FAQ

Think you may need a new Consumer Unit (fuse board)?

 

There is no law to say you have to upgrade any existing installation or part of it that may longer meet regulations introduced or changed since the installation. So just because you may have an old rewireable fuse board or a non-RCD protected board does not mean you have a legal obligation to change it. However it may be difficult to find an electrician who would be willing to install into an older system and sometimes they would not be allowed to without the retrofit of extra safety equipment that would be integrated into a new type consumer unit.

 

Saying that there are some advantages of a new consumer unit such as:

 

Miniature Circuit Breakers (MCBs)

 

  • MCBs (replaces the fuse wire) typically operate a lot quicker than fuse wire. MCBs and fuses are designed to protect the electrical circuit in the event of a fault or overload. The current carrying capacity of the cable will be greater than the MCB rating thus making sure it will not allow too high of a demand to be put on the cable.

 

  • MCBs are easier to switch back on, easier to locate the operated device and safer to reinitiate that a rewireable or cartridge fuse.

 

  • MCBs are not open to abuse like fuses, we have seen it all, small nails replacing fuse wire, KitKat wrapper wrapped around a cartridge fuse etc. Sometimes the reason being that fuse wire could not be located and sometimes, and I quote "because it's all I could do to stop it blowing". Finding and rectifying the fault didn't occur to him.

 

Residual Current Device (RCD, RCBO, RCB)

 

  • RCDs protect humans against electrocution. If you have a new circuit installed or modified then you would most likely be required to have an RCD installed to satisfy BS7671 wiring regulations and Part P of the building regulations.

 

  • In domestic installations RCDs are mandatory in a number of situations, socket outlets, outside installations, showers and often where cables are installed in the walls are just a few examples. In reality it may be harder to ensure the conditions are met than to just install an RCD

 

  • RCDs can be installed to just one circuit if work is being done on that circuit rather than upgrade the whole board or placed in series to protect the entire installation. The disadvantage of this is either not everything would be protected or if the RCD operates the entire board would be disconnected. The advantage is significant safety added to the circuits with less cost involved.

 

Other advantages

 

  • Now consumer units have to be made out of a non-flammable material such as metal.
  • Know that it's up to current regs allowing any future electrical work to be installed with no issues.
  • Better load splitting across 2 RCDs and spare ways for future use.
  • Looks good if you are planning to sell.

How to check if you have an RCD installed.

 

An RCD is designed to protect humans from electric shock. It works by detecting a small amount of electricity leaking to earth (possibly through you) and tripping out before it can damage your body.

 

To check if you have one on your existing system look for switch with a button marked "PUSH TO TEST" on. This should be integrated or located near your consumer unit (fuse board) and you may have 2 or more. Simply push the button and the RCD should operate, if so, great just reset the switch that flicks down.

 

enquiries@gandaelectrical.co.uk

01297 441221

01297 441221

Resources & Useful Information

Contact us on

 

01297 441221

 

if you need any further help or advice on your options, or if you would like a quote in upgrading your consumer unit.

 

Click this link for The Electrical Safety First's Best Practice Guide on the requirements for upgrading a consumer unit.

Landlord Responsibilities

 

Coming Soon

Portable Appliance Testing (PAT) and the law.

 

Coming soon

 

Part P Building Regs

 

Coming Soon

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