What is “Fusebox” or “Distribution Box”
This is a very important device that receives Electricity from the “Electricity supplier” and distributes this supply via protective devices (MCBs) to wherever electricity is required; these MCBs should be carefully selected to do what they supposed to be doing and according to what they are expected to protect.
The testing of the incoming Electrical supply, the selection of the fusebox, the RCD and the MCBs including the quality of the wiring and the application of Earth Bonding Regulations are the responsibility of the Electrician including the Testing that has to be done before, during and after the installation and are requirements of the IEE Regulations BS7671 and the documentation and certification should be issued to the customer on completion.
Make sure whoever plans, selects, installs and wires your fusebox is a qualified Electrician and must furnish a certificate of compliance to IEE Regulations BS7671 and that is entitled, qualified to do so.
What is an MCB or Miniature Circuit Breaker:
A circuit breaker is an automatically operated electrical switch designed to protect an electrical circuit from damage caused by overload or short circuit.
Its basic function is to detect a fault condition and by interrupting continuity, to immediately discontinue the electrical flow within 0.04 of a second.
Unlike a wire fuse, which operates only once and when blown must be replaced and impossible to visually detect its status, a miniature circuit breaker can be reset (manually) to resume normal operation and its status is easily detected by the position of its knob, up is ON and down is OFF.
Circuit breakers are made in varying sizes, from small devices that protect an individual household appliance up to large switchgear designed to protect high voltage circuits feeding an entire city.
What is an RCD:
A residual-current device (RCD), or residual-current circuit breaker (RCCB), is a device that disconnects the electrical supply to a circuit whenever it detects that the electric current is not balanced between the energized conductor (Live) and the return neutral conductor.
Such an imbalance may indicate Current Leakage to somewhere else (to earth/ground, or to another circuit), or through the body of a person who is grounded and accidentally touching the energized part of the circuit when a lethal shock can result from these conditions.
RCDs should operate within 25-40 milliseconds before electric shock can drive the heart into ventricular fibrillation, the most common cause of death through electric shock.
They are usually set at leakage current of 30 milliamperes. They are often used to protect dangerous areas such as electrical supply to bathrooms, gardens e.t.c.
Residual current detection cannot provide protection for overload or short-circuit currents, except for the special case of a short circuit from live to ground (not live to neutral) by contrast, conventional circuit breakers or fuses (MCBs) only break the circuit when the total current is excessive (which may be thousands of times the leakage current an RCD responds to).
As you can surmise from the above a combination of properly selected MCBs under the watchful protection of the RCD is the best protection available.
The grouping of the selected areas is also important so far as to when and if one RCD trips does not leave the whole household without power or lights.
Please choose wisely.
WHAT TO DO IF your Fuse is Tripping?
Before calling an electrician you can do some simple fault finding yourself to determine which circuit has the problem and whether is with the wiring or with an item that is plugged in.
This is a simple case of resetting the RCD and switching on and off the circuits that the RCD protects.
This is SAFE, does not require any tools and you won’t need any other access other than to the fuse switches.
DO NOT OPEN THE FUSEBOX or use any tools to attempt any repairs.
Leave this kind of work to professional Electricians.
If you are in any doubt whatsoever, or if your fusebox is different to the one illustrated below (click picture to enlarge), call us and we’ll be happy to give you advice.
The image below shows a typical Split Load 10 Way Dual 100A DP 80A/30mA RCDs Fusebox in a modern house or in one where the main fusebox has recently been replaced:
Components from right to left:
The big red switch on the right is the Mains Double Pole (DP) Isolator 100A switch and it controls ALL the circuits /MCBs/ fuses, including the two main RCDs.
On its left is the First Main RCD 80A/30mA.
This RCD protects/controls the block of (in this case) five fuses (MCB’s) to its left.
Second Main RCD 80A/30mA.
This RCD protects/controls the other block of (in this case again) five fuses (MCB’s) to its left.
To establish which circuit/MCB has the fault, follow these instructions:
Go to the fusebox and switch everything OFF, the main Isolator switch, the two main RCD’s and all the individual MCBs.
When all are Off, start by switching ON, first the main switch (the big red one), then both, one at a time, the main RCD’s.
(It is rare for the RCD to trip right away at this point, if it does, call us – you will need a qualified Electrician for help to carry on).
Then switch ON each of the MCB fuses, one at a time starting from right to left or in their numerical order, if they have been numbered.
If the RCD does not trip then the circuit that this fuse protects is OK and by switching ON you have restored power to that circuit and it is now LIVE.
When you switch ON a fuse and the RCD trips, it means that this circuit is faulty.
Switch OFF this fuse and switch back ON the RCD that tripped.
If the RCD does not switch ON and trips again, go back to the beginning, switch off all the MCBs that it controls and continue to switch ON the MCBs, one at a time, leaving in the OFF position all the MCB’s that you know have tripped the RCD.
Once this process is completed all the fuses will be switched ON except any that have tripped the RCD and they should be in the OFF position.
Each of the MCBs protect a specific area in your house; this should be marked under the fuse or on a note next to the fusebox.
if the MCB that is on the OFF position protects, let’s say the sockets in the kitchen, go to the kitchen, switch ALL the socket OFF and remove, everything that is plugged into the sockets.
Once you have done so, go back to the fusebox and try to switch ON the MCB fuse.
If the RCD trips either immediately or after a short period of time, you have a fault somewhere in the wiring and you will then need to call us to locate where exactly the fault is.
However, if the fuse stays on, that means the wiring itself is good and the fault must be in one of the items that were plugged on the circuit.
To determine which item it is, go back to the kitchen and start plugging in the equipment you have unplugged, one at a time, switch ON the socket and the item itself; start with the kettle – it’s the most likely item to have a fault.
The one that trips the RCD is the faulty item.
Remove it, switch ON the RCD again and continue until all items are plugged IN, switched ON and working.
I hope that helps. Be safe and DO NOT forget to Test the RCDs every 3 months by pressing the TEST (Yellow) button.
ELECTRONIC DE-SCALER/ WATER CONDITIONER
We have been installing this system or a few years now and we continue to use the same machine as ALL our customers have said that are happy with the results and have noticed an improvement soon after the machine was installed.
The manufacturer claims:
It is a tried and tested electronic de-scaler guaranteed to control hard water scale and remove existing scale.
Just one unit fitted to the incoming water main will de-scale and protect the whole house for a running cost of only £3.00 a year.
HOW IT WORKS:
The principle of a physical water conditioning is not new; the first patent was taken out at the turn of the century.
The electronic unit works by sending out a computerised modulated signal which changes the physical properties of scale forming calcium molecules.
This action stops any further built up of scale by preventing the molecules from adhering to themselves or any other surface.
The solubility of the water is also increased therefore existing scale is dissolved back into the water and gradually removed.
It works on all types of of pipework up to 28 mm in diameter and once fitted requires no maintenance.
For any further information please call me and I will be glad to assist you.