I have had a good quality consumer unit fitted within the last 18
months. Before then I used to have an old fashioned one, first fitted
when the house was built in 1989. The new one was fitted by a qualified
electrical engineer who I have known and trusted for years.
With the old one using the iron would now and again blow the entire
The iron was replaced roughly at the same time as the consumer unit.
With the new one, which is fitted with MCBs and an RCD, when using the
new iron, the RCD will trip intermittently. Sometimes I can be ironing
for half an hour or so before it goes and sometimes it will trip almost
as soon as I switch it on.
Before I call my electrician back, does anyone know if there is a simple
possible reason for this? It's such a pain having to reset all the
clocks/timers etc. Still I suppose it's better than dying painfully!!!
The simple reason is that your iron is faulty. It has sufficient
leakage between live and the earth to trip the RCD, which is exactly
what the RCD is designed to do.
Steam irons do tend to be over filled, which might be be the cause of
your problem, otherwise take it back where you bought it.
Yes, water leaking inside the iron, or perhaps careless filling
or overfilling, such that water gets into the live parts.
Irons are also prone to flex failure where the flex enters the
iron, and I suppose some failure modes here might trip an RCD.
Ideally, you want to get the iron PAT tested, and perhaps
disassembled and inspected internally. Probably much cheaper
to just buy a new one.
One other thing, try a similar or higher load device in the
same socket outlet such as a kettle. There is a very remote
chance that a neutral/earth wiring fault in the installation
might trip the RCD only on high current draw (usually such a
fault will trip an RCD with just about any load).
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