Home Improvement Safety Tips

  • When carrying out work close to your overhead electricity supply such as painting or roofing work, contact ESB Networks to shroud the wires
  • When using a ladder at roof height make sure not to touch or come close to the electricity wires or connections
  • If the work you are doing requires the electricity wires to be moved or altered, contact ESB Networks
  • If you are getting external wall insulation see our guide (PDF | 517 KB).

Completion Certificate

If you are getting a new house wired or having existing wiring renewed or extended you must get a completion certificate from your Registered Electrical Contractor.  Find a Registered Electrical Contractor on www.safeelectric.ie. This certificate is the contractor's statement that the installation complies with the National Wiring Rules. The completion certificate is also required by ESB Networks before a new supply can be connected.  

For more information see the Safe Electric website and the NSAI website.

Trip switches and other essential safety features

Trip switches (RCDs), fuses and miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) are essential safety features in all homes as they make your electrical installation safe if a fault occurs.  

RCD Unit Distribution Board
Main Switch Fuse Main Switch Fuse
Fuses Fuses
RCD Meter Desktop

Types of RCDs

Your fuse board or distribution board contains the fuses or MCBs which protect individual circuits carrying electricity to different areas of your home such as your sockets or lights. These circuits have different size wires and consequently have different strengths of MCBs or fuses protecting them. The strength is measured in Amps and will be clearly marked on the MCB or fuse.

Trip switches and Residual Circuit Devices (RCD)

A trip switch or RCD detects leakages of electricity current from the circuit. Once a fault is detected, the circuit is disconnected. Trip switches/RCDs are found in the fuse board and should be tested frequently.

MCBs and Fuses

An MCB or fuse is a safety device which cuts off the flow of electricity to a circuit if a fault in the circuit or an appliance causes an overload. An MCB can be reset when the fault is identified and repaired. A blown fuse must be replaced with one of similar size.

RCDs, Fuses & MCBs

This short video explains the purpose of a Residual Circuit Device (RCD) also sometimes known as a Trip Switch or an Earth Leakage Trip Switch. The video shows how an RCD works, what it looks like and where it is found.  

Replacing a fuse

When you need to replace a fuse which has failed always make sure to replace it with one of the same size.

Each fuse has a small coloured disc in the base and the colour identifies the size. The colours are:

Disc Colour  Strength Circuit Type 
 Green  6 Amp  Lights
 Red  10 Amp  Lights
 Brown  16 Amp  Socket outlets - radial
 Blue  20 Amp  Water heater, storage heater
 Black  35 Amp  Socket outlets - ring, cooker, electric shower

 Table 1 - Fuse Disc colour and size