Residual Current Devices (RCDs) / Safety Switches

cables-computer-connectionLaws introduced in 2009 require all home sellers (before sale) and landlords to install at least two RCDs, protecting all power points and lighting circuits.

RCDs save lives

RCDs monitor the flow of electricity from the main switchboard and prevent electrocution by cutting the electricity supply if an imbalance in the current is detected. By installing at least two RCDs, the property’s circuits can be pided evenly. This ensures some light and power remain if one RCD operates and also minimises faulty operation from appliances which have low-level leakage current. All properties constructed from the year 2000 should already have two RCDs fitted.

Homes for sale

At least two RCDs must be fitted to protect all power points and lighting circuits before the land title is transferred. If you are planning to sell your home and it does not already have at least two RCDs protecting all power points and lighting circuits, you will need to engage a licensed electrical contractor to fit two RCDs to the main switchboard or distribution board.

Renting a home

Landlords must arrange for at least two RCDs to be installed on the switchboard at their rental premises. If RCDs are not fitted then tenants should contact the managing agent or landlord and request that two RCDs be installed.

Number of RCDs

The regulations require two RCDs be installed on the main switchboard. In some cases, to reduce the number of circuits affected by the operation of any one RCD, homeowners may consider having more than two RCDs fitted.

Testing the RCD

All RCDs have a test button which should be pressed every three months. Pushing the test button simulates an earth leakage fault and indicates whether or not the RCD is operating correctly. Electric clocks and timers will require resetting after each test.


Penalties of up to $15,000 for individuals and up to $100,000 for a body corporate may apply if the regulations are breached.

This information can be found on the Department of Mines, Industry Regulation and Safety Website