Why you should replace your outdated consumer unit (fuse box)
Older consumer units (fuse boxes) do not take advantage of the benefits associated with using RCDs. An RCD (Residual Current Device) protects against shocks to people and animals. Older consumer units without RCDs have re-wireable fuses or MCBs (circuit breakers) only, which protect the cables in your home or business from overheating, but they do not protect you against electric shock!
An RCD can detect when electricity passes from the normal electrical system into a part of the system where electricity is not supposed to be, including into you! This could happen when a cable is damaged or overheats, when a nail is hammered into a wall, or when water gets into the electrical system.
The following information about RCDs is from the Electrical Safety Council Website (click here to be redirected to the ESC site).
RCD protection will switch off the electricity in a fraction of a second if you get an electric shock. Having a modern consumer unit fitted with RCDs gives you the best protection because they usually cover all the wiring, sockets and appliances in your home.
Every year in the UK about 70 people die and 1.2 million are injured in electrical accidents at home. The good news is that many injuries and deaths could be prevented by having RCD protection by getting one installed in your consumer unit (fusebox).
Check whether your consumer unit has RCD protection by looking for the ‘T’ button and label stating ‘test quarterly’. If you have only one RCD, great, but make sure it protects ALL your circuits. As of 2011 the new building regulations require ALL circuits to be protected, including lighting circuits.
If you only have one RCD, chances are the lighting in your home or office is not RCD protected.If you don’t have RCD protection on all your circuits, ask your electrician for a quote.Like a smoke detector, it could save your life.
Replacing an older consumer unit with a newer one that meets current building regulations and utilises RCD technology could save your life. Normally, consumer units can be replaced in one day, while testing the new systems could require a second day depending on the size of the installation.
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