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I live in a 1950s maisonette and I had an electrical survey done and was told there was no RCD protection, and I should replace DB or fit RCD.
Is this essential to carry out? Also how much would it cost for either option (DB or RCD)?
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You can fit one as a separate, boxed, device similar in the way they do for shower installations which would be far, far cheaper than a full consumer unit change which, in itself, would be unnecessary.
Separate RCD £100 fitted?
New Consumer Unit fitted £300-400? Lots of variables in that one.
Modern consumer units are 'split' which means if your RCD does trip out it doesn't de-power the whole building - which is what will happen with the 'separate RCD' solution I mentioned above.
If you use tools outside then use an extension cable with an RCD incorporated anyway.
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So step one is the whole installation needs testing, or you may find it leads to a full re-wire. About 10 to 15 years ago we had a wet room fitted, and we had an offer to fit a new consumer unit rather cheap, however it turned out the RCD simply would not hold in, at that time there was no regulations saying you had to use a RCD so it was simply removed and an isolator used instead, house now been fully rewired.
However today if an electrician removes the old fuse box and replaces with a consumer unit, he has to register the work, and would not be permitted to not fit RCD's once he has started. So he needs to be sure the wiring is good enough before he starts. It may also be prudent to use RCBO's rather than simply two RCD's so if there is a fault it is restricted to just one circuit. Here I have a mixture two RCD's and four RBCO's the kitchen has RBCO's which are a combination of RCD and MCB. This reduces the chance of the freezer circuit tripping.
Although you don't need to fit to existing circuits, the RCD is required for any new circuit, so it would be hard to fit extra sockets without changing the consumer unit, you can use Ali-tube cable and RCD sockets, but that becomes costly.
The electrical installation condition report (EICR) does need to highlight no RCD protection, however for owner occupier you don't need to do anything about it. Not so sure about rented property, and in Scotland they have far more strict rules for rented property.
Accidents do happen of course, in one court case it seems neither a RCD or earth was connected, and a faulty item brought into the house by a tenant resulted in a death, as with most cases of death, it was not one single item which was to blame, but a collection of faults, and the land lady had a hefty fine as a result. However deaths are rare, but clearly if rented out you want to cover yourself from any claim, so with rented what ever the law says, you really do want RCD protection.
Back in late 90's I fitted RCD protection to my house, (not this one) as I had a son who was doing the course to become a radio ham, he had licence at 14 years old, and it seemed he was likely to make a mistake, so all circuits were protected. This was before they were built into consumer units, in that time I have lost one freezer full of food when it tripped when not at home. Not bad for 20 plus years, but it is always a possibility, my father-in-law with no children in house never bothered fitting them.