What makes a good electrical installation?
An electrical installation comprises all the fixed electrical equipment that is supplied through the electricity meter. It includes the cables that are usually hidden in the walls and ceilings, accessories (such as sockets, switches and light fittings), and the consumer unit (fusebox) that contains all the fuses, circuit-breakers and, preferably residual current devices (RCDs)*.
There are many factors that contribute to a good electrical installation such as:
- Ensuring there are enough sockets for electrical appliances, to minimise the use of multiway socket adapters and trailing leads
- Covers are in place to prevent fingers coming into contact with live parts (broken or damaged switches should be replaced without delay)
- A Residual Current Device (RCD) protection is installed to provide additional protection against electric shock
- Satisfactory earthing arrangements are in place to ensure that a fuse or circuit breaker can quickly clear an electrical fault before it causes an electric shock or fire
- Satisfactory protective bonding arrangements are in place where required (so any electric shock risk is minimised until a fault is cleared)
- Sufficient circuits are provided to avoid danger and minimise inconvenience in the event of a fault
- Cables are correctly selected and installed in relation to the fuse or circuit breaker protecting the circuit
*An RCD (residual current device) is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It provides a level of protection that ordinary fuses or circuit breakers cannot provide.