You’re at home relaxing when the lights go out. Rather than panicking, here are a few steps to get your power back up and running in no time.

We asked Managing Director at Response Electricians, Greg Allan, to guide us through this situation.

“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 get your power back on in your rental property quickly.

Step 1
Locate your switchboard that houses your meter, fuses, circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs).

rcd

Step 2: Push the test buttons on all of your RCDs (RCDs are the only device with a toggle switch and a test button on the same device. There should be around 2 or 3 of them).

You may encounter one of these three 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 you cannot repair the fault; it’s likely to be a broken cable somewhere in the electrical system.
    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 isolate the faulty device. 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 listen to 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 you cannot repair so that it 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!”

Have a burning question you’d like answered? The Rent.com.au Community is our Facebook group for renters, agents and landlords.

Greg Allan
Greg Allan

Greg Allan owns and operates Response Electricians and The Electricians Success Academy in Perth, Western Australia. Greg was elected as the national director and board member of Master Electricians Australia and sits on the National Electrical Technical Committee for ME. Response Electricians has developed the most comprehensive electrical check available in Australia and has been awarded for service excellence through several of its commercial customers.

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