An RCD safety switch, otherwise known as a residual current device, is an electrical wiring safety measure that detects an imbalance in an electric current and rapidly disconnects the circuit to help stop an electrocution causing severe injury or death.
For example, if a person receives an electrical shock, some electrical current is diverted from the circuit as it goes through the person’s body, and the RCD safety switch will detect this, and immediately cut off the supply.
Just like having working smoke detectors, having an RCD safety switch is a must for every home.
How quickly does an RDC safety switch disconnect the supply?
Electrical safety switches that are manufactured for homes are very sensitive, and RCD safety switches are set to disconnect within 10 to 50 milliseconds of detecting a current leakage.
Why do only some homes have RCD switches?
RCD safety switches began being regularly installed in new homes in 1992, however, homes built between 1992 and 1999 were fitted with a single device only.
By law, every house built since 2000 must have at least two RCD safety switches installed. Having two RCDs in place allows the circuit to be evenly divided, and helps to reduce the instances of tripping due to very low levels of leakage. Also, if one RCD switch is tripped, it still leaves one functioning for power and light.
Is a circuit breaker the same as a RDC safety switch?
No. Although circuit breakers and RCDs are both safety switches, they do very different things.
Circuit breakers protect your home’s wiring, and break the electrical circuit when an overload or short circuit is detected. Circuit breakers do not offer people any protection against electrocution.
How can I tell a circuit breaker from an RDC?
Although both circuit breakers and RCD safety switches are found in your metre box or power distribution board, and they do look very similar, all RCDs are made with an obvious test button.
It is recommended that homeowners test their RCD safety switches every three months to check they are working correctly.
Although having a RCD safety switch installed reduces the risk of harm or fatality from electrocution, it is important to have your home’s electrical wiring checked regularly. Whether you require a new installation, or would like some maintenance work done, contact our professionals at Electricians Today in Melbourne to discuss your electrical requirements.
To find out more about our electrical maintenance services call us on 1800 981 993.