Your consumer unit is like a brain for your home; it can manage and control any functional problem in wiring and also can save your life!
But like anything else, it needs regular checking for itself. Your domestic consumer unit should be checked at least each decade, it’s your decision to check it sooner, but the limit is every ten years.
This regular checking would be more important if you want to buy or sell a property. Remember that as long as you didn’t check the unit, bank mortgage providers will not complete your sell request.
It is not just for the landlords to check the consumer unit; if you want to rent an apartment or a household, it would be best if you check the consumer unit before moving in to ensure the building is safe for living.
Sometimes, you need to change the consumer unit with a new one!
There are several specific rules for building apartments and houses, and electrical works have some too. The laws upgrade with new technologies to make our lives easier; consumer units are not exceptional. The old units didn’t have RCD or residual current devices. RCD switches help you trip a circuit under risky situations like flooding and construction. Without this option, your life is in danger because of the possibility of electrical fire and shock.
Talking about safety led me to say about consumer unit material. Plastic units are different from metal-clad consumer units. Maybe you should think your plastic unit is a good one and probably a safer option because they are commonly used all over the country, and plastic is safe to use with electricity, but nope!
If an electrical fire happens, it starts from your consumer unit. So, if you upgrade your plastic unit with the metal one, fire cannot reach the other parts of the house. Plastic cannot resist heat.
You should consider the regulations
As we said before, regulations and laws exist to save lives and prevent damage. RCD switches are one of the “should have” rules for consumer unit replacement. Also, if you still don’t know anything about different types of consumer units. Please keep reading this post; I will inform you more about units.
Electrical installation certificates can also help you recognise electrical bugs and probably risky wiring issues to prevent electrical fires.
In EIC, there are some comments sections with C1, C2 and F1 classification codes.
Besides your consideration, installers and electrical contractors are reminded of some kind of requirement in Britain named BS 7671 that includes:
- Regulation number 12: cutting off the supply power and isolating the environment
- Regulation number 13: precautions for work
- Regulation number 14: work near live conductors to prevent the electrical shocks
How many types of consumer units are used?
- Main Switch
This kind of consumer unit supply all protection devices except the main switch, and because of that, it is named “main switch”. It also theoretically could be populated by the residual current device (RCD) and mini circuit breakers, so-called MCB.
We recommend this kind of consumer unit as the best circuit protection solution. It protects each circuit from overload and earth outflow.
- Dual RCD
Remember how RCD’s played an essential life-saving role in dangerous conditions? So, the good news is there’s some kind of consumer unit that has 2 of them! It offers a cheaper option with the main switch and two RCDs.
Circuit design and installation patter have a significant effect in using dual RCD. You or the electrician should put all the lighting wires on the RCD, an earth leakage fault.
- High Integrity Unit
Have You ever heard of all-in-one computers? So high integrity consumer units are exactly like them. How?
Using RCBOs and two banks of a mini circuit breaker makes the high integrity consumer unit the most effective standard protection for your house.
It also became so popular among electricians because of the easy circuit design. It also offers the best protection without breaking the bank, isn’t it wonderful?
But remember, they are reasonable for large areas requiring more than 12 circuits.
- RCD Incomer
This one is special in non-domestic areas like workstations and parks. Offices and garages. Because RCD incomer consumer units require a small number of circuits.
Unlike the other types, this type doesn’t have a main switch, but the mainboard is handled by one RCD switch that prevents electrical fires. The one RCD will control all the electricity, and because of the small number of circuits (under 10), it doesn’t cause any problem for your property.
This means if a problem occurs in one circuit, the other circuits also will be knocked out and, in complex cases, it means if an electrical fire starts in one course, the other ones are on fire too!
Electrical consumer unit replacement is a critical job, and it would be better if done by professionals. Also, the electrical works need years of education, which can’t happen over a video on YouTube or Instagram. So be conscious about your consumer unit situation and consultant with an electrician before doing ant thing.
If you have any questions about the right choice for your property or don’t know how to replace an old consumer unit with the new one, our experienced electricians in Electric Works London are there for helping you.