Any residential property in the UK has electrical wiring that requires a consumer unit. Sometimes it is referred to as the fuse box but they are the same. the consumer unit is like a heart in your house, all power lines come from the consumer unit to your house’s veins (wiring), so if it becomes old or dysfunctional it may cause many dangerous situations, like fire hazards or at least a problem in your electrical devices.
For this reason, we explained, many people asked us how to know our consumer unit is in a good condition or it’s become problematic and needs a replacement, sometimes it just needs a replacing rcd in consumer unit.
When is the best time for consumer unit replacement?
Remember that you don’t need a consumer unit replacement if your fuse box is not defective. Some older units don’t have a residual current device (RCD) that is essential for fuse boxes to prevent dangers and fire hazards. RCD cut off the electricity in the case of an overload. Without RCD, there is a severe risk for electrical shock and death for people who live in your house.
Plastic consumer units, still are common around the UK. the problem with plastic units is their safety. Unlike the metal consumer units, they couldn’t resist the heat and fire, so it would be better if changed with a metal one. You know when the body of your consumer unit is made from metal, it can’t spread the fire to other parts of your house.
Identification of old consumer unit
It is important to know how well your consumer unit is. if you’re planning to buy a new house, you probably need to know if the consumer unit needs a replacement or not, so how can you understand this with a looking? In this case, you should know more about different types of consumer units to predict the age of the fuse boxes.
Sure, you can see the physical condition of the consumer unit, but the inside of the fuse box is important too. So, for a better inspection, bring a qualified electrician with you but sometimes, you may need to take a look for yourself. We provide essential knowledge for you to know better about consumer units.
Newer consumer units have a plain grey or white case. Older versions of consumer units are made from different materials. Also, newer consumer units have a red isolation switch and the other switches will be black. All of these switches are linked to electrical circuits in the house.
The main difference between new consumer units and the old ones is RCD. Old versions don’t have RCD., but the newer fuse box at least has two RCDs.
So, Check these signs:
- Colour and body material of consumer unit
Dangers of an old consumer unit
If you read this article carefully till this part, you may understand the biggest bug in old consumer units! The lack of RCD. The residual current device saves so many lives. It can change a life-threatening situation into a safe, controllable situation.
The next problem with older consumer units is exposed wires and cables. Exposed cables and wires are the main reason for electric shock in emergencies. Try to call a professional in this situation and don’t try to handle it by yourself, it can be the last moment of your life!
While modern fuse boxes can have the same issues (not really!) but the older version of consumer units are most likely to hurt you or your appliances. Every power trip can lead to a damaged laptop or electric device. If you notice an electrical issue in your house and you already know that your consumer unit is out of date, don’t risk your life.
How to monitor the consumer unit in my house?
If you still think that you can repair or replace a consumer unit all by yourself, it’s time to change your mind. All of these kinds of electrical works should be carried out by a certified electrician who has years of experience in electrical works. You may think it’s easy but it’s not. In reality, you may think know what are you doing but how many times did you test this solution? What if you were wrong? Boom… electric shock!
We have put together some useful tips to make sure you’re always safe. Read them and notice any difference in your house’s electrical wiring.
Be careful about plastic units
We talked about this before, plastic units are known to be less resistant to fire. It is obvious because of the nature of plastic. Grab a plastic bag and set it on fire, see?
Try to regularly check the condition of the consumer unit in your house. (at least every year) to make sure there’s no possible damage or issue.
Tripping lights are not a good sign! If the power of your house trips regularly, call an electrician to help you out, it might be a dangerous situation. (especially if your consumer unit is old). Probably there is an underlying issue and this can be looked over by an electrician.
There is a reason for the necessity of regular check-ups by a certified electrician. Certified electricians are qualified by the government. If you won’t be able to perform any change or repair on your consumer unit, we recommend you to check it as often as possible, like every year. You don’t need to check the wire, just watch the differences. It would be better if you choose a date every year and write down the problems or take a picture of your consumer unit to compare it with itself.
Examine the RCD
We talked about the benefits of RCD before, it is important to have this feature like always! So, test this feature at least every three months to make sure there’s nothing to worry about and you’re safe.