In our daily life, in the house, we have done a lot of electrical operations like switching on the lights, fans, and other machines. We push the button, and the required electrical operation has been done as our requirement. Switching on or switching off the home appliances is not possible without the use of wiring. The wiring is a process that connects our internal home appliances with the main power supply line. If these main supply lines come into your house without protection, it could be very dangerous. That is why an electrical consumer unit has been installed between main supply lines and other home applications.
In this article, you will be informed about what is a consumer unit electrical? What is its purpose? And what are the different types of consumer electrical units?
Consumer unit electrical
Consumer unit electrical is a distribution box used as a safety or protective box. In this box, a lot of electrical safety-related devices and sophisticated equipment are installed. Consumer electrical unit consists of many parts. Listed below are a few of the most important electrical components of the consumer unit:
Main switches are used for controlling the power of a complete home. In case of any emergency, first, this main switch should be shut down. The other purpose of the main switch is to cut off the main power supply to the house so that any electrical wiring can be done safely.
Circuit breakers are the primary electrical safety device that turns off the main power supply from entering the house in case of any electrical emergency. For example, if a circuit breaker in your consumer unit has 5 amperes of current rating, it will turn off the main power supply when a 6-ampere current passes through it instantly. In the consumer unit, one circuit breaker uses one room or portion of a house. If a home consists of 5 rooms, then it is possible that 5 circuit breakers are installed in the consumer unit.
Like circuit breakers, RCD also is an electrical safety device. Which continuously monitors the current consumed by the different elements in the house. RCD will turn off the main power supply when it detects any fault. The primary difference between the circuit breaker and RCD is that RCD protects a person, especially when someone accidentally touches a live wire.
Wiring of bus bar
It is possible that you cannot see the bus bar since only people who are working on the consumer unit (such as a licensed electrician) can be able to see it. In this bus bar, live, neutral, and earth wires are present. These are the main cables which connect the outer power supply to the inside of your house.
The casing of the consumer electrical unit
Apart from the protective devices used inside a consumer unit, the casing is also important. Because if you choose the wrong casing for your house, then the chances of electrical hazards can be increased. Experts recommended that the casing of the consumer unit of a house must be made with a metal body because the metal body did not expose to fire and did not evaporate any dangerous gasses after heating up.
However, in the market there are plastic, and wood casings of consumer units are also available. The disadvantage of plastic or wood casings is that these materials are highly flammable. It is recommended that you do not use wood casing at all; it is hazardous and more prone to fire. Wood casings are used in the 80s and 90s; if you have a wood consumer unit in your house, immediately replace it with a metal casing.
Different types of consumer unit electrical
There are a lot of types of consumer boxes available in the market. Each type of consumer box is used for a different purpose. There are mainly three types of consumer box are used domestically.
- High integrity boards consumer unit electrical
- Split load consumer unit electrical
- Garage consumer unit electrical
- Main switch Consumer Unit
The purpose of all these types of consumer units is the same. Each type has a little difference from the other type. For example, the high integrity board consumer unit has three separate neutral bars for RCDs and RCBOs electrical safety devices.
In the split load consumer unit, only one main switch and one RCD device are used. This type of unit provides protection against leakage current in the house.
While the garage consumer unit is used for small shops, garages, laundry areas, sheds, and houses, in this unit, a small number of breakers and main switches are used.
If you choose the main switch Consumer Unit option, you will get a consumer unit without additional protection devices. Only the main switch is included, but you can install an RCD and MCB if necessary.
Why are there two RCDs on consumer units?
Only the compromised half of the devices will be affected if one circuit overloads and trips to cut off the power supply. Due to their effectiveness, dual RCD fuse boards are a popular option for isolating specific electrical device types or sections inside a building.
How to maintain consumer unit electrical in the house?
Because every house has a consumer unit electrical installed for the main power supply, it is essential to know how you can take care of your consumer unit electrical? There are a few checks that you can perform on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis.
Firstly, you should be familiar with the danger signs associated with the consumer unit.
- If your consumer unit’s safety devices are tripping more often, then this is a sign of starting a significant problem in your home wiring. In this case, you must call a professional who can detect and resolve the wiring problem.
The second thing you can do to maintain the consumer unit electrical is to check your consumer unit every month. If you find any defects in the consumer unit or devices, immediately resolve the problem before it cause more damage.
One more thing you must do annually that you must arrange a complete consumer unit inspection by a licensed professional. By doing annual inspection, you will be able to sort out potential electrical hazards timely and keep your home safe.
Consumer unit electrical is an essential part of the domestic home electrical system. You must choose which type of consumer unit is the best fit for you. Proper maintenance of consumer unit electrical is also essential.
- Why does the RCD keep tripping after the replacement of the consumer unit?
Tripping is most often since no prior testing was done before the consumer unit change. The RCD will trip if there is excessive current leakage to the earth; this happens if the insulation leaks. You might be able to identify this issue before carrying out the consumer unit change. With a quick blanket test that checks the cable integrity.
- What is the cost of replacing the consumer unit?
It will depend on your needs. You should expect to spend about £300 to £350 to upgrade a standard 40-amp unit to a 63-amp consumer unit, and for every additional ten amps, you will need to add about £50. However, a larger 100-amp unit can cost approximately £470 to £510.