When we visit our clients homes, we always advise on general electrical safety. It is part of our service and commitment to make homes in and around Hertfordshire electrically safer.
One recommendation we always give to our clients is to have an RCD fitted in their home if they do not already have one in place.
What is RCD Protection?
RCD stands for Residual Current Device and is fitted as standard to all new consumer unit (fuse box) installations. It is a sensitive switching device that quickly turns off electricity when danger arises to reduce the risk of death or serious injury.
The electricity is turned off in a fraction of a second and is far quicker and reliable than breakers and fuses. An RCD activates if you accidentally touch a live cable which could one day save your life. Electricity is not something we think about on a daily basis, particularly if we believe that everything is OK. It is easy to become complacent and that is where the job of the RCD comes in to play. We can all make a simple error, but don’t let it cost you your life.
Why is an RCD so important?
RCD protection is a ground breaking development and has been responsible for saving many lives and preventing serious injuries. However, there is still more to be done as there are many homes in the UK which are still without any form of RCD protection. Clearly more needs to be done to inform householders on the dangers of electricity!
Our recommendation from us here at Fulcher Edwards is to have an EICR carried out in your home by an electrical contractor in your area. Following the electrician carrying out a thorough investigation on the condition of your home electrical installation, you will receive a report and recommendations which will keep your home in optimum electrical safety. If you currently have no RCD protection, this will form one of the recommendations in the report.
Remember that RCD protection must be installed by a domestic electrician who will ensure that the new consumer unit is fitted safely and correctly and the RCD is working as it should be.
The RCD in the above photo is from a house in St Albans which we carried out works on. This RCD in particular protects all of the small power circuits in the kitchen and office area plus the electric underfloor heating, which is required by the 17th edition of regulation to have additional protection provided by RCD.
The information notice is also a requirement to make the occupiers aware that RCDs should be tested quarterly and also provides instruction on how to test the device.
Other things you can do to stay safe
If you are looking at lower cost ways to keep safe, you may like to consider plug in RCD protection. Plug in RCD protection costs as little as £10 on the High Street and the advantage of plug in RCDs are that you can plug in any type of electrical appliance anywhere in your home due to its portable nature. Commonly they are used in the garden to power appliances such as lawn mowers and hedge trimmers. This is because there is a higher chance of an accident occurring – you could accidentally cut through the cable.
It is worth bearing in mind that plug in RCD protectors only protect the appliance and the person using it.
Electricians will also carry out electrical work for you if you find the cost too high for a new consumer unit. This can include the fitting of RCD sockets in your home. By having a more permanent method of RCD protection installed, you will have peace of mind against the two biggest causes of electrical shock:
Using appliances that are faulty
Cutting or drilling through cables
Lastly, simply carrying out your own visual check of your electrics and appliances can be a life saver. Don’t use any appliances, lights or switches that are faulty or have visible damage such as bare cable showing, cracks, breaks or other damage. Taking a few minutes on a regular basis can really be the difference between life and death.