Basics about understanding the condition of your fuse board

An introduction to fuse box

A fuse box is better known as a consumer unit or CU. The item is easy to find and this is the unit that controls as well as distributes electricity in your home. It is indeed important to know where the fuse box is located inside your home. You may have to switch off electric supply any moment in an emergency. If you are not aware about its location some crucial moments be lost and the magnitude of a damage may not be avoided. 

It is comprised of three things:

  • A main switch
  • Circuit breakers, also known as fuses and
  • RCDs or residual current devices

Main switch holds the mechanism by virtue of electricity supply to your home can be turned off. Modern homes usually have more than one main switch. In such cases you are also likely to have separate fuse boxes.

Circuit breakers are automatic protection devices you find inside a fuse box. Circuit breakers switch off an electrical circuit if and when they detect a fault. They are mostly the same in size as a fuse but are capable to provide more precise protection. When a circuit breaker trips all you have to do is reset the switch although it is important to correct the fault first.

RCDs or residual current devices are switches that trip a circuit on detecting an unnatural and unfavourable condition. In other words these components too like a main switch instantly disconnect electricity supply.

Rewire-able fuses have a tiny piece of special fuse wire placed between two screws. In case of a fault or current overloading the fuse wire becomes hot and melts. As a result of the melted fuse wire the circuit breaks. This is how it disconnects a faulty circuit to keep you safe from electrical fires and shocks.

When was the last time you checked the condition of your fuse box?

The fuse box or consumer unit installed in your home electric system is much like the engine of a car. The entire lighting, heating and power supply across your home run because of the fuse box, explains a qualified tradesman dealing in fuse board replacement over the years. The electrical system in your home relies on the fuse box or consumer unit to continue operating safely. When the fuse blows you sit in darkness without any TV, Wi-Fi, heating system or hot water.

Time for your replacement fuse board

A new fuse box is certainly not a display object in your home. Usually it is tucked away inside a dark cupboard under the staircase and thus it is too easy to forget and ignore. Many people even take it for granted; since it there for the last thirty years and functioning smoothly it must be alright. Only when extra works are needed to be done – like adding an new socket – the truth comes to light that the device is now too old to continue working.

If the truth is to be told, technology related to electricity has moved light-years ahead in last three decades. A small example will make this truth more elaborate. When rewire-able fuse first made its appearance, everybody was over satisfied because it could blow up within 5 seconds flat. In contrast to that modern circuit breakers as well as RCDs trip within 0.4 parts of a second. Thus the safety aspect related to electricity has improved massively and this upgrade is more relevant for older installations where electrical faults can trigger incidents of fire.

All new CUs (consumer units) are fire-rated

In the older times consumer units were made of wood. The units had wooden backing with Bakelite cover on top. If your home has any such consumer unit still installed just get it removed immediately without any more delay. This is not a fire-rated consumer unit. Every modern CU comes with a fire rating. Make sure to install these modern consumer units replacing the older ones.

What else should I consider?

Ease of use is something no one can afford to ignore. In case of blown fuses it is indeed very difficult for ordinary people to locate the blown fuse from among the lot. But with the introduction of fire-rated consumer units things are unbelievably easy to get done. The modern CUs have circuit breakers and RCD trip switches. Thus you can instantly point out which circuit has tripped. And just by operating a switch the affected circuit is up and running again.

4 indicators that prompt you an upgrade

  • Fuse board age – if a fuse board has not been changed in the last 20 years then chances are high that it does not comply with the latest regulations any more. And so it may not also provide you with the basic protection. Both safety and technology associated with consumer units have reached towering heights in the last 30 years from the perspectives of fire protection and shock to ease of use.
  • RCD in consumer units – it is important that your consumer unit must have an RCD or residual current device.  Modern consumers units come with this facility and the device or RCD boosts the safety of your home to a massive level, says a qualified professional dealing in fuse box upgrade over the years.
  • Exposed live parts – if the fuse board has its parts exposed or has fuse holders or blanking plates missing then it is high time to get the board replaced.
  • Risk of fire – if your fuse board is made of wood or plastic then chances are pretty low that it meets fire regulations. Many consumer units are installed by the front door or in a cupboard under the staircase. In many households those cupboards are used to store inflammable objects.

Be aware of these probable conditions to avoid an untoward turn of events related to electricity at home. Consult our licensed and skilled electricians today to be on the safer side.

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