Consumer Units Upgrades in 2016
You may know a consumer unit being more commonly referred to as a “fusebox” , however this term is now dated because modern consumer units do not use fuses in the conventional sense. Old consumer units reply on fuses which use fuse wire, the wires thickness effectively was used to gauge what amperage the fuse wire would break the circuit, not a very safe system in todays world and would never prevent you getting an electric shock or being electrocuted.
In 2016 technology has given consumer units some potentially life saving enhancements. If you life in a modern home you may have experienced your lights suddenly going out for no obvious reason, well that is until you reset the breaker and find a bulb had blown. This instant reaction to isolate the circuit when it detects changes in the voltage is the very same reaction that could save your life because the millisecond the consumer board detects the change in voltage, which is what would happen if you got an electric shock, the unit immediately isolates and switches off that circuit.
Modern consumer units use what are called RCD’s, which is short for residual current devices, long gone are the unreliable fuse wire fuses. If you do any gardening with electrical equipment you may even have an RCD plug fitted to a socket outlet for such equipment. A fixed RCD provides the highest level of safety offering much more protection than a circuit breaker based consumer unit.
The real difference is reaction time, if you touch a bare wire an RCD the path of the flow of electricity changes, it is this change that an RCD detects and let us explain how this can save your life.
The instantaneous reaction by the RCD immediately limits your exposure to the current, this of course is a very good thing, the longer you are exposed to the current, the more serious things can get. It is even possible to fix sockets with built in RCD protection more even greater safety, especially handy for bathrooms if you have a socket for an electric razor for example. This added safety should not be taken for granted and you must not become complacent regarding electrical safety but it does give you considerably more peace of mind than a non RCD consumer unit.
Do I need To Upgrade My Consumer Unit ?
This is a hard question to answer without seeing it, if you still have the old style fuse wire type “fusebox” , yes, it would be time to upgrade however any home still using such a system may require the wiring to be checked as well as a precaution. If your consumer unit has not been changed in the last 10 years then an upgrade to a newer RCD or high integrity unit would certainly be a big step up in electrical safety within your home. If you are in any doubt we’d recommend you call us to have a look at your existing consumer unit, a more modern unit would use a circuit breaker set up but this does not offer the protection of an RCD unit, indeed it is possible to have a dual split load RCD consumer unit uses 2 RCD’s.
We’re here to help, if you’d like some information about increased safety consumer units please do not hesitate to call us on 01224 798951 to discuss your queries.