Since 2000, it has been compulsory for all new homes to have two RCDs fitted to protect the power and lighting circuits as part of the initial electrical installation.
A RCD is a safety device that monitors electrical current flowing within a circuit from the meter box or distribution board. If the RCD detects an imbalance in the electrical current, the RCD immediately cuts the electricity supply to prevent electrocution.
Only RCDs will prevent electrocution by cutting the power to a circuit in the event of an earth leakage.
Household circuits need to be divided evenly between two RCDs to ensure some light and power remains if one operates. Two RCDs also reduce the possibility of tripping due to some appliances which have low levels of earth leakage.
Why do I need a Circuit Breaker?
Circuit breakers and fuses are designed to protect electrical cables and fittings installed in the home from overloading and short circuits. They cut the power when electrical wiring in the home has too much current flowing through it. They are designed to prevent electrical fires, not electrocution.
Some meter boxes have surge protectors fitted to safeguard appliances against a spike in electrical voltage, such as a lightning strike. Some power boards or extension leads also have surge protectors fitted. These devices do not offer any protection against electrocution.
Why do I need a hard wired smoke alarm?
From 1 October 2009 mains powered smoke alarms must be fitted in all existing residential buildings. Under Building Regulations Amendment 2009 an electrical contractor must install mains powered smoke alarms before a property is sold.
A mains powered photo electric smoke alarm is best, fixed with a rechargeable battery that does not need to be changed for the life of the smoke alarm. This type of alarm can detect smoke faster and more types of smoke compared to older models. This means you will be alerted to a fire earlier giving you more time to escape safely. All smoke alarms should be installed in compliance with Australian Standards 3786 and must be changed every 10 years.