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5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Consumer Units and Fuseboxes

5 Most Frequently Asked Questions about Consumer Units and Fuseboxes

  2013-02-19         sparksdirect         Advice » Consumer Units Advice

On our website, we have a wide range of Consumer Units both for domestic and for commercial/industrial use.

Usually, normal people buy them only once in their lifetime, unless the electrician or landlord does it for them, and then they never have to think about the fusebox (unless there's some problem with the electricity). If you come in our showroom in Archway our consultants will help you find out what's the best consumer unit for your needs.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the domestic/industrial consumer units.

1. What is a Consumer Unit?

A consumer unit, also called a fusebox or distribution board, is a vital component of the electrical supply system in a house, dividing the electrical power feed into subsidiary circuits while at the same time providing protection and circuit breakers for each of the circuits.

The consumer units are also sometimes called: circuit breaker panel, electrical panel, fuse board, breaker box, panelboard, breaker panel, power breaker, distribution board, service panel, and similar names. In simple terms, a fusebox is there to help prevent electrical fires or electrocution.

2. What is a Fusebox Composed Of?

A fusebox (consumer unit) is composed of the main switch, the fuses and/or circuit breakers, and the RCDs (Residual Current Devices).
  • The main switch allows you to turn off / on the electricity supply to your home. The RCDs are switches tripping a circuit under dangerous conditions, switching it off and disconnecting the electricity in such cases.
  • The circuit breakers are automatic protection devices that switch off a circuit if they detect a fault; they are similar to the fuses but give more precise protection.
  • The fuses have a piece of special fuse wire running between two screws - when a fault or overload current flows through the fuse wire, it becomes hot and melts, breaking the faulty circuit and keeping you safe.

3. What's the Best Deal for a Fusebox that You Have?

This is usually the first question people ask us. What's the best deal you have for a fusebox? We get this question so many times that we already know the best consumer unit deal, even though the code is quite complicated: the Hager VC712C1 17th Edition Distribution Board, 12 way coming with 2 RCDs, main switch, 10 breakers include - all for £60 + VAT. This consumer unit is according to the latest regulations and specifications, and it sells like hot cakes, both online and offline!

4. What Size is the Consumer Unit?

Size matters: the dimensions of a consumer unit need to be small since it needs to be mounted inside the wall, and in general the wall close to the entrance doesn't have much space to host large boxes. The best size, the general size of a domestic consumer unit, is 380mm width, 245mm height, and 105mm depth. Very small in size, yet including all the breakers and RCDs and switches you need for your electrical circuit!

5. Can I Install the Fusebox Myself?

Many over-zealous and DYI customers ask us this, and the response is NO! The fusebox / the consumer unit needs to be installed by a registered and qualified electrician, who then also needs to inspect it periodically (read more about it here).