Earth Fault Protectio Requirements in UK


My daughter lives in a flat in Edinburgh. Recently she has had some issues with fuses blowing. On investigation (by phone and photogarphs) I've been amazed and alarmed to find that the consumer unit is simply an 80A MEM fusebox with no earth fault protection devices. A 9.5Kw shower is connected to a 30A fuse (which explains the blowing fuses anyway!) When did UK or Scottish regulations require Earth Fault Protection? Is there no onus on electricians in Scotland to ensure loads are connected to suitably rated fuses.
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Perhaps the fuse is protecting the installed wiring. Did the "handy" landlord install the shower?
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M Stewart
Milton Keynes, UK
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There are no Scottish regulations in this context, the relevant ones are those to the UK: - BS7671.
There is no requirement in the current regulations to fit RCD (earth fault protection) to showers in any case, although there are manufacturers who stipulate this. The future edition of the regulations: - 17th due in 2008, will probably require this however.
The original earthleakage protection was voltage operated; and superseded by the imbalanced current operated earth leakage protection, (the RCD) around 1981, as I can ascertain, so earth leakage protection per se, was introduced sometime before. Older installations with fuseboards still conform to the regulations: and there is no requirement to update for RCD protection, unless there are alterations to the socket outlet circuits, where it may be expected that portable appliances can be connected to these: - Quote from the regs: - 471-16-01 A socket-outlet rated at 32 A or less which may reasonably be expected to supply portable equipment for use outdoors shall be provided with supplementary protection to reduce the risk associated with direct contact by means of a residual current device having the characteristics specified in Regulation 412-06-02(ii).
The discrepancy between the shower rating and the fuse size, is apparently due to incompetence on the installer, what is the cable size?
I would recommend an inspection and report, by a competent electrician, at least of the shower installation.
Jaymack
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Always, in the form of EEBADS (Earthed Equipotential Bonding with Automatic Disconnect of Supply). The fuses do the automatic disconnection of supply when you short circuit the live to earth.
If you were thinking of RCD protection against electrocution, that's only required in a few specific cases. This doesn't include a shower, although you can optionally fit one if you wish.

Yes. Possibly it was a 7kW shower originally, although that's no excuse. Combine that with your daughter possibly taking rather long showers, and that gives the fuse a nice long time to warm up. Note the cable may only be good for 30A too, so you can't simply bump up the fuse without checking that too.
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Andrew Gabriel

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