It is strange that when attention is brought to a new safety concern, and appropriate measures put into operation, that the impetus is sometimes lost as the focus moves to the latest new idea. The 17th edition rules and regulations basically bring one major item to the fore, and that is the essential use of a RCD or residual current device to be fitted into the consumer unit. The obvious aim of this was to stop the myriad of electrocution accidents which have happened in the home.
Many accidents in the home could be prevented by careful education and operations but that is usually easier said than done and prevention is a far better option. It’s much more difficult to teach people to use something correctly, than it is to simply ensure it’s safe to use in the first place. In this case, the removal of the problem was always the best answer. The RCD gives a very high sensitivity of the system, which means that the current is shut off almost instantly when an earth leakage occurs. This means that any electrical current passing through a person is cut off almost immediately. The RCD causes the resultant current to be stopped a long time before it can shut down the heart if it happens to pass through a human being.
The odd thing seems to be that the law has been made so that any new installation or replacement of a consumer unit must be carried out using a consumer unit built to 17th edition rules and regulations. This is great, but there are millions of homes which will still not be changed for many years under this system. Surely with such a major development there should be a major drive towards replacing all non RCD units with new ones. The cost of a budget consumer unit is only ?45 and the fitting cost should be low, as the whole job could be carried out in 2 hours and a good electrician will take less time.
Therefore for around ?120 to ?150, you can have a new consumer unit installed which will give great peace of mind, particularly in a household where there are children with inquisitive minds. It is always an emotive thing when the government uses its heavy hand to dictate that people should change units. In their minds, the public may well assume that their consumer unit is working perfectly and apparently safely. However you typically only discover that things are not safe until after the event. Perhaps a major education drive should be undertaken as a first stage to prevent injury and encourage replacement of older consumer units.
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http://www.lamppostelectrical.co.uk/products/Consumer+Units”>consumer unit, to wiring and accessories from
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