There may be a few different reasons why your Consumer Unit (commonly know as a Fuse Board) may need updating or replacing. perhaps your having a replacement kitchen or bathroom. Maybe you just need a few extra sockets. What ever the work is, it is more than likely the circuit will need to be protected by an RCD. In most cases it will be more than likely be best the best option to replace the existing Fuse Box.
Here at Mad About Electrics, we often inspect and replace old fuse boxes as part of other works or to bring your home up to date with latest regulations and improve electrical safety. Replacing your Consumer Unit will usually take around 1 full day for our Electricians. The power will need to be turned off but we can install a temporary supply whilst the work is being carried out where required. On completeion, an Electrical Installation certificate will be completed and sent out to the client following it being prepared and reviewed back at our offices. Tests are carried out and any minor faults on the existing installation will be discussed with the client before any additional works are carried out. Carrying out these tests after changing a Consumer Unit often identifies any existing electrical faults which have been in your home and have gone un-noticed. By identifying them and carrying out improvement works, you will have peace of mind that the overall safety of your electrical installation has been improved.
A replacement Metal Clad Consumer Unit fitted by Mad About Electrics, York Electricians
So now you have read about the safety benefits of having a modern Consumer Unit, now is probably the time to see if your consumer unit is up to date. Please contact us if you would like us to check your old Fuse Board and provide an estimate for a shiny new one.
Older Fuse Boards, such as the common white or brown wooden backed Wylex used a piece of fuse wire to protect against over-current i.e. when too much power was drawn from a short circuit. These re-wirable fuses are found in older electrical installations from the 60's through to the early 90's. These types of fuseboxes are no longer a safe and convenient way to protect you and your property.
If you have an older style re-wirable fuse box unit like the one mentioned above or a split load single RCD consumer unit, your Home would benefit from an upgrade to a replacement modern Dual RCD Metal Clad consumer unit with circuit breakers instead of re-wireable fuses and RCD protection to disconnect the supply in the case of an electrical fault.
For example, when mowing your lawn you could accidentally cut through the electrical supply cable to the Lawn Mower. In some cases, the older type fuse protection may not disconnect the electricity supply leaving the damaged cable still live and exposed. If you were then to come into contact with the exposed live conductors of the cable you could receive an electric shock which in some cases can be fatal.
An Old Wylex Type Fuse Board
Between 2008 and 2015 it became a requirement that in domestic properties we install RCD protection to all electrical circuits unless you are an electrical competant person. In essence we use the dual RCD consumer units as pictured to the left to ensure that all your house wiring is safe and you are protected to the highest level. These have now been replaced by Metal Consumer units that help prevent the spread of fire.
A Nylon Type MK Consumer Unit old 17th Edition Standards
Consumer units are getting safer with each regulation change. Amendment 3 came into effect from July 2015. From January 2016 it is has been compulsory to install metal consumer units in domestic dwellings to comply with the 3rd amendment of the IEE wiring regulations BS7671. This is to contain a fire that may start in a consumer unit due to over heating.
BEAMA, the independent expert knowledge base and forum for the electrotechnical industry for the UK and across Europe, has said that the primary root-causes of fires in consumer units are loose connections.
Additionally, the London Fire Brigade has found that fires involving consumer units have increased to approximately 5 incidents each week.
It's clear that a change needs to be made to protect consumers from potential harm.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) has been working with Electrical Safety First, BEAMA and other industry organizations to make edits to Amendment 3 requirements that will directly improve personal safety and quell the risk of residential fires.
At Mad About Electrics the consumer units we supply and install fully comply with the 3rd amendment of the wiring regulations.
The new Metal Clad Consumer Unit that we now fit to limit the risk of spread of an electrical fire
With the 18th Edition of the IET Wiring Regulations (BS 7671) now officially released, it’s a crucial time for electrical contractors and electricians to get up to speed with the changes. Essentially electricians now have a six-month period to ensure their house is in order because, from 1st January 2019, they must ensure they’ve achieved full compliance for any installation work designed from 31st December onwards.
The 18th Edition has updated standards in line with the latest advances in technology, including updates to technical data. These updates will have a direct impact on making installations safer.
Changes in regulations around fire safety, protection against voltage overloads, and wiring systems are all listed in the 18th Edition. This will impact how electricians perform their work from day-to-day, affecting the length of time spent at each install and the expenditure on equipment:
Recommendation for installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices
A new Regulation has been introduced recommending the installation of Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDDs) to mitigate the risk of fire due to the effects of arc fault currents. This means that some circuits may now require the fitting of an AFDD to protect specifically against arc faults.
Requirements for RCD protection
With the exception of FELV and RLV sockets, all AC sockets that are rated up to 32A will require RCD protection, as opposed to just 20A. This is a life-saving regulation designed to prevent any electrical shocks to the installer working with live AC socket outlets. It means that electrical contractors will need to pay increased attention to the type of RCD being used, to prevent RCDs being ‘blinded’ by the current waveform.
For more consumer focused safety information on Fuseboxes, please visit the Electrical Safety First website.
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