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Consumer Unit Timers???

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Riverbolt

from United Kingdom

Joined: 12 Aug 2009
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Location: Manchester,
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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 9:33 pm Reply with quote

Hi all,

I've got a little problem and I was wondering if anybody could help. I am a small time landlord and recently some new tenants moved in to one of my properties. I always thought that the water heating in this property was a switch on immersion untimed with a stat. The switch is in the cupboard in the bathroom. They are claiming that there is some sort of timer in the property. They are saying that the water is hot during the day and they don't want to be paying unnecessarily for this. The previous tenant said that it was an on/off immersion switch. So I asked them to point out where the timer was and they directed me to the Consumer Unit. Underneath where the electricity comes into the building, there are two timers and neither I nor the tenants know what they are for. I was wondering if anybody out there has any idea what they are. Having done a little research on the internet I am wondering if they are Consumer Unit Timers. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Riverbolt

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securespark

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:54 pm Reply with quote

Switch the timers off & see what stops working...
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Steve

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 10:57 pm Reply with quote

A consumer unit timer sits inside a consumer unit. By the way you dont have a consumer unit, you have fuse boxes which are out of date and badly supplied. Does the property have an electrical safety certificate or similar?

Anyhow, it looks like there's 2 circuits off the bottom fusebox with individual timers. Those timers are old sanagmo timers and should last forever. icon_wink.gif

Hard to tell the exact setup without seeing the wires behind.
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Taylortwocities

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PostPosted: Wed Aug 12, 2009 11:03 pm Reply with quote

Steve wrote:
Those timers are old sanagmo timers and should last forever. icon_wink.gif



Although the left had one does not seem to have any off/on cams on it. And the two timers are set to different times.

Needs a sort out, need to be there, really.
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Riverbolt

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:29 am Reply with quote

Thanks for the replies. I was just thinking even if they were immersion timers they surely couldn't turn on the immersion unless it was on at the switch as well. But I think it does require an electrician to come out and have a look.

Riverrun
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bernardgreen

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:39 am Reply with quote

I too am a landlord in that I rent out a house that was left to me by a relative.

My advice to you is to get the electrical wiring inspected and any necessary remedial work carried out as soon as possible.

The fact that you are un-aware of how the immersion heaters are controlled shows a lack of necessary knowledge about the operation and safe managment of the electrical installation you as land lord are responsible for.
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stem

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:12 pm Reply with quote

I saw an almost identical looking installation in a house purchased by a friend of mine. The timeswitches were fed via rewirable fuses in a dedicated consumer unit to supply electric panel heaters. The two switches allowed different on & off times for the bedrooms and living room. He was told that it was installed as part of an electric heating system sometime during the late 1970's early 1980's he thinks by a company believed to be Swedish.

I would suggest that you have a look to see if any of the fuses in the consumer unit above the timeswitches are labelled, that might give you a start, then try removing the fuses and see if the timeswitches stop.

In the house my friend bought, the panel radiators had been removed, their FCU's replaced with ordinary 13A sockets, and the timeswitches set to permanently on.

Of course the timeswitches may not even be connected to the consumer unit above them.
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stem

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 1:21 pm Reply with quote

Steve wrote:
By the way you dont have a consumer unit, you have fuse boxes which are out of date and badly supplied.

Really? back in 1980 when I was at college, we wired up practice installations using the then new Wylex units and they were referred to as consumer units back then.

Also most of the suppliers still refer to them as consumer units

http://www.tlc-direct.co.uk/Main_Index/Consumer_Units_Index/Wylex_Rewireable/
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RF Lighting

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:52 pm Reply with quote

We were still using rewireable wylex's in the college workshops when I was there in 1997

Consumer unit / fuse box are really just all encompassing generic terms, and neither relates to a specific type of unit.

"Fuse box" is not listed in part 2 of BS7671:2008
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JohnD

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:11 pm Reply with quote

IIRC "Consumer Unit" was the name given to the thing with the Main Switch and the Fuses all in one

You remember the old cast-iron main switches and wooden fuseboxes before that.
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kevindgas

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 5:59 pm Reply with quote

you have 2 consumer units so i would presume you have night storage heating?
if that is the case i suspect that the timers operate the immersion and the other the storage heater/s
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Steve

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 6:32 pm Reply with quote

I dont think the electrons care after they have gone through that tangle of meter tails, crossing the front of the fuseboxes. They'll come out dizzy.
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ericmark

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 7:41 pm Reply with quote

Distribution units can be made with any suitable box and use any items inside but the person building them needs to certify they are suitable for purpose. The consumer unit is a type tested distribution unit and as such does not need the same paperwork as would be raised with a distribution unit but unlike the distribution unit has to be installed to manufactures instructions so will always contain MCB's or Fuses made by same manufacture as the box.

As to timers there could be a 101 reasons for them. However you should have a details plan showing what all fuses do and this should include items like timers and as already said if you have not got this then as land lord you should do something about getting it.

To have a PIR completed by someone with professional indemnity insurance will assist you in the future should anything go wrong and it is recommended to be done on change of occupant. (In case last one did something they should not have done) or if occupants don't change every 10 years. This will also help if the present ones do anything they should not as you have a record of how the house was when they moved in.

However with those fuse boxes you will get some code 4 reports and although you may not need to do things straight away they should be done before the next report is due.
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wundaboy

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PostPosted: Thu Aug 13, 2009 8:05 pm Reply with quote

If the calibration stickers on those Sangamo timers are anything to go by, that installation has been there since 1975. The solid green main earths would suggest its certainly pre 1978.

I can't quite make out whats going on with that black rubber looking cable to the right of the picture. It looks like a meter tail going into a 30a junction box, with a more modern grey meter tail coming out - I may be wrong. If that is the case though, that is not a safe situation, in fact its potentially very dangerous. It might be an idea to let us see a picture of that set up just to the right/in front of the fuse boxes for us to comment on it.

I would echo the other comments here and say that it would be a very good idea to get this installation checked out.
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Riverbolt

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Joined: 12 Aug 2009
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Location: Manchester,
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 16, 2009 11:11 am Reply with quote

Thanks for all of the replies here. I did get an electrician to look at it and he didn't like it. Now I am not an electrician myself so bear with me when I explain this, but I will try to pass on what he said.

Firstly with regard to the timers


The timer on the right wasn't working and the one on the left was. It was for the oil radiators in the property. The on off switch above the the timers turned both the timers off, so once that was turned off, it satisfied the tenants that they weren't using using electricity unknown to themselves. There was no labelling on anything.

However the electrician wasn't at all happy with what was going in the black box to the edge of the picture on the right. I think it is a situation like Wundaboy was saying, the wrong cables were going into the wrong junction box. Something about the electricity from the fuse box coming into a 30 amp junction box. I think he said it wasn't made for that. Bottom line it needs redoing.

Thanks for the comments

Riverbolt
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