What Are the Different Types?
Standard ones are installed at the meter box and in most cases there will be two installed. There are also circuit breakers, which are intended more to prevent fires than electrocution. They cut the power when there’s too much current running through the electrical wiring, not when there’s a change of any type. A combination of the two can be used when there is little space in a meter box and combines the residual current device with the circuit breaker. Portable ones are also available to help the homeowner remain protected when they’re using appliances outside, such as power tools. Power point ones are also available for bathrooms and workshops to add another layer of protection to the home.
What are the Laws Regarding RCD Installation for Building Owners?
Every homeowner must have at least two RCDs installed in their meter to be in compliance with local regulations. However, this is just the minimum to protect them from electrocution. If they would like further protection, they might want to look into power points for rooms that have water, like the bathroom, that could interfere with the electricity if there’s an issue and into portable ones so they can be protected when they’re working outside.
If you’re worried about the possibility of electrocution in your home and you don’t already have protection devices installed, visit a FCF Fire and Electrical technician for further help. We can help you choose the right RCD for your home or business and make sure they are installed properly so you are fully compliant to safety standards.