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What is a consumer unit or fuseboard? And does it need changing?

Old Fuseboxes Needing Replacement

Above are some examples of consumer units that urgently need to be upgraded



This is an example of what a consumer unit should look like


Firstly, the fuseboard is the old name for what we now commonly refer to as the consumer unit.

The old fashioned fuseboard was usually mounted on a wooden board, and was a collection of fuses that had to be replaced with fuse wire by the home owner. This was a fiddly and difficult job, especially when doing it under pressure, with the rest of the family looking on.

As a result, it’s not unusual to find people cutting corners and replacing the fuse wire with any manner of items, including tin foil, nails and copper wire. Doing this, or choosing the wrong size fuse wire can lead to fire or electrocution. It can also mask a fault that has not been fixed.

In newer properties, you will find miniature circuit breakers, or MCBs, as they are known. These are much safer and more convenient – they are easy to reset and provide a better level of protection, assuming they have been installed correctly.

There are also residual current devices, more commonly known as RCDs. These work in tandem with MCBs to provide additional protection, and are particularly sensitive. They are a good choice for domestic properties, as they significantly reduce the risk of electrocution and fires caused by electrical faults.

RCS are now required to protect all circuits in a home. Your property can be easily upgraded to comply with this regulation, by having your existing consumer unit professionally replaced.

More recently, from January 2018 onwards, all consumer units must now be in a metal casing, rather than plastic, as they are more fire resistant.

Not sure what you have, and if it needs changing? Take a look at our photos above, or give us a call.

If you would like to have your consumer unit replaced, please contact us on 01784 558 758

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