August 2016

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August 2016 Newsletter

Are you protected from electric shock?

The importance of RCD protection

If you have an older style fusebox or consumer unit installed within your property without protection from a Residual Current Device you could be living with the potential for an electric shock should a fault occur. These older style fuseboxes and the fuses fitted only protect the circuit and cable itself, they dont offer any protection from electric shock for the user.

What is an RCD?

An RCD, or residual current device, is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also provide some protection against electrical fires. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.

What does an RCD do?

An RCD is a sensitive safety device that switches off electricity automatically if there is a fault.

An RCD is designed to protect against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth faults.  For example, if you cut through the cable when mowing the lawn and accidentally touched the exposed live wires or a faulty appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.

How does it work?

An RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing through one or more circuits it is used to protect. If it detects electricity flowing down an unintended path, such as through a person who has touched a live part, the RCD will switch the circuit off very quickly, significantly reducing the risk of death or serious injury.

What are the main types of RCD?

Fixed RCDs

These are installed in the consumer unit (fusebox) and can provide protection to individual or groups of circuits. A fixed RCD provides the highest level of protection as it protects all the wiring and the sockets on a circuit, and any connected appliances.

Socket-Outlet RCDs

These are special socket-outlets with an RCD built into them which can be used in place of a standard socket-outlet. This type of RCD provides protection only to the person in contact with equipment, including its lead, plugged into the special socket-outlet.

Portable RCDs

These plug into any standard socket-outlet. An appliance can then be plugged into the RCD. They are useful when neither fixed nor socket-outlet RCDs are available but, as with socket-outlet RCDs, they provide protection only to the person in contact with the equipment, including its lead, plugged into the portable RCD.

Are RCDs reliable?

It's reported that fixed RCDs are about 97% reliable. This improves if they are tested regularly. If you have fixed RCD protection, it will reduce the risk of electric shock to you and your family. It can also protect your home against the risk of fire caused by faulty wiring or appliances.

Remember – Although RCD protection reduces the risk of death or injury from electric shock it does not reduce the need to be careful. Have your wiring checked at least once every 10 years to ensure the safety of you, your family and your home. If you find a fault with your wiring, or an appliance, stop using it immediately and contact ElectriciansOnCall.

Don’t forget to test – You should test all fixed and socket RCDs about every three months. Manufacturers recommend that portable RCDs are tested every time you use them.

Beware – If you hold the test button in for a long time and the RCD does not switch off the electricity supply, then get in touch with us and we can advise you.

The UK standard for safety – Since July 2008 virtually all circuits in new or rewired homes have been required to include an RCD under the latest edition of BS 7671.

If you're not sure if you have an RCD installed within your property call your local office and we will arrange for one of our engineers to visit free of charge and check you have this life saving device installed, while were with you we will also test and inform you as to the adequacy of your earthing system as well as carrying out a visual inspection of your existing fusebox/consumer unit. All completely free. Don't delay, call today.


Finally, our competition winner from last month and the winner of the LED light fitting was Stephen McKenzie of Sandwich, congratulations Stephen, your prize should be with you shortly in the post, and don't forget, if you need your prize professionally installed give us a call. This months competion is going to be slightly harder as from the comments were receiving a lot of you are finding these questions too easy, so here goes. Amp or Ampere is the unit used for measuring electrical current, it was named after the man that discovered it, our question this month is how old was he when he died? Using the email address below just send us your answer, don't forget to include your name and contact details so we can send you your prize, this months prize is in keeping with our feature on residual current devices and is a portable plug in RCD, this essential piece of equipment will make sure you're safe whatever electrical device you're using. Good luck.

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