DIY Doctor


Postby jasont82 » Wed Jun 25, 2008 6:29 pm

hi there
not sure if this question has been answered before but anyway...
should major appliances like fridges, washing machines and dish washers be wired through a spur? or can you just plug them in to a socket? ive noticed most people have them wired through a spur is this a regulation? spurs in a kitchen are on the kitchen ring anyway. a spur is just a switched connection point with a fuse in it, a socket would provide a switch connection point and if the fridege had a fused plug on it would that not be the same thing? why would you wire a spur instead of just having sockets?
cheers jason
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Simply Build It

Postby ericmark » Wed Jun 25, 2008 10:53 pm

The main point is built in appliances should have a means to isolate them. This could be a hole in the worktop with a plug shoved through and plugged into ring main. There may be an isolator built into the appliance or it may require a grid switch arrangement with labelled switches. Where the appliance it not built in then simple plug and socket in enough. Although the grid switches are still handy.
The main thing is manufactures instructions. If the manufacture says you need to limit the current to 5 amp then you would need to fit a fused spur unit.
Non built in units have to be made both for British and Continental use and because on the Continent you don’t have fuses in the plug any fusing must be done in the machine the fuse in the plug is only there to protect the cable.
But even if provided with a plug this is not the case with built-in equipment.
The built in cooker presents the biggest problems where the hob and the oven often require their own supply with fuses or circuit breakers much lower than normally fitted into cooker supplies so it requires the electrician to change the MCB in the consumer unit and each make of consumer unit has its own make of MCB that needs fitting.
As to regulations they say you must follow manufactures instructions.
On a more practical note if the weights fell off your washing machine it would jump everywhere and it would be unsafe to try to pull it out to unplug and running to main consumer unit would likely take too long to stop excessive damage so a local isolator makes good sense. For each appliance you could find some reason why local isolation would make sense and even though they are not required for free standing equipment it still is a good idea to include them.
All best Eric

Postby jasont82 » Thu Jun 26, 2008 6:29 pm

thanks for clearing that up. another quick question on another topic..
ive read somewhere that consumer units must be accessable for wheel chair access. can you direct me to where that information comes from?
thanks again and keep up the good work.
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Postby ericmark » Thu Jun 26, 2008 10:17 pm

It comes from Part M if you follow links in projects to Part P you can find the other Parts including M.
It says:-
Page 48
Switches, outlets and controls
Design considerations
4.25 The key factors that affect the use of switches, outlets and controls are ease of operation, visibility, height and freedom from obstruction. However, there will be exceptions to height requirements for some outlets, e.g. those set into the floor in open plan offices.
4.30 Switches, outlets and controls will satisfy Requirement M1 if:
a. wall-mounted sockets outlets, telephone points and TV sockets are located between 400mm and 1000mm above the floor, with a preference for the lower end of the range;
b. switches for permanently wired appliances are located between 400mm and 1200mm above the floor, unless needed at a higher level for particular appliances;
c. all switches and controls that require precise hand movements are located between 750mm and 1200mm above the floor;
d. simple push button controls that require limited dexterity are not more than 1200mm above the floor
e. pull cords for emergency alarm systems are coloured red, located as close to a wall as possible and have two red 50mm diameter bangles, one set at 100mm and the other set between 800 and 1000mm above the floor;
f. controls that need close vision are located between 1200mm and 1400mm above the floor so that reading may be taken by a person sitting or standing (with thermostats at the top of the range);
g. sockets outlets are located consistently in relation to doorways and room corners, but in any case no nearer than 350mm from room corners;
h. light switches for use by the general public have large push pads and align horizontally with door handles within the range 900 to 1100mm, for ease of location when entering a room;
i. where switches described in 4.30(h) cannot be provided, lighting pull cords are set between 900mm and 110mm above floor level, and fitted with a 50mm diameter bangle visually contrasting with its background and distinguishable visually from any emergency assistance pull cord;
j. switched socket outlets indicate whether they are ‘on’;
k. mains and circuit isolators switches clearly indicate that they are on or off;
l. front plates contrast visually with their backgrounds.
I do not see this talking about consumer units and not sure they have to have wheel chair access see what you think?

Postby jasont82 » Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:18 pm

hi again,
just been looking for where i saw that thing about wheel chair access. ive found it, it was in a question title [i]'swich fused spurs in kitchens, i hate them' [/i]yes thats right 'swich' not 'switched' anyway it was said that no longer can consumer units be tucked under stairs you need wheel chair access to them. Is this something that has been just introduced or does it not apply? reason im asking is im a spark thats just moved from australia so im a little unsure of some of the regs here and even the guys i work with are unsure. back home the rule is that the main switch cant be higher than 2 metres.
thanks again
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Postby ericmark » Tue Jul 01, 2008 10:22 am

I think it is more common sense than regulations.
1) The incoming supply needs to be relatively close to the consumer unit and if over 3 meters then it can cause some problems. 433.2.2
2) You don't want it where children have access or pets likely to chew cables.
3) You do want it accessible to appointed people.
4) You do not want it where it is likely to attract items to be stored in front of it. i.e position where access is likely to be maintained.
5) The electrician also needs to work on it. 132.12 is regulation here.
Ask a question should the consumer unit be accessed by ordinary people or instructed person. If the latter then the Part M regs do not really apply. And in a house were there is no wheel chair access to a toilet why should there be access to the consumer unit. Visitors do not need access to consumer units. I think we have a hight for fireman's switch and min and max heights for sockets supplying caravans of 0.5 to 1.5 meters with provision to increase height in areas of flooding 708.553.1.9 which is above the height allowed in Part M and makes one realize common sense is more important than regulations.
I think Chinese whispers cause a lot of problems where some one thinks its a good idea and writes about it but has no official standing and then we all get to believe it's a regulation. I have been told heights for switches and sockets was up to 1200mm but if you read Part M that's not the case and thermostats have to be 1400mm and if that was done in my mothers house she would never reach them. My son positioned it where she could read it sitting in a wheel chair.

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