RCDs or RCBOs, do you have the right protection?

RCDs or RCBOs, do you have the right protection?

The way electrical installations are designed and the electrical equipment we have at our disposal has come a long way in recent years. Today's consumer units are far safer than the fuse boxes of the past, part of this increased protection is due to something called a Residual Current Device (RCD). These devices detect when a fault is occurring and shut off power to the circuit, reducing the risk of fires and electrocution.

RCDs can come in multiple forms; the two most commonly used being a standalone RCD which protects multiple MCBs (breakers or circuits), and RCBOs which combine the function of an RCD and MCB into one unit. Here are the key differences between the two.


RCBOs combine the functionality of an MCB and an RCD, in this arrangement each circuit has its own RCD protection - meaning when there is a fault on a circuit, only that circuit will be interrupted whilst the others will remain functional. It is also a great aid in narrowing down a fault when trying to rectify it. Although the cost of RCBO consumer units is coming down, they still remain more expensive than split RCD set-ups.


Another way of configuration is to have a separate RCD alongside several MCBs that it protects, this offers equivalent protection to RCBOs however if a fault is detected, all of the circuits protected by the RCD will be interrupted, causing more disruption. Another downside to this is that you will not be able to tell which circuit the fault is on. One benefit of this set-up is that it costs less, however separate RCDs are gradually being phased out in favour of RCBOs.

Whichever option you go for you will be getting potentially life-saving protections, if you don’t currently have RCD protection in place, we strongly advise upgrading your fuse board to meet current regulations.

If you are based in Leigh, Atherton, Hindley Green, Astley or surrounding areas, please don’t hesitate to get in touch for a free quotation. You can call us on 07526 712798 or send an email to click here to send a message.