Isolator Switches

I’ve had conflicting advice on isolator switches in a new kitchen - we need six :frowning:

Electrician is saying they need to go above the worktop in the kitchen. Architect says other electricians are more flexible putting them in utility rooms etc.

Looking at regs they seem to say that they must be “readily accessible”, but there is no specific requirement that they are visible.

Hoping to put them in a small cupboard on the counter top, so they are readily accessible, but not visible.

Anyone seen the full regs?

Not seen the full regs but readily accessible usually means identifiable and reachable. If someone who is not familiar with your kitchen needs to isolate the supply in an emergency then that’s where you may have an issue. Theoretically you can do what you want in your own home and you my find a flexible electrician to put them in where you wish.

Most electrical products that are for fixed wiring are required to have an installation instruction that the disconnect device is easily accessible.

Can i ask is there a reason you need 6?

No you can’t, or at least not legally, if they fall under the scope of Controlled Works (CER/15/249).

Exactly :nin

Oven, dishwasher, fridge, extractor, washing machine etc. Apparently they all need an isolator now.
Will ruin the backsplash, so not particularly happy cutting a hole for switches with red lights that are hardly ever used.

Wasn’t sure on exact regs, and it seems to be some electricians will put them in a more discreet spot, but others won’t. Mine won’t, but was hoping to see the regs to see if it’s just not recommended, or definitely not allowed.

Is it possible to have one isolator which isolates all the isolators, which could then be put in a less accessible spot?

A kill switch for the kitchen, I suppose so. But you would still need separate switches for individual appliances.
The rules must have been tightened up in the past decade as in 2006, the electrician fitted the socket for the dishwasher in the next press.

I think things may have gone a bit too far if one anecdote from an electrician I heard recently is true. Turns out now if you get as much as a socket changed in the a kitchen the whole setup has to be re-certified again (RECI Cert).

A simple job ends up costing hundreds of euros.

BTW @OP, if you’re not too happy, get a new electrician.

Easily accessible is what is required. Hob switch has to be very obvious, but an easily accessible cupboard at worktop height might be OK if you made it obvious that is where the switches are - eg a big sign…

More conventionally you could use an electrician who is familiar with mini-grid switches (don’t put the hob isolator in it). You will probably need 2 in order to get all the cables in.

This all sound completely nuts. A fridge draws barely more electricity than an incandescent light bulb. Many dishwashers draw no more current than a hair dryer. Separate isolator switches sounds like total overkill. I had no problem getting an electrician to mount the isolator for a hob and oven to the inside of an adjacent cupboard a few years back. Seems that things have changed.

Trying to actually look up the latest standards turns out to be a typical Irish joke. Google ET101 for more info. The “Electro-Technical Council of Ireland” website ( tells you that ETCI ceased trading. Not surprising seeing as Google cache tells you they were charging €106 for a copy of the ET101 standard. Lots of places (e.g. still link to the defunct website. However, – once you navigate past their page asking you to make an appointment to browse their standards database (!!! :open_mouth: ) has a link to where you can supposedly buy it (in hardcopy only) for €5.70 … … I_2674776/

Klunkiest ordering system I ever saw, and the delivery options are DHL or Royal Mail :open_mouth:

Are even our quangos being off-shored now?

OP, ask the electrician who said you need isolator switches to show you the relevant regulation in the latest standards (as referenced above by ps200306 and which he should be carrying a copy of with him at all times) where it states you need an isolator on a 13(or 5)amp plug in appliance.

I will bet he can’t, then you need to ask “do I need to get a qualified electrician in to check out what you have done as I am no longer confident in your understanding of the regulations” (if you want to act the bollix and get a serious discount that is :wink: ).

ETCI were subsumed by NSAI at the behest of the CER. It only ceased trading officially last year. There were was a lot of resistance from the old Technical Committee members and many didn’t make the migration across to the new NSAI ETCs. I don’t think the brain drain is the cause of the tightening of measures outlined above though.

Also just because a fridge doesn’t consume as much electricity as an oven doesn’t mean it’s not as hazardous. See Grenfell Tower as an example.

I’d be interested to see the regs themselves but I’d be surprised if isolator switches are implicitly required as opposed to utilising the appliances plug. A plug acts as an equally suitable and even more secure disconnect device.

So I’ve managed to put my hands on the rules which came into effect September 2017. It’s the 4th edition dated 2008

Not much room for interpretation there.

My kitchen would definitely have issues with this but then it was wired in 2000. Even labeling them now too. That’s mentioned as a requirement elsewhere as well.

Specifically for ovens

2 m distance pops up all over the place with respect to isolation. Going back to what I know about product safety standards that is typically what is required by the manufactures of these devices too. So a kill all switch may not be feasible unless your kitchen is tiny.

What I don’t see is an explicit requirement for a pilot light in the switches. Perhaps your electrician is more familiar with the regs but at least your kitchen won’t be lit up like it’s the festive season when you all the appliances on. So there’s certain things that you assume are on all the time and don’t need a light reminding you to the fact e.g. your fridge

Can you get isolator switches that look like ordinary switches, im sure they dont all have to be ugly white swithces with red light?

That’s what I’m wondering too. I think you can. From amazon uk anyway

That might be the best you can hope for OP. Of course you can get a nice chrome one either :smiley:

This needs to be within 2 m of all your appliances though.

Depending on the layout of the kitchen, might a ceiling mounted isolator on a pull cord (like you use with electric showers) be an option? Could be that it’s less obtrusive than a string of wall mounted switches