Consumer Unit

Top Considerations For Replacing Your Consumer Unit

At EJB Electrical, we prioritise your electrical safety and efficiency. One critical component in modern electrical systems is the consumer unit. In this guide, we’ll cover everything you need to know about consumer units, including when and why you might need to replace them and the costs involved.

Whether you’re searching for information on the cost of replacing a consumer unit or the difference between a fuse box and a consumer unit, we’ve got you covered.

What is a Consumer Unit?

A consumer unit, also known as a fuse box in older homes, is the main control centre for your electrical system. It distributes electricity throughout your home and protects you from electrical faults. Unlike the old fuse boxes that rely on fuse wires, modern consumer units use circuit breakers that trip when they detect an issue, offering quicker and safer protection.

Restoration of Power: Circuit breakers in consumer units simply require resetting, while fuse boxes need the fuse wire replaced.

Protection Speed: Consumer units react in milliseconds, significantly reducing the risk of electrical shock compared to the seconds it takes for a fuse to blow.

Do You Need to Replace Your Consumer Unit?

While an old fuse box isn’t inherently dangerous, there are several reasons to consider an upgrade:

  • Age of the Unit: Units older than 10 years may not comply with current safety standards.
  • Lack of RCDs: Residual Current Devices (RCDs) provide crucial protection against electrical shocks and are required in modern consumer units.
  • Visible Damage: Any signs of damage or wear indicate the need for a replacement.
  • Frequent Tripping: Regular tripping of your consumer unit suggests underlying electrical issues.
  • Major Electrical Work: Significant upgrades, like a full-house rewiring, often necessitate a new consumer unit.

Cost of Replacing a Consumer Unit

When considering the cost of replacing a consumer unit, several factors come into play that may effect the cost. Here’s a breakdown of typical consumer unit costs:

  • Fuse Board Replacement Cost: From £900 + VAT
  • Consumer Unit Change Cost: From £900 + VAT
  • Cost of Replacing a Consumer Unit: From £900 + VAT
  • Consumer Unit Installation Cost: From £900 + VAT

These costs include the unit itself and professional installation. Always ensure you hire a qualified consumer unit installer for this task.

Types of Consumer Units

Consumer units come in various types, each designed to cater to different needs:

  • Main Switch Consumer Units: Control the main supply of electricity in your home.
  • High Integrity Consumer Units: Provide separate circuits for critical appliances, offering extra safety.
  • RCD Protection Consumer Units: Ensure all circuits are protected by an RCD.

Wiring a Consumer Unit in the UK

Wiring a consumer unit in the UK involves connecting various electrical circuits in your home to the consumer unit, which then distributes electricity and provides protection. This task must be done by a qualified electrician to ensure safety and compliance with UK electrical regulations. Proper wiring ensures that each circuit has the correct level of protection and that the system functions efficiently.

The Replacement Process

Replacing a consumer unit involves several steps to ensure safety and compliance with regulations:

  1. Visual Inspection: Initial check to assess the condition of your current installation.
  2. Earthing and Bonding Checks: Ensuring your earthing and bonding comply with regulations.
  3. EICR (Electrical Installation Condition Report): Detailed report highlighting any electrical issues.
  4. Remedial Work: Addressing any issues found during inspections.
  5. Installation: Removing the old unit and installing the new one.
  6. Testing: Comprehensive testing to ensure everything is functioning correctly.
  7. Certification: Issuance of an Electrical Installation Certificate and Building Regulations Compliance Certificate.

Regulatory Compliance

In the UK, replacing a consumer unit is classified as notifiable work under Part P of the Building Regulations. This means:

  • You must notify your local authority building control before the work starts, or
  • Hire a Part P registered electrician who can self-certify the work and provide necessary certificates.

Failure to comply can result in fines and the local authority requiring the work to be redone.

Frequently Asked Questions

Should I replace my consumer unit myself? No, this is a complex and hazardous task that should only be performed by a qualified electrician.

Will your power be off during the replacement? Yes, your power will be switched off for the duration of the replacement.

How long does it take to replace a consumer unit? If the project doesn’t require any additional work, then typically, between half to a full day worth of work, including testing and any necessary fault-finding.

Do I need to contact my energy supplier before replacing my consumer unit? Only if you do not have an isolator switch. Without one, you’ll need your supplier to disconnect your electricity supply during the work.

Electrical Safety

Ensuring your electrical system’s safety is paramount. Modern consumer units adhere to stringent electrical regulations, providing superior protection compared to older fuse boxes. They include protective devices like RCDs that quickly disconnect power to prevent electric shocks and fires. Find out more about our electrical services here

Understanding Consumer Unit Costs

When considering the cost of replacing a consumer unit, you should expect to pay around £900 + VAT, including the unit itself and professional installation. Factors influencing the cost include the type of consumer unit, installation complexity and any required remedial work. For example, if your current wiring system is outdated or damaged, additional work may be needed to bring it up to standard.

Example: Upgrading to a High Integrity Consumer Unit

Let’s say you’re upgrading to a high integrity consumer unit. This type of unit offers separate circuits for critical appliances, providing extra safety. The upgrade might cost more than a standard unit, but the added protection is worth the investment. The cost of replacing such a consumer unit typically ranges from £900 + VAT, depending on the complexity of the installation.

Consumer Box Electrical Systems

A consumer box electrical system is designed to manage and distribute electricity throughout your home efficiently. It includes protective devices such as circuit breakers and RCDs, which help prevent electrical faults and ensure the safety of your electrical circuits. Proper maintenance and timely upgrades of your consumer box electrical system are crucial for maintaining electrical safety and efficiency.

Regulatory Compliance and Building Control

In the UK, any work involving the replacement of a consumer unit must comply with Part P of the Building Regulations. This ensures that all electrical work is carried out safely and meets the required standards. Hiring a Part P registered electrician means they can self-certify their work, saving you the hassle of notifying your local building control.

Cost to Replace a Fuse Box

If you still have an old fuse box, the cost to replace it with a modern consumer unit is similar to the cost of replacing a consumer unit. You can expect to pay around £900 + VAT, unless extra work is required. The process involves removing the old fuse box, installing a new consumer unit, and ensuring all electrical circuits are properly connected and protected.

Residual Current Device (RCD) Protection

RCDs are vital for electrical safety. They detect and quickly disconnect power in the event of a fault, preventing electric shocks and fires. Modern consumer units are equipped with RCDs to ensure the highest level of protection for your electrical system. This protective device is far superior to the old fuse wire systems used in traditional fuse boxes.

High Integrity Consumer Units

High integrity consumer units provide enhanced protection by offering separate circuits for critical appliances. This ensures that essential devices, such as medical equipment or refrigeration units, continue to operate even if other circuits trip. Upgrading to a high integrity consumer unit can significantly improve the safety and reliability of your electrical system.

Replacing a Fuse Box

Replacing a fuse box with a modern consumer unit involves several steps, including a visual inspection, earthing and bonding checks, and an EICR. The cost of replacing a fuse box is around £900 + VAT, depending on the complexity of the installation and any necessary remedial work.

Contact EJB Electrical Today!

Phone: 01279 939 600


Final Thoughts

Upgrading your consumer unit is not just about compliance; it’s about ensuring the safety and efficiency of your home’s electrical system. At EJB Electrical, we prioritise your safety and peace of mind. If you have any questions or need our services, don’t hesitate to reach out.

Tags: No tags

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *