A fuse board replacement will offer additional protection from electrocution and fire. The older models were designed to protect the cables from becoming overloaded and posing a fire risk.
Five reasons you might need a replacement fuse board
- You need a new circuit installing and your fuse board has no spare way.
- You want an electric shower installed and have no RCD protection.
- Parts for the existing unit are no longer available new.
- Loft, kitchen or extension plans list new circuits stating a new unit will be necessary.
4 things you should know before a new fuse board is replaced
- Any estimate you have been given will be based on everything going to plan. Hopefully everything will be OK, but if it’s not, you should be prepared for further delay and possibly expense.
- Power for the whole installation is typically off for a couple of hours. It’s worth bearing in mind if you have a freezer full or need broadband connectivity to work from home.
- Check the person you are about to hire is with a trade body using the Competent Person Register. It means you will get the certificates you need, they are insured and checked for competence annually.
- If you have any faulty appliances or (broken outside lights) it might cause your new fuse board to trip. Fuse boards without rcd protection were only designed to protect the cables from overloading. Your new consumer unit will protect against earth faults (that is electricity going somewhere it shouldn’t) to help prevent electrocution and fire.
How much does a replacement fuse board cost?
This will vary depending on where you live in the UK. Other factors include its location, the number of circuits, and existing wiring. Arriving with a replacement and starting the job means banking on no problems. Trade bodies such as NICEIC and some electricians in Cardiff recommend an eicr before replacing an older fuse board with a modern rcd consumer unit. More so in older parts like Cathays, Splott, Pontcanna and Roath. If the results aren’t good; the customer will know what’s necessary to resolve them. My fee starts at £450 .
Things that increase the cost of replacing fuse boards
- Being boxed in. Box sections may need removing or cutting to allow replacement. The latest consumer units are heavier, wider and deeper than previous plastic models. The hinged door can add 100 mm of depth. Properties built after 2000 in Cardiff typically have a lot of plasterboard walls and getting a secure fixing can sometimes be a challenge.
- The wiring isn’t long enough. The supply from your energy providers meter will connect to the main switch inside your new unit. Meter tails cut to the required length at the time of original installation might not be long enough. If so, new ones will be necessary adding to the cost of your new AMD3 model. The wiring supplying your lights, sockets, shower etc may need altering. Up-to-date models can be larger than previous units requiring a different location. Consumer unit manufacturers have circuit protection in different layouts. Extending wiring adds to labour costs and consumables.
- Earthing and bonding isn’t up-to-date. This needs to be in place before any amendments or alterations. Domestic properties in South Glamorgan have metallic gas pipes. Water pipes in older parts like Cathays, Roath and Splott isn’t uncommon. In these cases they need to be connected to the consumer unit via a thick, green and yellow cable. If you don’t have one or it doesn’t test out OK; it will need updating. Power lines can enter the property overhead in rural areas. Home-owners need to make arrangements for their own earth connection. An earth rod outside the property being the usual way to resolve this.
- The lighting circuit doesn’t have an earth wire. Most light fittings require an earth connection. If your consumer unit wiring doesn’t have one; metallic fittings and switches aren’t permitted.
- The wiring for the socket circuits isn’t complete. The circuit design for socket outlets requires the wiring to be a continuous ring. A common occurrence requiring additional fault-finding.
- A combined neutral and earth wire on the lighting circuit. Older non-rcd fuse boards will not see this as a fault. The later models do and will not stay on as long as this fault exists.
- Residual earth leakage. Faulty appliances (and wiring) allow current to leak from live conductors to earth. RCDs present in the latest consumer units will trip removing the power to protect us. Fuse wire and miniature circuit breaker boards don’t see this fault not being designed to do so.
- Five circuit breakers can become eight. Additions over time can mean several circuits connect to one breaker. Replacing with a larger consumer unit will resolve this.
- The location of your electric meter. Restricted access will increase working time and therefore cost.
What happens on the day I replace your fuse board
- All power in the property is switched off whilst work is being carried out.
- Wiring for lights, sockets, cooker, shower etc is removed from the old fuse board.
- The fuse board is removed from the wall.
- The new consumer unit is fixed to the wall and the circuit protection installed.
- Dead tests on the circuits are carried out.
- The wiring is connected to the new circuit board.
- Final tests are made before energising the installation.
- Power is restored.
- Final (live) tests are carried out.
- Electrical Installation and Part P certificates are generated .
If you live in Cardiff, Penarth or Dinas Powys and need a replacement fuse board, please get in contact with me.