To keep things safe, we have fitted what’s called an earth bond clamp to various bits of equipment in your home. They have a green and yellow cable connect to them, and act to “earth” the equipment, giving electricity a fast route to ground and minimising the risk of electrocution.
For your safety, please do not to interfere with these.
The electricity cable comes into your home through your electricity meter, found in your hallway cupboard, and from there goes to a fuse box, or consumer unit, like the one in the picture. The meter and cable are the property of the electricity company – for your safety, please leave them alone.
If you break any of the seals within your meter cupboard will could be prosecuted and have your electricity supply cut off.
Your fuse board, or consumer unit
The electrical consumer unit is usually in the hallway cupboard. The trip switches are all marked showing what they operate.
Only qualified electricians can work on consumer units. There is a very real risk of getting injured if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Your consumer control unit contains:
- Main Switch
- 2 x Residual Current Devices (RCD)
- Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB’s)
When this is in the ‘Off’ position, all of the circuits are then isolated from the electrical supply (known as dead).
Residual Current Devices (RCD’s)
It’s common to set up a consumer unit so that if there’s fault on one part of your electrics you can still have light and power in part of your home.
Regulations mean your consumer unit has two RCDs. They are linked to various circuits within your house – usually those to the left of the RCD. Because there are two, if there’s a fault on one part of the system, the other part should still be working.
When the RCD’s are in the ‘Off’ position all circuits are then isolated from the electrical supply (dead).
Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCB’s)
MCBs tend to be linked to individual appliances. They are very sensitive and will switch off is there’s a fault with the appliance they are linked to. You might know this as “tripping a switch” or say the power has “tripped off”.
If this happens, first disconnect/switch off all your appliances at the plug. Then switch back on the MCB which is off. Turn on your appliances one at a time until the MCB switches off again. That’s the one with the potential fault – so get professional advice on getting it fixed.
When these are in the ‘Off’ position only the individual circuits connected to the current breakers are then isolated (dead) from the electrical supply.
Using your consumer unit
To make circuits ‘live’ To make circuits ‘dead’
- a) Switch on main switch a) Switch off main switch
- b) Switch on RCD b) Switch off RCD
- c) Switch on circuit breakers c) Switch off circuit breaker
If a power circuit(s) fails it could be because:
- The circuit is overloaded – it has too many electrical things on it which will cause the circuit to trip off
- There’s a faulty appliance connected to it which will cause the RCD to trip off and may cause the associated circuit breaker to trip off
To get the circuit working again;
- check all your appliances
- unplug the faulty appliance and
- switch the RCD and circuit breaker back on.
The lighting can fail if a bulb blows:
- Check whether the circuit breaker is in the off position – you might need a torch or the light on your phone if it’s dark
- Switch circuit breaker on
- Identify the faulty bulb
- Switch off the circuit breaker
- Replace the bulb
- Switch the circuit breaker on
Remember – changing light bulbs is your responsibility as the tenant.
General plugs and amps advice
There are electric sockets in all rooms, except the bathroom and toilet areas. All electrical appliances you intend to use must be fitted with a three-pin square 13-amp plug with cartridge fuse of the correct rating. If you’re buying new appliances for your new home, don’t worry, they’ll have the right plugs and fuses. If your appliances are more “vintage”, check the list below for standard fuse ratings.
The following are the most common fuse ratings for most appliances
- Electric Kettle 13 amp fuse
- Washing Machine with Heater 13 amp fuse
- Electric Iron 5 amp fuse
- Vacuum Cleaner 3 amp fuse
- Television Set 5 amp fuse
- Radio 3 amp fuse
- Bedside Light 3 amp fuse
Please check the fuse ratings for any of your appliances with your supplier