The Importance of RCD Protection
Updated: Apr 25, 2021
Ever had a tradesman come to your property, ask to look at your fuse board and mentioned an RCD?
What's an RCD? Why do I need one? Do I actually need one?
Well the answer to that is... It's hard to explain, to protect you and yes!
So Lets Explain
A Residual Current Device (RCD) is a life saving device. It detects an imbalance within the circuit(s) it's protecting. Should a fault or an electric shock occur, it operates, disconnecting the electricity supply within milliseconds.
Ever heard only half an Amp can kill you?
Well an RCD providing 'Additional Protection' Trips below 0.03 of an Amp.
So why 30mA?
50 Volts is what we call 'Safe Touch Voltage'. Meaning anything below 50 Volts won't hurt you. So if we apply some quick math...
V (Voltage) = I (Current) x R (Resistance)
Rearrange that to I = V / R
50 / 1667 = 0.029
All circuits in a domestic/residential environment should now be RCD protected, especially Sockets and accessories in 'Special Locations' such as a Bathroom.
BS7671:2018 18th Edition States:
411.3.3 - In AC systems, additional protection by means of RCD with a rated residual operating current not exceeding 30 mA shall be provided for:
1.) socket-outlets with a rated current not exceeding 32A, and
2.) mobile equipment with a rated current not exceeding 32A for use outdoors.
411.3.4 - Within domestic (household) premises, additional protection by an RCD with a rated residual operating current not exceeding 30 mA shall be provided for AC final circuits supplying luminaries.
This basically means, that almost every circuit in a domestic property must now be RCD protected.
Different Ranges Of RCDs
RCDs come in many forms. These include (but not limited to) 2 Pole RCDS, RCBOs, Plug in RCDS, RCD Sockets, RCD Spurs and many more. There is also difference types - Type AC is the most common, although Type A RCDs are now best practice. Type S (time delayed) and Type B RCDs are also very important. To choose the right one can be complicated, so it's always best to contact a qualified Electrician.
How Do I Check If I Have One?
To check if you have fixed RCD protection, go to your consumer unit (Fuse Board), if there is a device with a push button marked ‘T’ or ‘Test’ then you have one. If an RCD is fitted, there should also be a label on or near the consumer unit stating so.
Anyway, without boring you too much...
Do you need an RCD?
The answer... YES!
If you require a Professional Electrician or are considering upgrading your consumer unit, please contact us.
If you are interested in an Electrical Installation Condition Report to assess the safety of your property, were here to help. You can view our article on EICRs here.