Live electric shower


Postby plumbbob » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:47 am

I got called to an electric shower yesterday expecting what I thought would be a static problem but was startled to discover the whole casing of the shower was indeed live at 230v.

It seems when the cover was originally put on, wires to the front on/off switch had ended up resting against the button mechanism and over a period of time, had chafed and damaged the insulation.

Because this shower, (a Triton T80) is chrome which can conduct electricity, the whole casing had become live.

I want to walk away knowing the shower is safe, but feel unable to do so because the design does not allow for what is basically a metal casing to be earth bonded. Who knows what may happen internally in the future?

Does anyone have any comments?
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Postby kbrownie » Sat Jan 24, 2009 9:02 pm

The damaged cables should be replaced and when terminated should be placed so machanical damage within the enclosure can not occur, the shower should also be protected by a 30ma RCD or RCBO, this will detect any earth leakage over the permitted level and trip out.
In therory if all pipe work has been bonded correctly and the metal enclosure is directly connected to conductive pipe work there should be continuity and a path to earth.
KB
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Postby plumbbob » Sun Jan 25, 2009 10:55 am

Luckily, I had a salvaged T80 that allowed me to swap the wires and plug. A 30ma RCD is fitted and working.

The shower casing is plastic so is not earthed. The copper feed pipe cannot offer any protection because the internal shower parts are all plastic. The internal earth is only connected to the heater chamber.

If the shower had been a standard white, then no shock risk could have occurred but because it is a chrome model, which is conductive, I would have thought it should have a earth bond installed as part of the manufacturing process?
plumbbob
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Postby kbrownie » Sun Jan 25, 2009 9:49 pm

There should be an earth connection point below the terminal points, near the thermal cut-out outlet.
KB
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