When did you last check the condition of yours?
Your fusebox, or more accurately your consumer unit, could be thought of in much the same way as the engine in your car. All of your homes lighting, power and heating runs through and relies on the consumer unit for its continued safe operation – yes, even your gas boiler requires electricity in order to work. If the fuse blows then not only will you be sat in dark room with no TV or Internet, but you may also be left without heating or hot water.
Now Is The Time For Your Replacement Fuseboard
A new fuseboard, or consumer unit as they are technically called, may not be the most glamorous of things to spend your money on. Tucked away in that dark cupboard under the stairs makes it all too easy to ignore.
Many people assume that because it’s been there for thirty years without a problem, it must be okay. It’s only when other works are required, such as an extra socket, that it comes to light that it’s not suitable for continued use. The technology in modern consumer units, as in many other products has moved on substantially in thirty years. For example, when rewireable fuses were in general use it was perfectly acceptable for them to take anything up to 5 seconds to blow. In comparison, modern circuit breakers and Residual Current Devices (RCD’S) trip in less than 0.4 of a second – clearly the improvement in safety is enormous! This is particularly important in older installations where wiring faults could potentially lead to fire.
Talking Of Fire, Did You Know That All New Consumer Units Are Also Fire-Rated?
Did you also realise that some older consumer units are constructed from wood? It’s not always obvious at first glance. Take a look at the photos above. Both of these consumer units have wooden backing and are fitted with Bakelite type covers. Have a look in your electric cupboard and if yours looks anything like these, call us now.
Now with the pictures of the wooden backed consumer units above in mind take a look at this picture…
Whilst this one is not a fire-rated consumer unit – had this been an older wooden backed consumer unit the outcome could have been quite different.
Is There Anything Else That I Should Consider?
How about ease of use? Do you have a rewireable consumer unit like the one pictured below?
This is typical of the consumer units that you might find in a property that was rewired or built up to the mid 1980’s. Now imagine you had just come home, switched your lights on only to find nothing was working. Would you know what to look for or would you know which fuse to check?
If you do found which fuse had blown, would you have the correct fused wire to hand and would you actually be able to replace it (it’s incredibly fiddly believe me!). You’d be surprised to know how many call-outs we receive simply to replace fusewire.
Now compare that with the picture of the modern fire–rated consumer unit in the section above with its circuit breakers and RCD trip switches. Instantly you can see which circuit has tripped and as simply as operating a switch the circuit breaker is back on.In the event of an issue with your electric, the difference between the old and new really is like night and day. A potentially expensive call-out saved and a safe home as well!
Check Out The Four Indicators That You May Need An Upgrade..
1- Age- If your fuseboard has not been changed in twenty years then it is likely not compliant with current standards and may not provide you with basic protection. Technology and safety associated with consumer units has also moved on massively in the last thirty years from both the perspective of shock and fire protection and also the ease of use for the homeowner.
2- Does your consumer unit have an RCD or Residual Current Device? Most modern consumer units should have and this single device massively increases the safety of your home electrics.
3- Live parts exposed- Are the working parts, fuses, or circuit breakers enclosed or are parts of the board exposed? It’s surprising how many fuseboards we come across with fuseholders or blanking plates missing leave live parts exposed to touch.
4- Fire risk- As mentioned above, is your fuseboard constructed of wood or plastic? If it is then it may not meet fire regulations. Should the worst happen, would the location of your fuseboard impede your escape in the event that it caught fire? Many consumer units are located either in an under-stairs cupboard or by the front door and many of these cupboards are also used to store potentially flammable objects.
Go And Check Your Fuseboard Now
If it looks like any of the ones you have seen in this blog or if you are unsure or unhappy about it then..