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What is An RCD-With Bec Sparky - The Builder's Wife

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What is An RCD-With Bec Sparky

What is An RCD-With Bec Sparky

So what is an RCD? Bec, from A Brighter View explains what an RCD is and what it does to keep us safe.

Countless lives are saved each year through having RCD’s installed in your switchboard. But what is an RCD? How do you test one? And what do you do if yours trips??


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All new homes built or any homes that have been renovated electrically will all have RCD’s on the switchboard for lighting and power circuits. An RCD is a residual Current device also known as a Safety switch. They are designed to cut power to a circuit if a leakage of current is detected between the live conductors and the earth, protecting you from electrocution. They are sensitive enough to trip at a safe level for the human body within 10-50 milliseconds.

An RCD can also protect against fire caused by faulty appliances.

There are many different brands of RCD’s but they all do the same thing. They look like a circuit breaker however you can identify them by the test button located on the face which is clearly marked with a “T”. It is important to test them at least twice a year to ensure that they are doing what they are supposed to. Make it part of your regular maintenance routine, just like your smoke alarms. Don’t be scared to test them, it truly is simple and safe. Be sure to turn off any computer equipment first. Go to your switch board, open it up and locate your RCD. Find the Test button and push it should trip to the off position. If it doesn’t, it is faulty and requires an electrician to replace it as soon as possible. Don’t forget to reset your RCD.

So what do you do if your RCD trips? Firstly have a think about what you were doing just before the power went out. It is most likely a faulty appliance has caused it. Unplug everything on that circuit (it needs to be removed from the socket, not just turned off), go out to your switch board and reset the RCD. If it resets, go back inside and plug in and turn on your appliances one at a time. The most likely causes are items that have an element such as a toaster or heater or water and an element such as an iron, kettle or fridge. Once you have identified the faulty item, it is generally at its life’s end and should be replaced.
If you are having nuisance tripping where it is not one particular appliance and you are sure you have unplugged everything, you may need to have the RCD itself replaced. This is a very simple job for a qualified Sparky.


Thanks Bec, what an extremely important piece of equipment. If you’d like to see YouTube videos, be sure to check out Bec’s channel here, alternatively her Facebook here.

A Brighter View logo

Did you know what an RCD was? Do you have another question for Bec? Feel free to leave it in the comments to be answered next month.

Nicole xxx


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  1. I didn’t know it as an RCD, now I do!

    1. So glad to have taught you something xx

  2. Yep one day our toddler climbed up on the bench and stuck a knife in the toaster!! If we hadn’t of had one of these safety switches our baby would be dead. Still shudder when I go “what if” ..okay shouldn’t have gone there again

    1. Oh my goodness, that so lucky! xx

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