Replacing Fuse Box - Is it needed?

Discussion in 'Electrics UK' started by House7000, 8 May 2015.

  1. House7000

    House7000

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    Hi all, just looking for a bit of advice. Currently got a MK Sentry consumer unit which states to "BS 5486 PT 13". Is it recommended that this be replaced with a new unit to current standards?

    I know in an ideal world everything would be to current standards but my question is can anyone advise me the pros and cons of doing this?

    If I had additional sockets added for example would there be any issues on my existing unit?
     
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  3. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    If additional sockets were added and you don't have an RCD then changing the old consumer unit is one option.

    By replacing the consumer unit, all circuits could be 'brought up to date', so to speak - not you necessarily need to as such.

    Not worth changing your consumer unit yet anyway until the new metal ones are readily available - another new reg to satisfy.
     
  4. House7000

    House7000

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    This may sound very daft but how do I know if I have an RCD or not? That BS standard on my unit does that give you any idea of the age of my current unit?

    What are the new metal units?

    Also one other thing which I have read online is people who have changed consumer units and then ended up with a bigger job as additional work is then needed around the house at the switches / sockets. How likely is this?
    Apologies for all the questions.
     
  5. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    A BS 5486 pt 13 board as you put it may or may not have RCD protection.

    At a guess it's probably over 20 years old - pictures would be helpful here.

    RCD protection could be in various forms - pictures would be helpful here.

    Is there any switch or switches anywhere with 30 mA or 0.03 A?
     
  6. PrenticeBoyofDerry

    PrenticeBoyofDerry

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    RCD/RCCB look like this, they have a test button on them, MK could possibly be a black one.

    Who has advised you to update your consumer unit?
    It is not required to bring the CU up to current standards, if you where to add new circiut or alter and existing one, which then requires RCD protection, there are RCBOs available and RCD/fused connections.
     
  7. House7000

    House7000

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    I don't have anything on it that has a "test button".

    It looks similar to this one
    http://i52.tinypic.com/124fs6x.jpg

    apart from the on off switch is red and on the other side. I have 7 different smaller "on/off" switches of which they then have numbers below. ie 32a, 6a, 16a etc.

    It has only been recommended - have said can either use existing unit but for it to be fully up to date and safe - current standards etc recommended changing the box.
     
  8. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    No RCD in that picture.

    Sometimes an RCD(s) isn't incorporated into the consumer unit - they can be seperate.
     
  9. House7000

    House7000

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    Yeah im pretty sure I don't have an RCD from looking again. So given that what would you say is the best bet? I assume plenty of houses across the UK are in a similar situation?

    If the consumer unit was replaced what is the likelihood of any further work needed to the sockets etc? Is it normally a straight swap over? or can it cause issues?
     
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  11. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    When changing a consumer unit, having RCD protection can highlight any neutral to earth faults that had previously gone unnoticed.

    Correcting such a fault could be very quick and easy, or a bit involved - as the fault has to be pin-pointed first.

    RCBOs provide the best RCD protection as a fault will only trip the particular circuit that the fault is on.

    May be pointless fitting a new consumer unit until the new fire proof metal boards are easily obtainable - otherwise you will have another out of date consumer unit.
     
  12. PrenticeBoyofDerry

    PrenticeBoyofDerry

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    or install it in a non-combustible enclosure/cabinet
     
  13. House7000

    House7000

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    Thank you. Is there anyway that I can test for these faults before changing the consumer unit or do they only become apparent by having the updated unit? In your experience how often does this happen that faults are found?

    Is an RCBO something that is fitted to my existing unit then?

    When do you think these newer metal boards will be available?
     
  14. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    I think most people here would say yes, it is recommended. But it is not compulsory, and be wary if an electrician is telling you that you "have to".


    Pros: Safer, allows your installation to be modified and extended.

    Cons: Means spending money, can easily uncover problems you didn't know you had.


    Additional sockets require RCD protection.

    Any new concealed cables require RCD protection.

    There would be other ways to meet that requirement than a new CU, but a new CU would probably be the recommended one.
     
  15. ban-all-sheds

    ban-all-sheds

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    It is not clear that they will have to be metal.

    It is not clear what the requirement will be, because right now it is impossible to comply - everything will burn if you try hard enough, so "non-combustible" is not achievable. JPEL/64 seems increasingly to be composed of idiots who are unable to write technical regulations that actually make sense.

    http://www.diynot.com/diy/threads/metal-enclosure-with-3rd-amendment.424828/page-14#3315501

    I don't think anybody should be losing sleep over installing plastic CUs which comply with BS EN 61439-3
     
  16. House7000

    House7000

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    Thank you for all the responses so far. So I think one of my main concerns at the moment would be changing the unit and then finding additional problems that would result in potentially having to remove wallpaper / freshly painted rooms etc.

    Is there any way to check for these faults before swapping the unit over?
     
  17. sparkwright

    sparkwright

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    All very true, just generalising at this stage.
     
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