Re: rcd

i just had a free survey on my electrics and the inspector says i need a new consumer unit cause i dont have a rcd on my socket outlets. is this a requirement or is he just the salesman he appeared to be
larry

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wrote:

What was the initial purpose of the "free survey"? And who is this "inspector"?
Consumer units aren't so expensive, sales people aren't going to make their targets by selling individual consumer units, so there has to be some other value-added sale to this.
On a separate note entirely, having lived in houses which had no consumer unit with RCD protection and houses that do, I'd be inclined to want to change to RCD protection regardless. They can be life savers, and also prevent fires from starting up. You can't put a price on these things.
Andrew
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On Thu, 10 Jul 2003 08:08:59 +0100, Andrew McKay

I suspect the price quoted would make it a very profitable enterprise.

When I built this house I specifically excluded RCD protection in the Consumer Unit. It contributes little in the way of overall safety. Each socket used for outdoor jobs or in the garage is individually RCD protected.

The can also be killers if fitted to lighting circuits. They don't usually contribute much to fire prevention as the most usual causes of electrical fires (and true electrical fires are relatively rare) are simply overloaded circuits which they won't trip on.

Yes you can - everything you do in life is a risk and you make economic decisions with risk consequences every day. In the case of RCD's it isn't a simple "these are good things to be had at any price". They have advantages and disadvantages. Their benefits are quite limited and installed on the incorrect circuits they increase risk of harm significantly. If a Consumer Unit is being replaced then replacing it with a split one with only a few circuits protected by an RCD makes sense. Replacing a Consumer unit purely to achieve this would probably be a waste of money. Putting in a single RCD covering all circuits would be folly. Using an RCD on DIY tools and devices used outside is a very wise move :-).
--
Peter Parry.
http://www.wpp.ltd.uk/
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He is basically a salesman.
Was this one of those free surveys'; that leccy companies offer? What did he actually do?
No you don't *need* and RCD or a new CU (unless they are in a dangerous state of course).
RCD protection on sockets is a very good idea though - particularly on sockets used to power stuff used outdoors, butt here are various ways of providing this.
Yes you can put in a new CU and cover some of the circuits with an RCD, you can put in an RCD just to cover say your downstairs ring main, or you can just protect say a socket used for running out doors stuff.
--
Chris French, Leeds

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Fire downstairs melts eltrical insulation and causes an earth fault. Family upstairs plunged into darkness as the lighting circuit is tripped out...few extra seconds collecting the kids could make a lot of difference.
Or, RCD on consumer unit trips on the day that you leave for 3 weeks holiday - just as you shut the door. You return to a very defrosted rather unpleasant freezer...
Opposite - it trips mid winter while you are away for a bit. Lack of heating causes burst pipes and floods the place...
I'm sure other more experienced bods on here can come up with better solutions.

Just a couple of ideas. I can't really talk - my whole house is currently on one RCD at the CU and so suffers from both of the above problems.
Darren
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snipped-for-privacy@ukc.ac.uk (dmc) wrote:

One trusts you've not had a fire :-)
This is why whole-installation RCDs are no longer recommended. "Discrimination" is the name of the game and the ultimate is to have as many RCDs as you do outlets by using sockets with inbuilt RCDs. Very expensive and probably completely unneccessary. Slightly less expensive is to protect individual circuits by using combined RCD/MCBs.
A common (and much cheaper) compromise is to use a "split" board and leave the lights unprotected while RCD protecting sockets and the like. If the RCD trips, all sockets will go off, but the lights won't. People with earth rods may also have a slower-acting higher-trip-current RCD on the whole installation such that lights are also protected.
If you are worried about the fridge and freezer then the obvious thing to do is to put them on the unprotected side of a split CU, but if you run them from simple wall sockets you are probably breaking the letter of the regulation which states that all sockets "which may reasonably be expected to supply portable equipment for use outdoors" should have RCDs fitted; if the fridge socket is the closest to the back door, someone *may* use that for the lawnmower. Answers in this instance involve the use of fused connection units (i.e. hardwire the fridge in without a plug), unusually-shaped plugs, and making sure the fridge socket has RCD protection completely separate to that on other sockets.
Hwyl!
M.
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Martin Angove (it's Cornish for "Smith") - ARM/Digital SA110 RPC
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wrote:

Because used in this way they _decrease_ safety quite considerably.
The number of people killed or severely injured by electrocution in domestic accidents the UK each year is very small (figures are Home Office ones for 1999). Even if you include accidents which are not electrocution but attributable to it (such as falling off a ladder after touching a live cable) the numbers involved in domestic accidents are still small, about 25 deaths and 2000 injuries of all severities (compare this with 70 deaths and 40,000 injuries caused by DIY!). Those figures have not reduced since whole house RCD's started to be used.
The total number of people killed in accidents in the home each year is about 4,000, of this roughly half are due to falls and about 1,000 due to falls down stairs.
The number of people killed or injured in house fires is also depressingly large, many times greater than those killed by electrocution. Typically 500 people die and 18,000 are seriously injured each year by fire in the home. Of these deaths about 20 are attributable to electrical fires some of which an RCD might have prevented. The remainder are caused by non-electrical ignition.
Of the 4,000 people killed in both falls and fires each year there is no easily available breakdown of contributory factors. However some police and fire reports do give further information. Of these I have seen only a very small number from one area, however within these there were a significant minority, probably about 10-20 which mentioned that lights were out and could not be turned back on from the light switch when the emergency services arrived. Only one or two of these, usually fire service investigation reports, specifically mention RCD's having tripped. Nonetheless it is reasonable to infer even from this imperfect data that the number of people killed in falls and fires in which tripped RCD's were the cause or a major contributory factor is significantly higher than the number of people protected by them _in the home_. In the garden or garage is quite another matter.
--
Peter Parry.
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wrote:
[snipped rest of interesting info]

Sure makes you wonder if we should be looking into better ways of doing a lot of basic things like lighting etc. Wouldn't solve it on it's own I guess, but surely we can do better than this suggests?!
Take Care, Gnube
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wrote:

The problem is that risk management (there is no such thing as risk elimination) is badly understood and can only be applied when you look at the total situation. This approach does not suit organisations who like to compartmentalise things or whose expertise is in a narrow area.
"Safety" has also been made into a quasi religion, so questioning something called a "safety measure", no matter how daft it might be, is treated almost as sacrilege. A prime example of safety mania was the over-reaction to the Potters Bar rail crash which caused more casualties than it saved.
--
Peter Parry.
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wrote:

I must have missed the press reports of the over reaction and the casualties it caused.
I was a bit shocked by that one as I was brung up in PB; considering the countless times I've stood where it landed, made me hold and cold somewhat.
Take Care, Gnube
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wrote:

Precisely my point :-). Yesterday nearly twice as many people died in a single accident on the M56. I don't notice the motorway network being shut down. The extraordinary limitation on rail services and the time it took to lift them after what was a fairly straightforward event forced many users on to far more dangerous roads.
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Peter Parry.
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RCD protection of sockets which can feed equipment used outdoors and also of certain equipment installed in (for example) bathrooms is a requirement of the currently in-force IEE wiring regulations. However, if your installation was installed to a previous set of regulations and fully complied with those there is no *requirement* for you to upgrade. Also note that the regulations in question don't have the force of law in domestic dwellings, though they are "best practice".
On the other hand, as other people have suggested, RCD protection is a good idea and worth having from a life-saving point of view. Whether you take the view that it's worthwhile getting this company in and find that they also tell you you need a lot more work doing (bonding, earthing are often problems) or whether you take the view that so long as you remember to use an RCD plug whenever you mow the lawn is for you to say.
Were they a small local firm or a large national one? Or was it one of the "free surveys" a lot of "Electricity Boards" are starting to offer?
Hwyl!
Martin.
--
Martin Angove (it's Cornish for "Smith") - ARM/Digital SA110 RPC
See the Aber Valley -- http://www.tridwr.demon.co.uk/abervalley.html
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Peter Parry wrote:

But a whole-house RCD would protect people in the garage and garden, wouldn't it? Should the figures for people "saved" by their whole-house RCD when drawing current in the house, garden, garage or wherever be set against the ones "killed" by their RCD tripping? If not, why not?
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Peter Parry wrote:

I think, Peter, that the best of both worlds is a large whole house RCD, and then separate one(s) for where a fast acting safety switch is really indicated.
All my irritating tripping problems have gione since I stuffed in that 100mA RCD, and would 100mA be enough to kill me? Possibly, but its better that 1A!!!
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wrote:

Having been to a number of fires where people have died in their homes I want the lights to be on until the copper melts - not just the insulation!
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Peter Parry.
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