Why You Need To Upgrade Your Fuse Board
Consumer units (also known as fuse boxes or fuse boards) are the first line of defense of electrical safety within your property and can potentially be life saving. A check up on the condition of your fuse box can verify if its capable of preventing electrocution should an unfortunate incident arise.
The latest consumer units in your house that are fitted under the latest regulations, are commonly fitted with Dual RCD protection (or multiple RCBO devices). These protect you to a far greater degree than traditional circuit breakers, and a vast difference in comparison to the dated rewireable fuse removable modules.
RCDs are extra sensitive to any earth leakage or fault current and are able to cut off the power near instantly upon detection of a serious fault such as a faulty appliance or in the event of a person touching a live cable.
Due to the cutoff in milliseconds they provide, an RCD could one day save you or your families life.
Despite being introduced in the 17th Edition regulations in 2008, many homes that haven’t had an upgrade for over 10 years will not provide RCD protection to users – we urge anyone to upgrade to upgrade to a new model if they are considering having any electrical work completed.
The best time to inspect your property is if you plan or having any work done in your house, such as a new bathroom, kitchen or extension. Some trades refuse to work on premises without RCD units as altering the building fabric that contains old cabling elevates the risk of accidents happening.
So if you’re consumer unit looks a bit old or you’re thinking about getting other trades in, its a good idea to check in advance.
Was your house built before 1990 and you’ve had to rewiring work done in the last ten years? Or the simplest way to know if you need an upgrade is if your board doesn’t have an RCD.
If you’re not sure why an RCD looks like – check your existing unit for a button with the word ‘TEST’ or ‘T’ somewhere in the frame.
If you find one and press the TEST button, and nothing happens – contact a registered electrician as soon as possible!
If your fuse box has a wooden back it likely dates back to the 1950 or 60s, and is an issue being a fire hazard. Aside from that, it’s not easy to tell if the wiring is up to scratch without changing over to an RCD unit and doing a thorough inspection. If you have a really old fuse board still in place, there’s a chance it’s using deteriorated cabling and would be advised to have an EICR in case it needs a full electrical rewire.
Some dangerous practices have been left in place by the power companies themselves and they have an obligation to upgrade and provide a safer method of isolation where the electrical supply enters the property.
If you’re thinking you may need some work done to your consumer unit, it is essential you only use a registered and qualified electrician for the work.