Do I Need A New Fusebox/Consumer Unit?
I’ve been told I need a new fusebox/consumer unit. Why?
Since the turn of the century when we first started to use electricity in our homes the amount of electrically powered devices we use day to day has steadily increased. Unfortunately, this increase in demand requires an upgrade of the electrical system and all too often domestic installations are poorly designed, installed or maintained. The single most important piece of electrical equipment in your home is your fusebox or consumer unit, this item is responsible for your safety and should the worse happen can actually be responsible for saving your life.
Fuseboxes or consumer units come from a variety of manufactures and are made of several different materials, regardless of age they are generally made up from 2 different types, those with fuse carriers and fusewire or fuses and those with circuit breakers.
Type 1. Fuse carriers containing fuse wire or fuses.
Most people are amazed to find out that these type of rewirable fuses offer NO PROTECTION against electric shock, they only protect the circuit. As you can see from the photograph below they are made from plastic that can be damaged by heat over time as well as the risk of the wrong fuse wire being installed. Older style fuseboxes have ceramic or Bakelite fuse carriers. These fuseboxes started being installed in homes over 60 years ago when the amount of appliances and type of lighting were very different to todays modern electrical items. In addition, the majority of this type of fusebox also have a wooden frame or back box adding to an already risky fire hazard. If you have this type of fusebox installed contact your local office today and arrange an appointment for one of our engineers to call and advise you about upgrading this item.
Type 2. Circuit breakers.
Although this type of device might seem a modern equivalent to rewirable fuses they have actually been around for over 30 years, over time they can break down, overheat or generally not behave as they should. There is also the chance that new circuits have been added over time and overloaded these already old breakers. Testing is available to check the integrity of your installed breakers for your total peace of mind.
Regardless of what type of protection is installed in your home there are some tell-tale signs that you would benefit from upgrading to a new, properly protected consumer unit, these are:
1. You have an old fusebox with a wooden back.
2. You have older rewirable fuses installed.
3. You have a mixture of rewirable fuses and older circuit breakers.
4. You don’t have any provision for residual current device (RCDs) protection. This is the only way to avoid a potentially fatal electric shock.
5. You are planning an improvement project such as a new electric shower, Solar PV, an extension or an attic conversion.
6. You are planning to extend an existing circuit.
7. You are planning to add an additional circuit to the installation.
8. You existing fusebox or consumer unit is overloaded. This is a fire risk and can mean an expensive emergency job if the worst should happen.
A professionally installed & certified consumer unit WILL improve your electrical safety as well as checking the integrity of the existing circuits in your property from the inspection and testing phase of the installation. For more information regarding upgrading your fusebox/consumer unit including all certification and Part P Building Regulations compliance contact your local office today.
A newly installed and up to date consumer unit WILL improve the safety of your entire installation