What is an RCD?
Today your going to learn about safety switches and what they do... Also known as residual current devices (RCD). A safety switch is there to keep you safe from electrical shock and electrocution. It is important to know how this life-saving device works in order to ensure your home or business is as safe, Most people think the existing circuit breaker will save you from electrical shock in the event of a fault, WRONG. They're job is to protect the cable, not you.
How does safety switch work?
The safety switch works by continuously monitoring the flow of electrical current in the circuit, thus, when a fault is detected, the RCD cuts off the power. Your system may be tripped by a short circuit, a circuit overload, or a ground fault.
When electricity moves through wiring, it travels through active wiring (for sending electricity) and neutral wiring (for returning electricity). When the flow between each type of wiring is equal, the residual current device will allow the electricity to function as normal. When an imbalance is detected, the safety switch will stop the flow of electricity.
Why does the RCD trip?
How does an RCD work when an electrical fault is detected? in layman terms, it switches off the power instantly (0.04 of a second). This can happen for a variety of reasons, the most common; moisture, short circuits, overloaded circuits, and ground faults.
When electrical current travels through its respective the circuit, it will flow out on the active and back on the neutral. However, If a core is touching a surface or making it's way to ground (earth) the electrical current won't reach the entended destination, This time the RCD if built with short circuit protection (RCBO) will trip.
Nowadays your home has so many electrical portable appliances it's hard to keep up! Circuit overload occurs when too many items are plugged in for example in winter, plugging in numerous oil heaters will cause the breaker to trip when the rating is exceeded fro example 16 amps.
This usually occurs when a cable breaks down or when moisture is present, usually between neutral conductor and earth. When this happens usually when heavy rain has fallen. It will cause the RCD to trip.
Other RCD Issues
If your RCD keeps tripping, it’s usually a symptom of a larger problem. Your equipment might be damaged or faulty, or there might be old wiring in your building. If these causes have been eliminated, there is a chance that your residual current device is faulty.
Westcork Electrical offer RCD inspection, installation, and replacement services to homes across Sydney. It is essential to ensure your family and home are safe from shock and electrocution. If you suspect that your device may be faulty, ask us to visit your property ASAP. Electrical safety is of utmost importance to our team.
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Having one safety switch is not enough, especially in older homes. We recommend you have safety switches installed on all your electrical final sub-circuits throughout your house.
A safety switch test has to be completed every three months to ensure the mechanism continues to work properly. If the power goes off, then it's working properly. If it doesn't turn off the power, contact your certified electrician to check it immediately.
The cost of installing a safety switch in an average home is between $200-$300 all-inclusive.