Earth Continuity Test

What is an Earth Continuity Test?

An Earth Continuity Test measures the resistance of the protective earthing in appliances, extension leads, switchboards and powerboards. Not only is it an essential part of the mandatory electrical safety checks required in every residential property as per the Residential Act 1997 (VIC), but it also plays a crucial role in the safety of the property’s occupants. In this article, Plumbelec Inspections explains the importance of this test as well as its procedure, so as to ensure that you can make an informed decision when it comes to scheduling your next electrical safety check.


Importance Behind Conducting an Earth Continuity Test

Every home is plugged to an increasing number of electronic devices each day. Naturally, these devices are subject to damages, abrasion and even misuse, which can often cause sudden surges in voltage. The raised current needs to be discharged and in the worst case scenario, it is released externally, either towards a metallic object or a human body if physically connected to the circuit. 

The purpose of earthing is to minimize the effect of transient current and significantly reduce domestic safety hazards. An Earth Continuity Test examines the resistance in the connection of an appliance, extension lead, powerboard or switchboard to an Earth terminal. It is also known as an Earth Resistance Test, and it determines whether the current is safely released into the Earth point or if there is any risk of an external escape. It is also used to identify defects with isolation, abrasion, wiring, or any kind of damage within the circuit. 

Landlords are required to ensure that the electrical system in their Melbourne rental property check is compliant and safe as per current ASNZS3000 regulations. Failure to meet these standards puts the landlord at legal risk but even more so, it puts occupants in danger of injury or even death caused by electrical accidents such as shock, burns or fire. 

The reliability of the service provider at the time of conducting the test translates to the reliability of the protective earth in the property. Having a trusted company like Plumbelec Inspections carry out the electrical safety check will guarantee that all accessible powerpoints, plugs, switches, cords and appliances are in optimal conditions. Furthermore, we offer tangible peace of mind through photographic evidence and reports that will protect you legally and, more importantly, physically in the event of an incident. 

How is the test performed?

When a licensed electrician visits your property to perform an electrical safety check, they will carry a measuring instrument capable of releasing a test voltage with minimum current into the power points or appliances throughout the property in order to measure their resistance. The readings in this short circuit temporarily created with the test current must comply with the safety standards as well as the appliance’s load capacity. 

Depending on the test current applied, these are the two most common types of earth continuity tests: 

  • Screen test (low test current): this is the most basic method done with any portable appliance tester, including simple multimeters, which apply a test current between 100 and 200 milliAmperes. This method identifies loose connections, poor switch contacts or corrosion.
  • Bond test (high test current): this method applies a test current that is significantly higher than the rated current of the appliance – that is, in a range between 10 and 25 Amperes. It is used to detect faults in high powered equipment such as washing machines and heaters.


What can you expect after the test is performed?

The results of the Earth continuity tests will validate the compliance of switches, fuses, electrical connections, leads and conductors. These include polarity compliance as well. You can expect the assurance that all safety devices in each individual appliance, switchboard and powerpoint are operating accordingly to ensure you are protected in the event of an electrical fault. 

At Plumbelec Inspections we will issue you a report after we attend the property, which will be recorded to keep a track record of the condition of your electrical system. Photographic evidence will also be provided. If there are any items that are found not to be compliant, we will let you know and provide you with a quote to rectify any safety concerns. We can replace any items that we find faulty or damaged with your pre-authorisation to save you any additional call out fees.

Let us Keep you Safe

Our commitment to delivering thorough and reliable tests has enabled us to become the trusted provider with some of Victoria’s top real estate agencies. Your safety is our priority at Plumbelec Inspections and we want to make sure your tenants feel safe where they live.  Our team has a wealth of experience performing electrical safety checks in thousands of Victorian homes. Contact our friendly team today to book in your electrical safety check. 

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