There’s nothing more annoying than sitting there in the evening, watching the telly and suddenly. No power! Nothing! You struggle to get things out of the cupboard in the dark to find the fuse box. Flick the switches, and eventually, the power comes back on. Sound familiar? This could mean an RCD keeps tripping randomly.
Depending on how unlucky or lucky you may be, this could be a one-off or a regular occurrence. If it happens when you are not at home, this could even lead to the contents of your fridge or freezer becoming spoilt.
The culprit? Usually, the RCD keeps tripping randomly. RCDs tripping is very common due to their sensitive nature.
The most common cause of is something connected to the electrical system. Think appliances, immersion heater or boiler and so forth. Did you plug anything new in recently? Is there anything outside, like outdoor lights or sockets. Try to simply unplug one thing at a time and see if the problem persists. If your RCD doesn’t keep tripping, then you have found your problem. If it does persist and you have ruled everything out via the process of elimination. You could have a faulty or overly sensitive RCD. A very common cause of RCD keeps tripping randomly is computers. Especially old ones. They tend to have earth leakage current. Which is perfectly normal for their operation. Under different circumstances, earth leakage current could mean a serious fault.
Okay so at this point you’ve ruled out any faulty appliances or equipment that may be causing your RCD to keep randomly. Therefore the issue is going to be your electrical wiring or your RCD. This is when it’s time to call a qualified electrician such as ourselves. They will have the appropriate test equipment to check the RCD which can show whether it’s overly sensitive or faulty. Also, they can perform tests on your electrical wiring.
An RCD (Residual-current device) is a piece of safety equipment. Therefore if it is tripping, this must always be taken seriously. Whether It is nuisance tripping or whether a serious fault is causing this must be determined and not ignored.
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The BS7671 electrical regulations were changed in 2015, requiring that any consumer unit installed must be made of non-combustible material. Which meant that thousands of plastic consumer units sitting on shelves of retailers and wholesalers were now obsolete. Therefore a lot of angry people wondering if the change necessary?
There is mixed thought on metal consumer units as they have their pros and cons, which we'll look at in a minute. Over the years the requirement of materials of consumer units has been changed from metal to plastic and back to metal. The main reason for changes in the specifications is due to incidents occurring that prompted the committee to review current regulations.
Photo courtesy of Envriograf showing how consumer units made of plastic can quickly catch on fire.
Loose connection caused burning in this consumer unit, which could have quickly cause a fire.
So we can see some very obvious pros that outweigh the cons of metal consumer units. Here at EDB Electrical Services we can't help but agree with the choice of the committee. Especially seeing a photo like below you can look at the hazards of plastic consumer units. In the most recent update of the BS7671, non-combustible materials are still a requirement.
An interesting note is that plastic consumer units are still for sale. Often at much lower prices than the metal alternative on auction websites and private ads. We believe that if you are getting your consumer unit changed to take in mind a few things. First and foremost make sure you are using a fully qualified and insured electrician.
Secondly, if the price is much lower than the rest of your quotes, there is always the possibility that they may be planning to install a non-compliant consumer unit. Whilst this is hazardous and potentially costly if you come to sell your house and it comes up on a survey. Here at EDB Electrical Services we only install compliant, top quality products to ensure years of life for the user and the equipment.
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The 18th edition wiring regulations changes are set to come into effect on the 1st of July 2018. The previous IET wiring regulations (17th edition 3rd amendment) will cease to be the latest standard. The changes will affect contractors and consumers alike. The IET wiring regulations are non-statutory, meaning they are not an absolute law. Although if not followed, you can find yourself foul of the EAW (Electricity at work regulations).
What new changes will come with the 18th edition wiring regulations? How will they affect you? The big question that everyone is asking. There were some significant changes last time with metal consumer units reintroduced. Read on to find out the latest changes that will be coming in on the 1st July 2018. Keep in mind that although this is the newest information available. The 18th edition wiring regulations changes are still at the draft stage being reviewed by the subcommittee.
With the world marching further forward, innovations in the electric vehicle sector are pushing the demand for charging stations are skyrocketing. What used to be a rare sight is now much more commonplace, electricians are now struggling to keep up with this demand. Furthermore, with increased use, the safety element has been re-evaluated and particularly regulation 722.411.4.1 that specifies the use of PME.
The exception for a dwelling if none of (i), (ii), or(iii) is reasonably practicable now deleted. Meaning that PME cannot be used unless you meet (i), or (ii), or (iii) of 722.411.4.1. As a reminder of those regulations:
that this device will also require an earth electrode.
So effectively this means that installing an electric vehicle charging station will likely require an earth electrode to be fixed.
The regulations also bring about more requirements in regards to solid foreign body protection IP4X and impact protection AG2.
Regulation 722.531.2.101 redrafts RCD protection. You must now have Type A and Type B RCDs being able to handle DC fault current. Furthermore, where BS1363-2 socket-outlets are used for EV charging, it has to be labelled clearly 'EV' on the rear side of the enclosure. Unless there is no possibility of confusion, a suitable label shall be put on the front face or next to the socket-outlet, or it's enclosure stating: 'suitable for electric vehicle charging'.
Additionally, socket-outlets need to be fit for purpose. You are verifying it is adequate for the load and any external influences that may hinder its performance during the lifetime of the unit. Such as impact damage or water.
Section 753 of the 18th edition wiring regulations changes now include electric floor heating. They also apply to electrical heating systems for de-icing or frost prevention or similar applications and cover both indoor and outdoor systems, which could be floors, walls, and ceilings. Outdoor or indoor. Compacted areas such as roadways or football field, for example,e are covered under section 753.
There are more requirements covering heating elements in soil or concrete. Wall heating systems are now required to have metal mechanical protection such as sheathing or metallic grid. There are further requirements about being laid near ignitable material. A 10mm air gap is considered to be sufficient.
Existing regulations in regards to marinas will apply to inland navigation vessels. Most, if not all, of the measures used to reduce the risks in marinas, apply equally. The main differences being the size of the supply needed. Three phases (400v) is now required. Furthermore, where PME exists, no neutral should be connected to the metal work of any caravan or boat.
To prevent circulating galvanic currents between vessels and metallic parts of the shore side. Also, protection of IP44 will now apply to equipment that's installed. There are also now further requirements on using suitable cables which will not deteriorate under mechanical and environmental stresses, for distribution circuits in berths and ports and floating land stages.
Furthermore, underground distribution cables must be put at a depth that will avoid damage from such things as vehicle movement. Overhead wires are not allowed to be installed above waterways. If overhead wires are used, they must be insulated. Any support for them must also be adequate protection. The conductors must also be at the height of at least 6m in areas where there could be vehicle moment and 3.5m without.
Isolation, switching and control (automatic disconnection of supply) RCD protection
Section 730 gives additional requirements concerning RCD protection. Particularly the use of RCDs protecting each circuit up to 63a. Isolation and over-current protection are also included.
(a) Socket-outlets shall comply with BS EN 60309-1 and BS EN 60309-4 and socket-outlets w
ith a current rating up to and including 125 A shall comply with EN 60309-2.
(b) Where interchangeability is not required, socket-outlets shall comply with BS EN 60309-1 and BS EN 60309-4 and need not comply with BS EN 60309-2.
(c) Sockets need to be as close to the berth are reasonably practical.
(d)There should not be more than four sockets in one enclosure.
(e) Each socket-outlet should only supply one electric circuit of a vessel.
(f) Socket-outlets shall be placed at the height of not less than 1 m above the highest water level.
(g) In the case of floating pontoons or walkways only, this height may be reduced to 0.3 m above the highest water level provided that appropriate additional measures are taken to protect against the effects of splashing.
(h) Socket-outlets shall be placed in an enclosure following BS EN 15869-2. Conclusion This article only gives an overview of draft proposals, which may or may not be included in the 18th edition (BS 7671:2018), depending on the decision of the national committee, JPEL/64. The DPC (draft for public comment) is now available to the public (on the BSI website) for comment.
So that's the overall changes which will come into effect with the 18th edition wiring regulations changes, although it's important to keep in the mind that the changes listed are still in draft stage. We will found out on July 1st 2018 the final requirements of the 18th edition wiring regulations.
See here for courses to make sure you are up to date.
EDB Electrical Services are your local electricians based In West Sussex.
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The photograph shown is of a Wylex 3036 re-wireable consumer unit.
The old consumer unit was replaced with a Hager 6×6 split load
60898 consumer unit as shown. The whole installation was then protected by RCDs and 60898 MCB’s
The installation was originally given an EICR which it failed.Now with the new fuseboard the electrical installation passed with flying colours.
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What is the cost of having a new fuse board installed? There are numerous motivations to overhaul your fuse board, possibly your current unit is old and outdated with fuses you have to rewire after they trip and is giving you steady cerebral pains. Perhaps you have a more present day sort of fuse board yet you have no RCD (Residual Current Device) – more on that later. BS7671 IET Wiring Regulations state ‘ where a fuse board is being installed, extra assurance by methods for RCD’s ought to be given to the degree required by the present directions of BS7671, for example, for:
· Socket outlets
· Mobile hardware for utilization outside
· Cables that are buried inside walls or partitions
· Circuits of areas containing a wet area i.e shower or bath
Circuits that are to be furnished with RCD assurance must be separated between an adequate number of RCD’s or generally composed as to maintain a strategic distance from perils and limit bother in case of a trip.
An RCD is a device that can detect imbalances between the live and neutral conductors. I.E If the current is going somewhere it shouldn’t be. They can be very sensitive and can trip much faster than traditonal circuit breakers. They are essential in hazardous places. You may not know you have an electrical fault till you install an RCD as traditional circuit breakers cannot detect leakage current.
Consistently in the UK around 70 individuals kick the bucket and 350,000 are harmed because of electrical mischances at home. A Government report additionally demonstrated that, every year, around 4,000 flames caused by power in homes may have been counteracted if RCD insurance had been fitted in the fuse board. In spite of this, the greater part of UK homes – that is 13 million – don’t yet have any, or a sufficient level of, such extra insurance.
RCDs have been compulsory on all recently introduced circuits in England since 2008 (17th edition wiring directions).
The person carrying out the installation must verify that:
· The main earthing terminal of the installation is connected to an adequate means of earthing via a suitably sized earthing conductor
· The main protective bonding conductor is adequate
· If any the above conditions are not met then the customer must be informed immediately that upgrading is required. If the customer refuses then the installer should not proceed with the installation of the consumer unit
Upgrading a consumer unit in a household commenced in England or Wales is notifiable work with Building Regulations. Unless the work is done by an installer who can self affirm his/her own work from one of the different confirmation bodies ie NICEIC, NAPIT, ELECSA then nearby building specialist control must be told before work starts.
Before doing the work the installer ought to urge the client to have
an electrical condition inspection report carried out to check whether there are any dangers that exist which will cause the RCD to trip. The minimum that should be inspected:
· Making enquiries with the client if there are any current issues
· A visual review of the current wiring framework to check the sort and state of the wiring
· A visual investigation of every outside piece of the wiring
· An test to find the value of Ze (The resistance back to the local substation)
·Check on all CPCs (Circuit protective conductors)
On the off chance that any faults or flaws which would cause stumbling of a RCD are discovered then we will inform the client of required remedial work before work is undertaken.
This would add additional cost, but if there are existing faults it would be very wise to correct these.
After the new fuseboard is installed, the entire installation is inspected and tested and you will be issued with an electrical installation certificate.
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