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Consumer Unit Upgrades

New consumer unit with SPD
If you have a consumer unit that was installed when your home was built or it looks like one of these examples, you may benefit from having your consumer unit upgraded. If you are not sure what you are looking at, compare your fusebox with the pictures below or send us a picture, we are happy to explain what you do or don't have installed.

Typical Older Style Consumer Unit Examples

Click on the images below for more info on each consumer unit

MEM Fusebox circa 1950's Old Wylex BS3036 consumer unit Push Button MCB's Switch Operated MCB's MEM Metalclad Fusebox open view Wooden fusebox with cermic fuses Metal fusebox with re-wireable fuses Metal fusebox with re-wireable fuses

Why would you need to upgrade your Consumer Unit (Fusebox)?

  • Your existing consumer unit does not provide RCD protection
  • You are having some other electrical work carried out and the existing consumer unit is not large enough to fit the new circuits in.
  • Your existing consumer unit has overheated or has been damaged
  • You do not want rewireable fuses or would like a modern consumer unit
  • You are in an area that is prone to Over voltages or Surges & would benefit from a Surge Protective Device (SPD)
  • You require Arc Fault Detection Devices (AFDD's)
  • You have had a PIR, EICR or Surveyors Report which states the consumer unit requires replacement.
  • Safety Concerns

The above points may have been raised by another tradesperson in your home such as a Surveyor, Architect, Builder or Plumber if you are having, seemingly unrelated building work carried out.

If you are thinking of replacing your old Consumer Unit (Fusebox) it is important to ensure that this safety critical job is completed by a competent electrician who is registered with one of the competent person schemes such as the NIC-EIC and is able to self certify the work to Part P of the building regulations. Too often, we are asked to certificate work carried out by others who were unable to provide the necessary certification for electrical work and have then refused to provide the paperwork or will not return calls/emails about the missing certification - They have always been paid at this point thus costing you the customer more in the end.

Please DO NOT be tempted into employing anyone who is not a qualified electrician to carry out electrical work in your home. It’s not just the price that counts, competent electricians such as DC Electrix will be fully qualified, Part P compliant, insured to do the job and provide an insurance backed guarantee on the work carried out under part P of the building regulations, you will recieve an electrical installation certificate and a building regulations compliance certificate.

Think of your fuse board as the electrical heart of your home – it's the main line through which all power flows into your home. If the job is carried out incorrectly, your home could be in a dangerous condition you and your family may then be at risk from electrical harm, this may not be immediately obvious or even visible to you.

Unfortunately it's relatively easy to make an electrical installation appear to work, it is more complicated to ensure it is working safetly and will turn off under fault conditions.

When looking to replace a consumer unit, there are many things we take into consideration and allow to correct and upgrade:

  • Is the distributors meter and cutout in a safe condition (The distributor will repair with no fees, but may delay the work being carried out)
  • Is the incoming supply sufficient for the current and proposed loading?
  • Are the incoming services such as Gas, Water, Oil or LPG bonded satisfactorily? Is the main earthing adequate?
  • Are more circuits required?
  • Is the consumer unit in an appropriate position?
  • Does the customer require a basic upgrade or require a higher specification consumer unit
  • Do the outgoing circuits require upgrade or repair to comply with regulations for continued safe use?

A new consumer unit is now easily resettable meaning no scrabbling for the fuse wire and torch, or wondering if you have a spare fuse available. It will also often smarten up that meter cupboard as we always endeavour to tidy up the inevitable extra wires and possible cluster of different age fuse boxes that have been added over the years. Not only making life easier, smartening up your home and adding value when it comes to re-selling, it is likely to add significant safety features not present in your older unit.

Certificate on clipboard

In addition to the above advantages, we will test your existing wiring and upgrade your earthing (install new if required), provide an electrical installation certificate and advise on any non compliances found during the testing and inspection. The testing and inspection is arguably the most important part of the consumer unit change, it is by far the most time consuming element of the job. Each circuit has to be isolated, and several tests carried out at each socket, switch and light fitting accross the entire installation. This often locates faults or incorrect wiring that has been added since the installation was originally installed. Invariably the original wiring will be of the standard expected at the time of installation be that 1960 or five years ago. Experience tells us what will need doing to bring the existing wiring up to current standards, unfortunately it is often additions and alterations carried out by DIY'ers or multi skilled tradesmen that cause the biggest issues as they may not be safe to be reconnected. We will always discuss any issues as they arise and work with you to repair or replace non-compliant wiring. This is why we always advise using a competent electrician for any electrical work.

Finally, once the job has been completed and your electrical installation has been upgraded we will notify your job under Part P of the building regulations, this means we notify the NIC-EIC who pass this information on to your local council who issue a Building Regulations Compliance Certificate showing the work complies with building regulations.

We complete an Electrical Installation Certificate which is approximately 5 pages of observations and test results, this is sent out to you (we advise you file this safely for future reference). You will also receive a laminated schedule of circuits which should be displayed by your new consumer unit, this details what each circuit does and technical details of the wiring.