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RCD residual current device

What is an RCD?

What is an RCD and How Does it Work?

 

RCDs, or residual current devices

A residual current device (RCD) is one of the best ways to protect yourself from electrical equipment. Accidents, after all, can happen. And the dangers of electricity mean that the consequences of these accidents can be severe and even fatal. By installing RCDs into your electrical systems you can significantly reduce the risk of electric shock.

Understanding what an RCD is and how it works could make a real difference to the safety of your electrical equipment, so let’s take a closer look at RCDs.

How Do RCDs Work?

An RCD is a safety device which is able to detect faults in electrical supplies and immediately switch the circuit off. This prevents the flow of electricity and provides protection against electric shocks. For example, a sudden surge of electricity will cause the RCD to trip out and shut down the current. As mentioned earlier, this reduces the risk of electric shock, but it also prevents the risk of electrical fires developing from faulty equipment.

Types of RCD

There are more than one type of RCD and the most common ones you will encounter are:

  • Fixed : Typically found within a fuse box, a fixed RCD delivers the best protection against electric shocks. A fixed RCD is capable or protecting individual circuits and more complex setups which are comprised of multiple circuits. This type of RCD is, given its fixed position, constantly providing protection to your circuits.

 

  • Portable : As the name suggests, a portable RCD can be moved to wherever it’s required. A portable RCD is most commonly used when your options are limited for installing an RCD such as on a construction site. The portable RCD simply plugs into an available socket outlet and is then ready to have an electrical device plugged into it.

 

  • Socket Outlet RCD: Replacing a standard socket outlet, a socket outlet RCD provides a much safer option for working with electrical devices. They are commonly found in extension cables and used for outdoor appliances such as lawnmowers.

What would trip an RCD?

An RCD is considered a highly reliable device and will prevent electrical shocks in around 97% of all cases. Naturally, this is a success rate which is highly favourable to your well-being, but it is not a 100% guarantee. Therefore, you should always be careful when working with electrical applications and RCDs by following these best practices:

  • Test Your RCDs
    All RCDs will have a test button built into them so that you can test that they are working and will disconnect the circuit. You should run a test on each RCD every three months to confirm that they are in good working order. If the test button does not activate the trip then contact an electrician to investigate this further.
  •  Check Your Wiring
    It’s important that any electrical installations (and the RCDs themselves) are checked every 10 years. Wiring can deteriorate over time and circuits can easily malfunction, so it’s crucial that you cover every base rather than relying on the promise of an RCD alone.
For more information on RCDs and the options available to you, don’t hesitate to get in touch with one of our expert engineers.

Electrical Installation Services – Client Case Studies

Is Your Electrical Equipment Safe

Is My Electrical Equipment Is Safe?

How Do I Know If My Electrical Equipment Is Safe?

Is Your Electrical Equipment Safe? Electricity can be highly dangerous, so it’s important that you know what you’re dealing with when it comes to working with electronic devices.

Regardless of whether you’re changing a light bulb or rewiring a plug, the dangers of electricity have the potential to kill. Naturally, this leads to a high level of concern when working with electricity, but when it comes to electrical safety there’s a lot of misinformation floating around. So, to help keep you safe and confident, it’s time to take a look at how you can tell if your electrical equipment is safe.

Making Sure Your Electrical Equipment Is Safe

Before you start using any piece of electrical equipment, it’s important you establish that it’s safe to use and, equally important, that you know how to use it safely. The following steps are crucial to take when working with electrical equipment:

  • Risk Assessment:

    Many people consider risk assessments to be unnecessary and a waste of valuable time, but the truth is that they exist with good reason. A well thought out risk assessment ensures that you are aware of the hazards associated with the equipment, the risks that these hazards cause and, finally, the ways in which you can minimise these risks e.g. isolating the power supply when maintaining the equipment

 

  • Inspect Electrical Equipment:

    Visual checks are an essential part of staying safe with electrical equipment. Even if you’ve completed a highly thorough risk assessment, a visual check is still vital for ensuring that the equipment is safe to use. Therefore, make sure that you check the condition of plugs, extension sockets and electrical fittings for any visible signs of wear and tear. Anything which is even slightly suspect should be investigated further.

 

  • Ensure Users are Trained:

    Anyone who is using electrical equipment needs to be fully trained on how to use it safely. So, for example, if specific safety wear is required to use the equipment – such as insulated safety gloves – make sure that any users of that equipment are issued with both verbal and written instructions.

 

  • Install a Residual Current Device (RCD):

    The longer an electrical shock is allowed to continue, the more damage it can cause. Accordingly, the safest way to minimise the effect of an electric shock is to disconnect the electrical circuit as soon as possible. This safety measure is made possible by installing an RCD which can detect many electrical faults and then quickly disconnect the circuit. While an RCD won’t completely stop the chance of an electric shock it can significantly reduce the impact of a shock.

 

  • Carry Out Regular Tests:

    Maintaining your electrical equipment is important for not only ensuring that it operates correctly, but also that it’s safe to use in between tests. Regular safety tests should be drawn up before the equipment is used for the first time and these checks must be strictly stuck to in order to reduce the risk of any electrical hazards being allowed to develop.

By following these safety steps, which are relatively simple compared to the potential outcomes from ignoring them, you’re positioning yourself and those around you in a much safer environment.

Call us to book an electrical installation survey or a quotation, or simply to talk through your current project.

 

Electrical Installation Services – Client Case Studies