An RCD is a residual current device, and is designed to prevent fatal electric shocks. It is a life-saving device that provides a higher level of protection than fuses and circuit breakers. An RCD comes into play when it senses an electrical fault, and switches off the power. This means that if you are exposed to a bare wire, or something else live, the electricity will cut out before you touch it.
RCDs respond extremely quickly to changes in the circuit and can rapidly shut down the electric current. This can happen when an appliance is faulty, a wire is cut through, or if the RCD detects electricity flowing down an unintended path, such as into a human body. An RCD can significantly reduce the risk of fatal electrocution and is a must-have for anything electrical.
There are a few different types of RCD, helping to protect people in more dangerous areas like the garden or the bathroom. Depending on the requirement each situation might demand a different RCD. Here are a few types:
- Fixed RCDs: Installed in the fusebox, fixed RCDs can provide protection to individual or groups of circuits. This type of RCD offers the highest level of protection as it protects the entire circuit, encompassing all wiring, sockets and connected appliances.
- Socket-Outlet RCDs: Certain sockets are fitted with an RCD, which can be used instead of a standard socket. This RCD protects whoever is in contact with the equipment plugged into that socket.
- Portable RCDs: A portable RCD can plug into any standard socket and the appliance can be plugged directly into the RCD. These are a great alternative to fixed or socket-outlet RCDs, but again only provide protection to the person in contact with the equipment.
RCDs are about 97% reliable, which is incredibly high. With regular testing, this percentage increases, giving you even greater safety. RCDs can dramatically reduce the risk of anyone in your home suffering an electric shock and the risk of fire caused by faulty wiring or appliances.
Do be aware that while RCDS significantly reduce the risk of electric shock, this does not mean that you don’t need to take regular precautions. Having your RCDs tested enhances the safety of you and your family. At Leigh Electrical, our qualified electricians regularly perform RCD and wiring tests and inspections. For a free quote do give us a call.