How does earthing work and what is a residual-current device?

residual-current device

Earthing stops appliances becoming live as a result of a short circuit. Depending on how the earthing has been installed in your home and the quality of the equipment, it will keep your home safe. How does earthing work and how can you check that it is working yourself?

How does earthing work?

If you have electrics installed, the electrician will ensure your installation is properly earthed. However, you are responsible at all times for making sure the earthing system in your home functions correctly. Hazardous situations can arise if the insulation of a power cable has worn or comes loose or if an electrical appliance has a fault, for example. Earthing ensures the electricity from a faulty electrical appliance does not flow to earth through you and is instead led away to earth via the earthing conductor. The fuse in the meter box blows or your residual-current device (RCD) or residual-current circuit breaker with overcurrent protection (RCBO) automatically cuts off the electricity. You will find a more detailed explanation about earthing at energieveilig.nl.

 

Steps to test your residual-current device yourself

In many domestic installations one or more RCDs or RCBOs can be found in the consumer unit. Since 1975 it has been mandatory for electrical installations in homes to be equipped with one or more RCDs or an RCBO. We therefore advise you to check your RCD every six months. You can do this easily yourself or ask a qualified electrician to do it if you have doubts about whether your installation is well earthed. If you live in a rented home, we advise you to contact your landlord first.

Steps:

  1. Press the test button (T or Test)
  2. The electrical installation is switched off
  3. If the installation is not switched off, ask a qualified electrician to look at it
  4. When you switch the installation back on, everything should work normally again

Frequently asked questions

  • Earthing stops an appliance becoming live if it develops a fault. Instead the electricity flows away to earth via the earthing system. In such a case the fuse in the meter box blows or the RCD breaks the electrical circuit. You can find more information about earthing at energieveilig.nl.

  • A residual-current device (RCD) provides additional protection for your electrical installation. It measures whether the incoming and outgoing current are the same.

    A residual-current device (RCD) provides additional protection for your electrical installation and is found in virtually all meter boxes. Good earthing offers you extra protection against short circuits by stopping appliances becoming live accidentally. The RCD measures whether the incoming and outgoing current are the same.

  • A qualified electrician can check whether your home is properly earthed.

    You can ask a qualified electrician to perform an inspection. If you live in a rented home, contact the landlord first. However, you can test whether your RCD is working properly yourself.

    Check the RCD

    1. Press the test button (T or Test).

    2. This switches off the electrical installation.

    3. If the installation is not switched off, ask a qualified electrician to look at it.

    4. When you switch the installation back on, everything should work normally again.

     

  • Three parties are responsible for the meter box and the meters inside it: you, the network operator and the water company.

    Three parties are responsible for the meter box and the meters inside it.

    1. You, the customer
    2. The network operator
    3. The water company 

    Customer’s responsibility

    • The consumer unit (and the network of cables installed after the consumer unit), including the main circuit breaker and RCD, is referred to as the internal installation. You are responsible for:
    • The main circuit breaker
    • The consumer unit
    • The meter box (follow the requirements and guidelines that the meter box must comply with) The RCD
    • The boiler clock/boiler relay
    • The internal wiring

    Network operator’s responsibility

    The network operator is responsible for:

    • The (smart) electricity meter and gas meter
    • The domestic service box
    • The main shutoff valve (gas)
    • The gas safety valve

    Water company’s responsibility

    The water company in your region is responsible for your water meter. 

     

     

  • Do you have doubts about the safety of the connection before the meter? If so, send a photo to our technical support department’s WhatsApp service. The telephone number is 06 52 79 79 89.

    Do you have doubts about the safety of the connection before the meter? If so, send a photo to our technical support department’s WhatsApp service. The telephone number is 06 52 79 79 89. In your message please include your name, address and a brief description of your question.

    Who manages what?

    Liander manages the gas and electricity networks up to your meter box. The connection and the meter are, of course, protected in a number of different ways.

    You are responsible for your internal installation (everything after the meter). Find out more about safety in the meter box. 

     

  • Liander always supplies new connections in a ready-to-use state. If you do not yet have an internal installation, your connection will be sealed with a security seal. This is done to ensure your safety.

    Once your internal installation has been installed a qualified electrician with sealing rights can break the seal and you can start using your new connection.

  • You can view the capacity of your connection yourself by logging in to your connection data using your postcode, house number and the last 6 digits of your meter number. The capacity determines how much gas or electricity can pass through your connection. The level of the monthly network management costs depends on the capacity of your connection.

    Periodic costs

    The periodic costs (capacity charge) can be found in our overview of charges. You will also find these periodic costs on the annual statement from your energy supplier.

  • The guidelines and requirements for your meter box can be found in the meter box information sheets. Always refer to the latest version of the IWUN meter box information sheets.

    New build or existing building?

    The guidelines for meter boxes mainly apply to new-build homes. In older homes it is not always feasible to position the meter box within 3 metres of the entrance door, for example.

    Exceptions to meter box guidelines and requirements

    Exceptions to the meter box guidelines and requirements may be permitted. However, please always apply for the connection first at mijnaansluiting.nl.

    • Clearly describe where the meter box will be positioned.
    • Include photos and drawings.

    If an exception has to be made, the contractor will call you about this.

    External meter box

    A number of statutory guidelines apply to the installation of an external meter box. This is to guarantee safety.

    • The meter box must be made of an impact-resistant, weatherproof material that offers a sufficient level of protection. The supplier and installer of the meter box can inform you about this. See also the supplementary conditions relating to external meter boxes.
    • Your meter box must comply with the guidelines and requirements applicable to meter boxes. It is your responsibility to ensure this is the case. The meter box forms part of the installation belonging to your home. If you need advice, you can contact a qualified electrician.
  • An intermediate meter is a meter that is installed after the main meter. An intermediate meter measures the energy consumption of different parts of a building, different parts of a business or different subtenants. It is possible to install such meters for both electricity and gas.

    Insight for each user or part of a building

    Intermediate meters offer you an insight into the consumption of each user or each part of a building. The internal installation for which you are responsible starts after the main meter. You are therefore also responsible for an intermediate meter.