At Shrewsbury Electricians we’ve replaced faulty fuse boxes & installed consumer unit upgrades across Shropshire, from Ludlow to Market Drayton, Shrewsbury, Telford and beyond. So to help you better understand your options, we’ve created this guide to domestic consumer unit replacement.
What’s the difference between a
consumer unit & a fuse box?
A consumer unit and a fuse box both distribute power around your house via a number of electrical circuits.
When there’s a power surge, your consumer unit will instantly shut off the electricity on that circuit via a circuit breaker, we call this ‘tripping’. A tripped circuit breaker is easily identifiable, with the switch being in the OFF position.
Once the cause is identified and resolved, the circuit breaker can be switched back on and the power will be restored.
A fuse box uses a fuse instead if a circuit breaker. When there’s an electrical overload the fuse wire melts, that in turn makes the circuit trip. A consumer board makes fault finding easier because unlike a fuse box, you won’t need to replace the fuse before the power will go on.
Consumer boards are considered a safer, one of the reasons a fuse box is no longer compliant with current electrical regulations.
But should you replace your fuse box with a consumer unit straight away?
When should you replace your
fuse box with a consumer board?
There are four main reasons you should replace your fuse box:
- Old fuse boxes don’t have RCDs. RCDs are precise, spotting current leakage between 5-30mA and disconnecting in under 300ms. It could save your life.
- If you are having issues with sockets or if lights in the house are flickering, it could be a sign that it’s time to install a consumer board.
- Some fuse boxes use unsafe materials such as wooden backed fuse boxes or if there are asbestos flash guards installed.
- If your fuse box is over 10 years old and it hasn’t been checked since you moved in/bought the property.
Which consumer unit should I choose for my home?
Depending on your electrical needs, Shrewsbury Electricians offer a range of different consumer units to replace your old fuse box. Let’s take a look at the alternatives.
Main Switch Consumer Unit
A main switch consumer unit has a single central switch controlling the mains electricity from the meter to the consumer unit. When the power is tripped the switch will move to the off position, and will require manually resetting once the faulty circuit has been identified.
This type of consumer unit is usually found in one storey houses or flats.
Dual RCD Consumer Unit
A dual RCD consumer unit, also known as a residual current device consumer unit, splits a load across two circuits. As opposed a main switch consumer unit, this device makes it possible for part of a house to still have electricity after one of the breakers has tripped.
This unit is ideal for multi-storey homes.
High Integrity Consumer Unit
High integrity consumer units are now a very popular choice because it allows all circuits to operate independently. If one circuit goes off, the rest of the house continues to have uninterrupted power.
What’s the cost of an
electrical consumer unit?
How much it costs to replace a fuse box with modern consumer unit depends on a) the size of the house and b) how many circuits are involved. In a typical three-bedroom house you might expect six circuits. If there is nothing wrong with the wiring of the property then it will take around 2 hours to install the consumer unit and up to half a day for testing.
We’ve outlined some typical prices below for replacing a consumer unit in Shrewsbury and Shropshire:
6 circuit consumer unit
10 circuit consumer unit
12 circuit consumer unit
The team carried out various electrical works at our property all to high standard. We will be definitely using Shrewsbury Electricians again.
Shrewsbury Electricians carried out a test and inspection at my rental property, they arrived on time and were very friendly. I received the certificate the following day.
Very pleased with the job. All completed to a high standard. Professional workmen, both reliable and friendly. I would highly recommend Shrewsbury Electricians.
Shrewsbury Electricians offer a wide range of support for our domestic and commercial clients in Shrewsbury and Shropshire:
Fuse board and consumer unit upgrades
Wiring, re-wiring and extension wiring in old and new buildings
Electric underfloor heating and air conditioning
Electric showers, boiler wiring and storage heaters
How to choose the right electrician to replace your old fuse box with a consumer unit?
We’re usually able to make all callouts in a timely manner but Shropshire is a big county. On the rare occasion we turn a job down we’ll often get asked ‘can you suggest the best electrician to upgrade my fuse box to a consumer unit?’ We might be able to make a few suggestions of trusted electricians in your area, but if even so, here’s some important points to look out for.