It’s a good idea to keep your electrics up to date in the home, and that includes the fuse box – sometimes called the fuse board or consumer unit. If you’ve lived in your property for years, you may not have paid much attention to the fuse box, so it’s worth thinking about paying an expert to have a look at it now.

An ageing fuse box does not necessarily need to be replaced simply because it’s old, so don’t worry. Many fuse boxes still meet modern regulations. But how do you tell if yours has seen better days and needs to be replaced?

Don't attempt to change your own consumer unit

Don’t attempt to change your own consumer unit

Checking the Fuse Box

The only way to tell if your fuse box is in good health is to have a professional conduct a visual inspection and/or a full test. However, telltale signs could indicate a fuse box that is past its best. These include:

  • Old-fashioned fuses
  • Scorch or burn marks on the fuse board
  • Too many appliances running on one circuit (many modern homes have the kitchen on a separate circuit)

In order to inspect the fuse board, you might have to remove the cover.  Don’t touch anything and take sensible precautions. Even if you switch the power off, electricity is still entering the board.

The Benefits of a Replacement

Replacing a fuse board takes the best part of a day, so it’s not a trivial task, but the benefits are clear. In all cases, the upgrade will be an investment in your home that also offers peace of mind, and it will protect you against the kind of wear and tear that can cause unexpected problems.

Firstly, note that building regulations are changed surprisingly often in the UK. We see changes every year. If you’re selling your home, or have just moved in, the existing board may well pass modern regulations, but a new board future-proof your electrics for years to come (providing there are no faults).

Obviously, there are significant safety advantages. Modern fuse boxes contain two or more RCDs (residual current devices); these are responsible for the tripping mechanism that cuts out the supply automatically if there is a fault. The use of RCDs is not a requirement; they are not used in all settings anyway. But having RCDs is a massive safety advantage and RCDs have saved thousands of lives since they were introduced.

Additionally, modern fuses are designed to cut off extremely quickly – within a fraction of a second – so there’s less likelihood someone would get a shock if something went wrong.

Getting Your Consumer Unit Tested

MD Bespoke can inspect and replace fuse boxes in domestic properties around the Surrey and London area. We also issue Part P notifications so that your local authority is automatically notified that your electrics have been upgraded to the highest quality modern standards.

If you’re outside our catchment zone, you should be able to find a reputable company in your area. We always recommend using a contractor registered with NICEIC.