Why upgrade your fusebox

As a Qualified Electrician I frequently get asked two questions:

  1. Do I need a new fusebox?
  2. Why do I need a new fusebox?

My answer is simple:

Providing your electrical installation is electrical safe and meets the current BS7671 requirements for an electrical installation then you won’t need to upgrade.  Of course it’s very difficult to ascertain this information just by “looking” at your installation without testing, so the best way to check is to carry out an Electrical Inspection on your property.

There is however some tell-tale signs that you would benefit from upgrading your fuse box, these being:

  • You have an old fusebox with a wooden back, cast iron switches, or a haphazard mixture of both – these will need replacing, for your own safety.
  • You don’t have any provision of residual current devices (RCDs) for wiring buried in the walls, sockets circuits and outlets that may be used to plug in outdoor electrical equipment.
  • You are planning a building or improvement project such as a new electric shower, Solar PV, an extension or an attic conversion and additional wiring and new circuits will need to be installed.

Rewireable fuseboxes are frequently overloaded

Rewireable fuseboxes are frequently overloaded and should be replaced – for your safety

Some older installations will naturally benefit from an upgrade – for example if you home or office has expanded over time and you have accumulated lots of fuseboxes, which could be nicely integrated into a single unit for ease and manageability.

A professionally installed & certified 17th edition consumer unit WILL improve your electrical safety.  I believe this so much that I even upgraded my own fusebox to ensure the best electrical safety for me and my family!

Why did I upgrade my fusebox?

You may think that all electricians upgrade fuseboxes simply for the “fun of it” or because they “feel like it” – you couldn’t be more wrong, no one likes to generate extra work for themselves, especially on their own property!

My home is only 6 years old, it was built and installed to the 16th edition wiring regulations and therefore had a single RCD installed for the shower and socket circuits only.  I wanted to upgrade to a consumer unit to ensure 100% RCD protection for all circuits as well as leaving room for expandability – as you never know what the future may bring!

17th Edition Consumer Unit

A New 17th Edition Consumer Unit with RCCBO’s

With a new addition to the family on its way, home improvements were being made and I wanted to ensure complete electrically safety for me and my family, as well as making a few additional provisions for outside electrics and specialist test sockets for the business (to ensure the quality and calibration of our testing instruments as well as component / system testing).

Because of this I opted for a consumer unit which would allow me to provide both MCB (circuit) and RCD (residual current) protection individually to each circuit via a combined device called an RCCBO (Residual Current Circuit Breaker with Overload protection).  One of these installed per circuit ensures that the affects of one circuit do not affect that of another – providing true independence.  This is important whilst I’m performing calibration tests and ensures I don’t disturb the rest of my home installation and my family.

17th Edition Consumer Unit

A New 17th Edition Consumer Unit with RCCBO’s

Is this a bit over the top?

Most new installations have 2 or 3 RCD’s installed controlling a selection of circuits, and its more common to install a combined unit (RCCBO) on a garage circuit or outside electrics to ensure these don’t trip the test of the home and cause unwanted tripping (especially with our wet winters!).  As I wanted complete independence this was the best solution for us.

When the RCD trips I can’t see anything?

Don’t worry – we have this covered, we usually give the option to install an emergency light near the new consumer unit which will last for 3 hours in case of a power failure – helping you to quickly located the ‘tripped’ circuit.

Expandability – didn’t you fill up the new consumer unit?

No, I try not to fill them up and leave a couple of spare ‘ways’.  Adding in additional consumer units (fuse boxes) is untidy and costly, you often lose an important single point of isolation as well (important to turn off your entire installation via a single switch or isolator).  I was also considering installing renewable technology such as Solar PV so wanted to ensure I left enough room for any future technologies.

If you have an old fusebox in need of upgrade, appointing a good qualified Electrician in Swindon costs less than you think – if you are considering any electrical upgrades or modifications from lighting to fuse boxes, feel free to contact us for good friendly honest advice.

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