Why Every Home Needs RCDs - protection against electrical shock

Kiwis are a nation that loves DIY. We like spending our weekends renovating, gardening, planting, and developing. This DIY spirit can sometimes lead to difficulties. Some jobs shouldn’t be considered DIY. Our home electrics should be left to the professionals.   You may ask “Why is it hazardous to replace a fuse wire with a copper wire?” It is still wire!

What is an RCD?

An RCD, or residual current device, is an electrical life-saving gadget that is developed to avoid you from getting a deadly electrical shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also offer some protection against electrical fires. RCDs provide a level of individual protection that common fuses and circuit-breakers just can not provide. RCDs can be retro fitted to most old switchboards, but better yet get a switchboard upgrade.

What does an RCD do?

An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electrical energy automatically if there is a fault. An RCD is created to protect against the threats of electrocution and fire triggered by earth faults. For example, if you cut through the cable television when mowing the lawn and mistakenly touched the exposed live wires or a defective device gets too hot causing electrical current to stream to earth.

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How does it work?

An RCD continuously monitors the electrical current flowing through one or more circuits it is used to protect.

If it discovers electrical power flowing down an unintended path, such as through a person who has touched a live part, the RCD will change the circuit off very quickly, substantially reducing the risk of death or serious injury. The two common milli-amp ratings on RCDs are 30mA and 10mA.  30mA– Used in basic domestic and business instances. This level of protection must trip the RCD before defibrillation of the heart can happen. 10mA– Used in Medical areas and locations with young children present such as schools and daycares. This level of protection needs to trip before muscle contraction can occur.

What are the main types of RCD?

RCDs can help safeguard you from electrical shock in possibly dangerous locations like bathrooms and gardens, and there are numerous kinds of RCDs that can be used to make sure you are always as safe as possible.

Fixed RCDs These are set up in the switchboard and can provide protection to individual or groups of circuits.

A Fixed RCD supplies the greatest level of security as it protects all the circuitry and the sockets on a circuit, and any linked home appliances.

Socket-Outlet RCDs These are unique socket-outlets with an RCD constructed into them which can be used in place of a standard socket outlet. This kind of RCD offers security only to the individual in contact with devices, including its lead, plugged into the unique socket-outlet. You can normally find these in the restrooms of older homes where they do not have an RCD at the switchboard.

Portable RCDs These plug into any basic socket outlet. A home appliance can then be plugged into the RCD.

They are useful when neither fixed, nor socket-outlet RCDs are offered however, as with socket-outlet RCDs, they offer security only to the individual in contact with the equipment, including its lead, plugged into the portable RCD.

How much will RCD protection cost?

A plug-in RCD can cost just $25, Portable RCDs around $50 and fixed RCDs will cost more, however will offer a greater degree of protection to help keep your household safe as they cover an entire circuit covering several outlets.

Setup costs will vary. We can quickly give you a quote once we have discussed what you require.

How do I check whether I already have fixed RCD protection?

To check if you have actually fixed RCD protection, go to your switchboard and take a look to see if there is a gadget with a push button marked ‘T’ or ‘Test’.

This ‘test’ button becomes part of an RCD. Do not forget to check– You need to evaluate all fixed and socket RCDs about every three months.  It is recommended that portable RCDs be evaluated each time you use them.

If you hold the test button in for a long period of time and the RCD does not turn off the electrical energy supply, then get advice from a registered electrician. As with everything electrical If you have any concerns or issues about an RCD or want to check your residential or commercial property, call Lake Road Electrical.

If you have an electrical maintenance concern, a remodeling project, or just wish to learn more about how we can help you, don’t hesitate to call.

Contact a Master Electrician
Lake Road Electrical team of Master Electricians can assist you with any electrical concerns. Contact an electrician 24/7. Phone 029 128-7494

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