Why add an RCD?

What is an RCD? 

An RCD, or residual current device, is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you come into contact with a live wire or current. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide. The majority of our leads have an option to add in an RCD, to provide this invaluable level of protection.

How does it work? 

An RCD is designed to protect against the risks of electrocution, for example if you cut through a cable and accidentally touched the exposed live wires.

An RCD constantly monitors the electric current flowing through the live and neutral wire. If a fault occurs and the live and neutral current become unbalanced (e.g. someone has come into contact with a live wire), the current will flow to earth and the RCD will detect this fault and cut the power immediately.

What is a Circuit Breaker?

Circuit breakers, often referred to as MCBs, are found in consumer units. They are specifically designed to trip and cut off the power if too much current flows through a circuit, for example if there is a short circuit. Unlike RCDs they do not protect against the risk of electrocution, as the current required to trip them would not be generated in such a situation. Circuit breakers protect property, RCDs protect people.

Choosing the right RCD

RCD Plug - Instead of a normal 13A plug, the lead has a larger RCD plug, which looks similar to the RCD adaptors you can buy. Whilst being the most cost effective option, it does have a number of limitations:

  • As the unit is not weatherproof, the plug cannot be used outside.
  • The size of the plug means that it will not fit into outside sockets.
  • Due to it's size, the plug cannot be used in a socket which has an obstruction above it e.g. a shelf.

In-line RCD - The unit is weatherproof with an IP66 rating. As the unit has a standard 13A plug, it does not have any of the limitations of the RCD plug.