Electrical Power Distribution Best Practice Latest
There are some excellent consumer units on the market these days and there seems to be an ever increasing range of additions which can be added to the units to enhance their overall performance. The question is whether the 17th edition systems which now employ RCD's (Residual Current Devices) are better than the old systems using standard fusing arrangements and which can still be used or are there still better systems which use even more sophisticated equipment. The answer is a little ambiguous but there are a number of positives which can be read into the situation.
The standard fuse system is slowly being taken out of commission as the 17th edition regulations which came into force in 2008 require all newly installed consumer units to be built according to the regulations which were made law at this time. The problem with the fuse system is that there is still the chance that somebody could be electrocuted by an earth leakage whereas an RCD system will reduce the chance of any problem to the barest minimum. This alone makes it worthwhile to remove the fuse box units as soon as possible and replace them with an RCD system. It seems strange in a way that the phasing out of the present units has not been made compulsory at least in all public places and business premises and long term individual houses should be considered.
Do the present regulations go far enough? That is a question that appears to get a vast range of different answers. Firstly the present regulations do not cover over-current detection and closure of the power circuits when it happens, which leaves a vulnerable part of the protection process completely at risk. It is easy to cover the over-current risk by the introduction of RCBO's which are residual current devices with over-current protection. These can be installed over the whole system or just on each individual circuit. When the overall cost is considered the cost of covering each individual circuit is not great and should be considered.
One of the major considerations that needs addressing is the fact that the general public has not been fully informed on the dangers of using unprotected circuits and also just how far a user can go to protect their house, family and friends. It is time the government and all the suppliers and installers did a publicity drive to get the message across and ensure as much protection to the house occupants is installed as is necessary.