There is no doubt that electricity is among the most important inventions by mankind. Today, almost every appliance in our home is powered by electricity. What’s more, electricity is used in nearly every sector of the economy, ranging from education, agriculture, manufacturing, industry and health among others. Simply put, electricity is the heartbeat of our economy. In fact, it’s hard to imagine a world without it.

Despite its unrivalled importance, electricity remains a potentially dangerous resource, especially if handled inappropriately. It is of utmost importance for every homeowner to enhance electrical safety in his home. Some of the effective safety measures include having qualified and experienced electricians inspect your house frequently, knowing how to operate the major electrical components in your home and installing residual current device switches. Though all these measures are important, the safety measure of installing these switches is even more essential.

What are RCD safety switches?

RCD is an acronym for Residual Current Device, which is a life-saving electrical device which is designed to prevent individuals against the potential dangers of an electric shock and electrocution. RCD electrical switches are equally capable of preventing electrical fires.

Simply put, they offer a prompt power cut-off in life-threatening situations involving electrical faults such as when you touch a live wire. A lot of lingering electrical faults and hazards are always hidden, and it can be a daunting task for a regular homeowner to identify.

Electrical faults often occur in an instant and residual current devices are the only effective devices which can offer protection against any potential injury.

How do RCD switches work?

RCD safety switches work by constantly monitoring the amount of electrical current flowing in both the neutral and active wires that supply circuit to a piece of individual equipment. Under normal conditions, the amount of current flowing in the two electrical wires is always the same. However, in the event of an electrical fault, an imbalance occurs and is immediately detected by your residual current device. It responds by automatically cutting off the power before a major dangerous event happens.

It is worth to note that RCD safety switches are extremely sensitive, and swiftly disrupts the normal flow of current in less than twenty milliseconds after detecting a fault. This response is fast enough to stop the flow of electricity through the body of the person in danger. In fact, it is believed that such a timely response is much faster than the critical function of the cardiac cycle and helps to significantly reduce your risk of either a serious injury or even death. To put it simply, RCDs offer a considerable amount of protection against fire caused by faulty electrical appliances, wiring and other electrical tools.

What are the types of RCD safety switches?

There are four types of RCD safety switches including:

1) Portable RCDs

You’ll always find them attached to extension leads and power boards, and only serve the purpose of protecting the circuits of various devices connected to them.

2) PowerPoint RCDs

These are installed to a powerpoint and are distinguishable by a test button found on the faceplate. They are effective at protecting appliances in specific locations such as the bathroom.

3) Fixed RCDs

They are found in the fuse box and offer protection either individual and group circuits. They offer arguably the highest level of protection because it protects all the outlets, the connected appliances and the wiring on a particular circuit.

4) Meter box mounted RCDs

These are generally found alongside circuit breakers.

How reliable and efficient are RCDs?

Research has found that RCDs are about ninety per cent reliable. However, this success rate is only achievable if your RCD devices are tested routinely. When in good condition, RCDs will significantly reduce your risk of electric shock. What’s more, they also protect your home against potential fire risks which can occur as a result of faulty appliances or poor wiring.

How do you know if your home has RCD protection?

This is always a straightforward procedure, and any homeowner should be able to check whether he has fixed RCD protection or not. Go to your consumer unit and find out if you have an electrical component that features a push button engraved T or Test. If you didn’t know, the TEST button is a component of an RCD.

As you may have seen, RCD devices are essential safety units that every homeowner should have installed in his home. Generally, they serve the purpose of protecting you and your family against the potential risk of electric shock, electrocution and earth faults.

If you don’t have an RCD switch installed or simply unsure, then you should contact Gordon’s Powersimmediately. They are the electrical professionals to know what components should be installed in your home to protect you and your family. Our emergency electrical contractors and level 2 service providers are always on the ready to fix your home!

Simply call us on (02) 9199 7409 for a free quote!