My house was built and wired in the 1980s and has an old-style fuse box.
The old fuses have all been repeplaced with cirquit-breakers plugged into
the fuse sockets. A couple of people, such as estate agents and
electricians have raised eyebrows on seeing the box, telling me it should
be changed for a modern RCD unit. Is this true? I've never had any problems
with the existing setup, and I rarely get any inexplicable tripping of the
circuit breakers. As far as I am aware, the old fuse boxes (even when fuses
contained fuse wire) did what they were designed to do, with no problems.
My fuse box has circuit-breakers for:
Upstairs ring main
Downstairs ring main
Upstairs light circuit
Downstairs lighting circuit
Electric shower circuit
External security lights circuit
Obviously, I'd like to avoid the expense of updating it if I'm not under
any legal obligation to change anything. Is there really a significant
increase in electrical safety with the modern RCD units?
What about if I rent the house to tenants? Will it then need to comply with
the latest electrical regulation specs?
THanks for some help.
On Sunday, 21 June 2015 23:20:25 UTC+1, Jim x321x wrote:
then no, in most cases
There are 20 something deaths from shock a year, mostly due to people doing idiotic things. RCDs reduce the risk. This is a long way down the list of Risky Things in Life, so is the oposite of a priority.
So what what would you prioritize?
Smoke alarms would be my number 1 - even if they are just battery powered
Number 2 would be to have an escape plan if there was a fire and the smokes
And number 3 for safety in the home IMHO is RCD protection at the CU (at
least for the socket circuits).
On Monday, 22 June 2015 20:40:40 UTC+1, ARW wrote:
Look at the top 10 killers.
The top 2 are heart disease & cancer. They kill half the population. Expert concensus is half these deaths are readily avoidable by healthier eating, not smoking & some exercise. These are the number 1 priorities.
The rest of the list is different here versus US. Traffic accidents, septicaemia & medical errors featuer highly here, all of which are fairly straightforward to reduce.
Accidents: diy causes no lack of those, so getting informed re power tool risks etc.
Diabetes risk can be reduced by avoiding high sugar diet.
There were 1000 deaths a year in house fires before they became the norm, now its about 200.
20 odd deaths a year there.
I think we suffer warning fatigue. 'Yes I know I've heard it 1000 times but don't know how to' sort of thing. Its good to look at diy specific risks but I think its good to slot them into the big picture.
On Tuesday, 23 June 2015 22:58:13 UTC+1, ARW wrote:
So what. A DIY safety improvement is only worth doing if its not way down t
he list of what one can usefully do. RCDs have their upside, but at 20 some
thing deaths versus over 100,000 a year they're just not the priority. Eat
healthily, learn advanced driving, treat infections promptly & vigilantly,
take proper precautions with power tools and so on. If all those plus dozen
s of others are done, then an RCD becomes worthwhile.
Funny how so many think electricity & gas a big risk, when really the most
dangerous things we do are food shopping & smoking.
So what. A DIY safety improvement is only worth doing if its not way down
the list of what one can usefully do. RCDs have their upside, but at 20
something deaths versus over 100,000 a year they're just not the priority.
Eat healthily, learn advanced driving, treat infections promptly &
vigilantly, take proper precautions with power tools and so on. If all those
plus dozens of others are done, then an RCD becomes worthwhile.
Funny how so many think electricity & gas a big risk, when really the most
dangerous things we do are food shopping & smoking.
What is not so funny is how many people do not realise how dangerous
It takes 20 to 30 years of smoking or shoveling chips down a big fat gob to
cause the damage. If they cannot see what is coming then it is their
problem - the NHS spend a fortune on preventative medicine and yet people
still live unhealthy lifestyles.
Electricity is unseen and kills in less than a second and may not be the
fault of the person that is killed. The IET have decided that RCD protection
is the future. It's not expensive and it saves lives - so much so that there
are thousands of people who did not receive the smallest of shocks when the
RCD operated saving them from becoming a minor statistic.
I wish they were in common use around 35 years ago when I got "stuck"
across live to a less than correct earth on a metal handled drill;(...
Remember it to this day still, the pain and not being able to do anything
about it and that terror that this was going be my last day alive!:(
Not only that, as had been pointed out at various times, one insures
against losses that one can't otherwise replace. I would include wife
and children in that category, so a one off premium of a couple of
hundred for smoke alarms and RCDs sounds like a very worthwhile investment.
On 23/06/2015 22:52, firstname.lastname@example.org wrote:
Smoke alarms and RCDs are different - however the risks associated with
not having either are comparable (although injury from fires per years
are far fewer than from electric shock). I seem to recall someone round
here was very fond of plastering domestic fire safety stats into every
wiki article given the chance. Why the double standards?
On Friday, 26 June 2015 16:23:39 UTC+1, John Rumm wrote:
200 something deaths a year in fires now, 20 something from shock
why the claim of double standards? how would stating the known facts possib
ly be that? Its not even worth answering.
I already have. I've shown how I assessed whether RCDs were worth fitting.
You simply did not address the necessary points in order to reach a reason
based case on the question of whether its a good things to install your RCD
I've offered a clear risk & cost asessment, plus placed it in the list of a
vailable risk reductions, thereby determining if its a priority or whether
there are far bigger priorities. Yours has so far been an assessment of the
risk followed by an illogical conclusion.
Unfortunately the approach you've shown is common today. It results in peop
le spending on tiny risks and consequently neglecting the big ones. No-one
has the resources to address all risks, so the sensible approach is to prio
ritise the ones we can reduce the most. That is evidently not RCDs, unless
you've effectively tackled a fairly long list of others already.
On Fri, 26 Jun 2015 11:54:47 -0700, tabbypurr wrote:
In a nut shell, humanity's short sightedness when it comes to deciding
how we should spend effort and resources on tackling 'problems'. The
Green Party's obsession with wind turbine, solar voltaic and tidal
sources of energy is a classic case in point.
They regard these sources of Mother Nature's 'energy bounty' as being
'Low Tech' eco-friendly ways to solve the world population's energy
demands when they're anything but 'eco-friendly'.
They choose to ignore that other 'energy bounty' on offer from 'Mother
Nature', Nuclear Fission, on the basis that it requires ingenious high
tech methods of extraction involving, at the point of energy extraction,
highly dangerous radio active materials that have to be properly handled
and processed to reduce the risk to the environment at large by two or
three orders of magnitude compared to a conventional coal fired power
station of equivalent energy output.
Their thinking has been coloured by their experience of the earlier
nuclear powered station technologies driven by the needs of the cold war
demands to build up stocks of weapons' grade plutonium using power
stations sited in remote locations, seemingly to reduce the impact of a
Chernobyl like event on the population at large.
The plain fact is, it is now possible to upgrade existing coal fired
power stations to nuclear power, based on a Liquid Fueled Thorium Reactor
(LFTR) design that was first experimented with half a century ago as a
potential method of powering a USAF 'Always Aloft' Bomber Fleet.
Only the American Military had a big enough priority and the budget to
bankroll such 'Blue Sky' research projects. ICBMs sidelined the concept
of an always aloft bomber fleet so the technology, so promising a
solution as it was for civil nuclear power station design, was simply
left to languish.
If the 'Green Party' membership were to truly compare the *actual* cost/
benefit ratios of *all* the 'Green Options' Mother Nature Provides, LFTR
would win hands down on energy generation, environmental impact *and*
pollution costs. They wouldn't be able to tear down all those pointless
Wind Turbines fast enough!
Sadly, as you pointed out, it's humanity's propensity to short sighted
obsession with seemingly 'nice warm cozy 'cheap' 'feel good factor'
solutions that leads to wasted time and resources on sub-optimal
solutions. A shortsightedness that's invariably taken advantage of by the
"PT Barnum" "Get Rich Quick" type of individual or major corporate
At the heart of all this, of course, is a nation's educational system
which, in the UK and America at least, is seriously lacking in teaching
the fundamental skills required to question gift horse offers and other
dubious claims such as that rather outrageous idea that the damaging
effects of nuclear radiation levels follow a totally contrary curve of
damage versus level which apply to all other forms of radiation exposure
such as UV light from solar radiation and the effects of microwave
radiation which have lead us into believing that almost impossibly
expensive anti-radiation precautions are required in Nuclear Power
Station design, making the Nuclear Power option infeasibly expensive.
Actually, the most expensive part of a Cold War type of Nuclear Power
Station is its Containment Vessel. A modern LFTR based design totally
does away with the need of such containment measures (along with an
expensive re-fueling process industry) whilst offering a 200 fold
improvement in energy yield from the nuclear fuel itself. As always,
"Ignorance"(tm) strikes again at the heart of the matter.
BTW, many a conspiracy theory nut would lay claim that the Oil and
Petrochemical industry are doing their best to scupper the idea of a
"Nuclear Powered World"(tm) when in fact it would be in their best
interests to branch out (diversify) into Nuclear Power Station design and
proliferation so they can corner the market in *synthesised*
petrochemicals and save the costs in dangerous exploration and drilling
for a dwindling natural resource.
They did what they were supposed to - and will still do so. The main
thing your current setup lacks is RCD protection.
RCDs represent a significant improvement in safety. Especially if you
ever use electrical tools / appliances outside. The lack of RCD
protection would also make adding or extending your existing
installation in a compliant way more difficult, should you need to do so.
(some will argue that the chances of being killed by an electric shock
in the home in the UK is vanishingly small, and indeed they are correct.
However that misses the significant number of non fatal injuries per
year (>200K hospital admissions), the vast majority of which would have
been prevented by a working RCD).
As long as its basically sound, then not necessarily. Many landlords
would take the view that replacing rewireable fuses is worth doing since
it removes the ability for tenants to abuse them, and possibly prevents
some call outs to the landlord / maintainer because they can't work out
how to replace a blown fuse.
Well, I've never come across any rented property that has the very latest
fuse box/rcd. But that may just be coincidence. I do not go around checking
everyones houses I visit for rcds, only that a blind person can safely reach
the reset buttons!
In any case if you are using an outside applience, you use a plug in rcd
and then its as safe as anything can be.
From the Sofa of Brian Gaff Reply address is active
"John Rumm" < email@example.com> wrote in message
I bet Brian could do that with no problem.
I bet you and I could do it blindfolded it we tried, I never have!
I've re spooled plenty of 35mm cassettes using a changing bag, and
loaded various film sizes into the spiral if a developing tank in
I'm not suggesting for a moment that a sighted person in the dark
equates to a blind person. That would indeed be arrogant.
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