and like all hearts it needs to be regularly looked after.
The consumer unit, otherwise known as a fuse box or fuse board, is responsible for 1) the allocation and distribution of electricity to all circuits in your property 2) to protect you, your family and property against electric shock, death or fire.
So, as you can tell……. they’re rather important.
It is recommended that all consumer units are upgraded every 10 years to ensure they are up to date with the newest safety regulations for your protection and tested every 5 years to ensure they are still functioning correctly without damage.
Submit an enquiry using the form below and a member of the team will be in touch with you shortly.
It is a staggering statistic how many properties consumer units are not upgraded regularly, or not upgraded at all. Worryingly there are still at least 20% of houses in the UK that have consumer units from the 60s/70s that can contain asbestos, have no protection against electric shock or fire, and normally not even fit for the purpose that they are meant to do. If that is not enough, we sometimes go to test houses that have new consumer units that have been installed less than 15 years ago that also fail because the electrician who installed them did not correctly assess the property for the appropriate equipment (cough, cowboy, cough).
Consumer unit upgrades and maintenance are a topic we could probably bore people to death with, but it is without a doubt our favourite job. We love knowing we are making customers’ homes safer, which in turn gives us peace of mind as we know you are well protected.
Save yourself the headache, and contact us first, as you can guarantee it shall be done to the best standard. We also offer free advice at no charge if you have any concerns about your consumer unit, or if another electrician has made recommendations you are unsure about.
The purpose of a consumer unit is to correctly distribute the electricity of your house to the correct source, It does this by fusing down the current for each circuit as needed. This process is extremely complicated, and has a lot of parts to it, these parts if not installed correctly can breakdown and become faulty, which often results in an electrical fire. Because of this, the regulations have constantly introduced new safety devices and rules for consumer units to make sure the power turns off before a fire starts, all have minor adjustments that make them bespoke to your property depending on the age and condition of your electrical system.
Because of how often the regulations change it can seem that they are not needed, and many thinks that it is just a ‘money scam’ when we inform clients of these rules, but you MUST remember that these rules, sadly, only become mandatory AFTER a problem has occurred such as an electrical fire or in some cases death.
A consumer unit upgrade involves the replacement of your existing unit to a modern compliant unit. These come with minimal safety features, which can be upgraded depending on your choice and budget. To do this we have to turn the power off for the day to safely complete our work. It is also mandatory that when done you shall be provided with a full test certificate of your property’s electrics and a building control notifications, along with a demonstration of how your new consumer unit operates.
New consumer unit upgrade costs vary greatly depending on the charge of your electrician, the brand that is installed, and the safety specification you have chosen. As a company policy, unless it has been newly rewired, we fit an RCBO option with an SPD (this is seen as top range for safety and gives us peace of mind when we leave that the customer is protected) the prices for this option start from £680 all the way to £950 depending on your choice of brand and budget.
The minimal standard for consumer units is fitting a dual RCD (RCD’s are simply the item that trips out and prevents a fire in your property), this means you have 2 RCDs with each one protecting 50% of the property. These are good option for newly rewired properties or if you have a budget, but it means if there is a fault on one circuit then 50% of your electrics turn off, which is a bit impractical.
The top option you could have is an RCBO board, this is where each individual circuit has its own built in RCD. This is the maximum form of protection as it prevents a thing called overload (overload is when the combined circuits protected by an RCD module exceeds the rating of that module)
Additional features you could have are called SPDs (Surge protection devices) which protect any voltage sensitive electrics in your property from overcurrent (over current is caused when too much electric enters your property, often caused by faulty metering equipment or lighting strikes on the national grid)
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