Are you considering upgrading your consumer unit? Upgrading your consumer unit can significantly increase the electrical safety of your property as well as increase the value if you are looking at selling your property. All consumer units upgrades come with all the relevant documentation and certification to prove your electrical installation meets current electrical wiring regulations BS7671.
We have compiled a short list of questions we are often asked when it comes to upgrading your consumer unit.
Q -What is a consumer unit?
A – A consumer unit, traditionally known as a fuse box is a series of MCB’s (miniature circuit breakers) that can turn on or off electrical circuits within your home or business. MCB’s are designed to trip (turn off) under fault conditions for example if you were to have a water leak or flood in your property, you damage a cable or you overload a circuit.
Q -What is involved in a consumer unit upgrade
A- Step 1: We have to determine the current condition of the installation, this would typically be done by undertaking a EICR (Electrical installation condition report) or for more modern basic/smaller installation this could be done via a number of individual checks, tests and inspections. This would either be done on the morning of the works or a separate booking may be made for the EICR.
Once the checks have been undertaken our engineers will notify you if the installation is safe to undertake the upgrade. If the installation is deemed unsafe our engineers will notify you of the issues and a quotation would be issued to rectify the defects.
Step 2: Isolation of the power supply so that our engineers can safely remove the existing consumer unit or fuse box. Great care is taken to identify and label each cable
Step 3: Installation of the new consumer RCD protected consumer unit. It’s often the case that the existing cables are not long enough to reach the new consumer unit connections as the modern consumer units are considerably larger than most of the old types, if this is the case the existing cables would be extended within cable trunking that will surround your consumer unit and provide easy access for any future wiring installations.
Step 4: Check connections in all lighting, sockets and switching accessories throughout the property. This would typically be undertaken by the Electricians assistant whilst the consumer unit is being exchanged.
Step 5: Re-energise the new consumer unit & final electrical test undertaken and issue of EIC & Building compliance certificate.
Q- How much does it cost to upgrade my consumer unit?
A- Prices range from £450-£600 depending on the condition of the installation. You may also add additional items to your consumer unit upgrade such as smoke detection or additional sockets and switches.
Q- How long does it take to upgrade my consumer unit?
A- We would typically schedule 1-2 Days depending on the condition of the installation whilst upgrading the consumer unit this is also a great time to add additional safety items such as mains powered smoke detectors or additional lighting or sockets.
Q- How much mess or disruption is caused when upgrading my consumer unit?
A- Upgrading a consumer unit typically would not cause too much mess as the majority of the mess is contained to one area. Any work that will cause disruption or mess to any plastering or fabric of the building will be notified before work commences. Consumer unit upgrades can start to get more disruptive if the unit needs locating to a new position within the property.
Q- Is there anything we as the customer should do before the works are undertaken?
A- Make sure any Computers (PC) are shut down before work commences. Make sure we have plenty of work space around the consumer unit or if the consumer unit is in a cupboard make sure we can easily access the consumer unit.
Q- Can the consumer unit be relocated?
A- Yes it can depending on where you would like it moving too. This typically increases the price of the consumer unit upgrade. Also bare in mind that electrical contractors can not relocate the electrical meters, to relocate an electrical meter you would need to contact your electricity provider.
Q- How long will the power be off?
A- Assume the power will be off for the duration of the works 1-2 days. If it is critical that you have power whilst the work is undertaken we can install a temporary power supply.
Q- Will I receive an electrical certificate for the work?
A- Yes you certainly will. Once the works are complete you will receive an Electrical installation certificate (EIC) along with a building compliance certificate(Part P). This documentation should be kept somewhere safe for any future works on the installation and you would also need them if you were to sell or rent your property.