Fuse Board Installation & RCD Upgrades
Your fuse board usually contains three things, used to control and distribute electricity around your home. They are: The main switch; Fuses and/or circuit breakers; and Residual Current Devices.
If you still have an old style fuse board with rewireable fuses we would advise that you upgrade to a new 17th Edition RCD protected board. Rewireable fuses are 1950’s technology and do not provide any protection against electric shock or electrical fire.
A) Main Switch – this allows you to turn off the electricity supply to your home. You might have more than one mains switch, for example if your home has electric storage heaters. In this case you may have a separate fusebox.
B) Residual Current Devices (RCD) these are switches that trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, and instantly disconnect the electricity.
C) Circuit Breakers – these are automatic protection devices in the fusebox that switch off a circuit if they detect a fault. They are similar in size to fuses, but give more precise protection. When they ‘trip’, you can simply reset the switch.
An RCD, or residual current device, is a life-saving device which 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 accidently touched the exposed live wires or a faulty appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.
If you don’t have RCD protection in your home you are at greater risk of electric shock or electrical fire.
To check if you already have fixed RCD protection, go to your consumer unit and have a look to see if there is a device with a pushbutton marked ‘T’ or ‘Test’. This ‘test’ button is part of an RCD.
If you have an RCD, you should check that it is functioning properly by pushing the test button every three months. When tested, the RCD should switch off the power to the areas of the home it protects.
The RCD (or RCDs) in your consumer unit may not cover everything in your home, such as the lighting circuits, so it’s a good idea to check – while the RCD is off – which sockets and lights are no longer working, showing that they are protected by that RCD.
Switch the RCD back on to restore the supply.