Spring into action by testing RCDs

  • Residual current devices (RCDs) should be tested at the start of each season
  • Life-saving switches protect against electrocution, serious injury and fire
  • Simple test only takes a few minutes and could save a life

With a new season underway, the State’s energy safety regulator is urging home owners to do a simple check of their residual current devices (RCDs) – the life-saving switches that protect against electrocution.

RCDs instantly stop the electricity supply when they detect an imbalance in the outgoing and incoming current, which can be caused by dangerous electrical faults and shocks. The rapid response is designed to protect against electrocution, serious electrical injuries and electrical fires.

Building and Energy recommends that RCDs should be tested every three months.

“The start of a new season is always a good time to check your RCDs – it only takes a few minutes but it could save a life,” Western Australia’s Director of Energy Safety, Saj Abdoolakhan, said.

“RCDs are vital devices for preventing serious electrical injuries and deaths. While circuit breakers and fuses protect against overloading and short circuits, they will not protect against electrocution. No RCD means no second chance.

“Over time, the electro-mechanical components may not function correctly. RCDs have a built-in test button that simulates an electrical fault to confirm that the components are responding properly. Do the test, it is for your peace of mind.”

A handy video and other tips are available at the Building and Energy website (commerce.wa.gov.au/building-and-energy/testing-rcds or dmirs.wa.gov.au), showing the simple steps involved in the test:

  • Switch off electrical items in the property
  • Open the switchboard and press the 'test' button for each RCD 
  • The RCD switch should automatically trip (activate)
  • Switch on an electrical item in the property to confirm there is no electricity supply
  • To reset, return the RCD switch to ‘on’ to resume normal operation

A licensed electrical contractor should be contacted immediately if issues are detected, such as if electrical equipment still works when the RCD has tripped.

“Two RCDs must be fitted at all properties constructed after 2000 as well as any homes that are being sold or rented,” Mr Abdoolakhan said.

“We strongly recommend that all homes have more than one RCD installed. This ensures some light and power socket outlets remain operational even when one device trips. A single RCD is also more prone to nuisance tripping.”


Media contact: BEmedia@dmirs.wa.gov.au

2018-09-26_rcd_testing.jpg, by ahynd


Building and Energy
Media release
06 Sep 2022

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