“What do I need to do when I lose power to my rental property?”
We asked Director at Response Fire and Electrical Services, Greg Allan for an answer to this question:
“This is a great question and one you may be able to safely rectify on your own before you need to contact your property manager,” Greg said.
“As electricians, we take a series of steps to ensure that we minimise the amount of time it takes to rectify a power loss issue and most of this process can be done without the need of an electrical licence.”
Greg suggests you follow these steps to easily get your power back on in your rental property.
Locate your switchboard that houses your meter, fuses, circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs).
Step 2: Push the test buttons on all of your RCDs (RCDs are the only device that has a toggle switch and a test button on the same device and there should be around 2 or 3 of them).
You may encounter one of these 3 situations. Each leads to a different action you will need to take:
- Situation 1: If no RCDs trip when you push the test button: This means you have a supply issue. You can get this problem fixed by calling your local power company. In Perth, that is Western Power. You can double check that this is the issue by seeing if any lights are on in your meter, if not, this will confirm that it is an energy supply issue.
Action: Call your local power company (such as Western Power) and inform them that you have lost all power to your house and have a supply issue.
- Situation 2: If all RCDs trip, that means that the fault is one that cannot be repaired, likely to be a broken cable somewhere in the electrical system somewhere.
Action: Contact your property manager to arrange for an electrician to attend and locate the problem.
- Situation 3: If one RCD is tripped already and will not reset. This means that there is a fault on the circuits being protected by this RCD that is tripping.
Action: You will need to walk around and UNPLUG all appliances. Physically remove them from the wall socket as turning them off will not be effective in isolating the faulty appliance. Once you have unplugged everything, return to the switchboard and see if you can reset your RCD.
If your RCD resets
Greg suggests you plug a stereo or something you can hear into the wall socket that was not working before and turn the sound on so you can hear it everywhere in your house.
“Then proceed to plug in all of your appliances until your stereo turns off,” he said. “You will find the faulty appliance because when you plug it in, the stereo will turn off. Leave that one unplugged, reset your RCD and plug everything else in.”
If your RCD does not reset
“This is likely to be a fault that cannot be repaired by you so you and could be a faulty RCD or a short circuit somewhere,” Greg said.
“Contact your property manager to arrange for an electrician to attend and repair the fault.
“I hope this helps and saves you a candle or two!”
We’ll be posting answers to reader questions every week. If you have a question you’d like to see answered here, please send it to email@example.com
This post’s renting expert was Greg Allan, Director at Response Fire and Electrical Services
M 0439 834 321