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Replacing A Consumer Unit – Everything You Need To Know

What Is A Consumer Unit?

This is the central control for the flow of electricity in the home (otherwise known as “fuse box”) this is arguably the most essential piece of electrical apparatus in the modern home.

It contains switches that are able to isolate electrical circuits at many different locations in the home, and also the upstairs and downstairs areas’, which is important for safety when for example changing a light-bulb, or fitting a new plug socket or light fitting.

The Dangers Of Having An Old Fuse Box & Not Replacing The Unit

Having an old electrical fuse box in the home can run the risk of the box becoming overloaded with electricity, these boxes were not designed to meet the increasing demands of the home at the time of their conception which means it’s important to consider an upgrade to a new 17th edition consumer unit system.

Even if the rest of the electrical wiring in the house is suffering, adding in a new 17th edition unit will offer a degree of protection, but in some cases it may be recommended to get a new rewire for the property (however a full rewire would be at considerable expense).

Sometimes if a property is having other wiring work carried out, it may need a new unit to be in compliance with safety regulations – in such a case it is best to have this work carried out.

What Are The Most Common Issues With Consumer Units?

Common issues with consumer units are as follows:

Switches keep tripping (tripping the electrics)
General wear and tear of the box and switches
Old “fuse box” style unit that needs replacement
New consumer unit box may need replacing
Unit not wired in correctly/needs reconnection

What About If I Have An Old Fuse Box That Needs Replacement?

If you have an old fuse box that needs upgrading to a new consumer unit, this can be done for you by a qualified electrician (we have specialists in this area whom are able to help).

How Much Will It Cost To Have My Consumer Unit Replaced/Upgraded?

This will be dependent on the scale of the task when the engineer inspects the job itself, rest assured the costs will be fair and representative of the work, this is a critical task and requires the utmost in safety and care. (Beware of working with suspiciously inexpensive electricians, it is important that the equipment used is of a sufficient quality and the work is carried out to a high standard because it is such a key part of the electrical circuitry in the home).

IMPORTANT: Do not hire someone who is not a qualified electrician to fix or replace a consumer unit, this is extremely important as safety with tasks like this is of paramount importance.

How Long Will It Take To Have A Consumer Unit Replaced?

Time-frames are typically between 4-8 hours and a full test of the replacement unit will be conducted once the process is completed.

How Soon Can You Come Out To Fix Or Replace My Unit?

We will endeavour to visit your property ASAP once you have submitted your enquiry with us, we will be with you ASAP.

Why Is It Important To Replace An Old Fuse Box?

This is mainly due to wear and tear and the fact that older fuse box systems can break at any time, to avoid any potential electrical outages it is recommended that you attend to this matter at the earliest opportunity either by contacting us or an alternative qualified electrical specialist.

Older fuse boxes can also become a safety risk, so it is wise to act quickly.

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Things To Watch Out For When Hiring An Electrician For Consumer Unit Work

1/ Make sure the electrician has his own certificate (like our engineers)
2/ Make sure the electrician is “Part P” compliant (definition of this below)

Part P is an aspect of the Building Regulations concerning the compliant installation and maintenance of electrical work carried out in a home or domestic property by an electrician or electrical installer. It enables competent electricians to self-certify their work as compliant against the Building Regulations.

Source: What Is “Part P”?

3/ Avoid individuals offering unrepresentative cheap quotations for the work, this is an area where you really don’t want to compromise on quality because this impacts on the safety of your home.
4/ Ask the electrician about their previous experience in the trade
5/ If you wish to ensure you are working with expert electrical engineers with years of experience in the repairs and replacement of fuse boxes and consumer units, get in touch with us immediately & we would be happy to help.

IMPORTANT: Make sure the electrician carrying out the work shows proof of a certificate before carrying out any work of this type.

When People Think They Can Carry Out Their Own Consumer Unit Work

This can be a dangerous undertaking for a number of reasons:

1/ Electrical circuitry can pass electrical currents and shock an individual with a large passage of electricity, this is not the same as other, more simple electrical work.
2/ Just because it is possible to purchase a consumer unit from a store it does not mean it is safe for a non-qualified electrician to carry out this type of replacement or any repairs, for example the RCB’s (Residual Current Breakers) may not be of the correct rating for your property, on the other hand a fully qualified electrician will know the correct ratings and settings.
3/ Here is an example of a dangerous consumer unit wiring, with cables going directly into the terminals, with no covering to protect against moisture and other obstructions and no direct support.

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4/ Amateur electricians can cause fire risks by leaving things half finished or doing a bad job of installing electrical systems – there are over 20,000 electrical fires in the United Kingdom every year – Don’t leave yourself at risk.

Stages Involved In A Consumer Unit Replacement

1) Checking the earthing and bonding setup, this basically involves making sure that the existing connection is suitable for the new unit.
2) The removal of the old fuse box which will involve the removal and disconnection of all the old wiring and the removal of any debris
3) The Installation of the new consumer unit with 2 RCB’s (Residual current breakers) for added safety, including all wiring and installation of the support and the cover.
4) The testing of the new system.
5) Issuing of a certificate of the installation and the compliance with the “part P” regulations as proof of a successful & safe installation – we take care of all of the above as a company and would be happy to issue you with a safe installation or repair of any existing apparatus or installation of new apparatus as appropriate.

Why The Certification Is Important

The certificate that is issued upon replacement of an old fuse box system is due to the fact that this is a legal document that can be held as evidence of a successful installation that has been carried out and tested as safe – this is a critical part of any installation of this type and no consumer unit job is complete without this particular document – we will issue you with this document upon completion as should all reputable electricians.

What If I Only Need A Repair Of A Unit?

No problem. We work on all types of jobs involving not only consumer units but also electrics, if your unit requires repairing we can help with this also.

How Do I Get Started?

Simply get in touch with us using the form at the upper right hand side of the page and we will call you back and arrange a time to visit the property and carry out the necessary installation or repair that you require.

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