Over the years, consumer units have been called several names including fuse boards and fuse boxes. Their necessity in a building has ensured that they survive years of technological advancement, with constant improvement being made for maximum efficiency. The consumer unit is installed in domestic buildings and they control, distribute and protect various circuits in the installation system of a building.
So many rules and regulations have been put in place to manage and oversee the consumer unit installation and servicing to ensure that the home and its occupants are safe. Every home needs a consumer unit as it has been known to prevent the outbreak of fire, protect people from electric shock due to surges and accidental discharge.
While purchasing and installing a consumer unit, it is advisable to choose the most suitable type of consumer unit for your building. A licensed electrician should see to it that the correct specification and type of consumer unit for each building is installed. In this guide, we will show you how to choose the best consumer unit for your building.
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Basics of Consumer Units
The centre of electricity supply in a building is the consumer unit. It matches each wiring system to their specified sources, this could be lighting, switches or plugs. Amongst its numerous purposes, one of the most useful purposes of a consumer unit is to enable the use of various circuits which are protected individually by circuit breakers. If the electricity supply for the top floor of your building is different from the electricity supply for the ground floor, then it is the consumer unit that ensures that different circuits can be used for different supplies of electricity.
Also, to disconnect the main electricity supply, the consumer unit is your go-to place. So in cases where you might need to make any changes to switches, bulbs and sockets, or an electrician want to perform a repair in the building, power should first be cut off from the consumer unit.
Modern Use of Consumer Units
The first sets of consumer units were called fuse boards. They had electrical fuses fit into them. The modern-day consumer unit has undergone numerous changes and upgrades, and today an MCB (Miniature Circuit Breaker) is used to replace the electrical fuses. With this new addition, in the case of an overload in the circuit, one can easily reset the MCB manually by simply flicking a switch. This reset will be functional after a professional has replaced a fuse which must have been damaged by the overload, and rewired it. Although this will incur some extra expenses, your home would have averted a possible electrical fire which can be destructive to both properties and lives.
Electrical Safety in Buildings
For a more intense safety provision in your home, especially if there is an imbalance in electrical current in the home, you can further install a safety device in your building. This safety device is known as the RCD (Residual current device). Since the RCD is designed with a faster response system, it will notice any unusual activities like surges, imbalance or short circuit in the home, faster than the normal circuit breakers, and automatically cut off the power supply. This means that you will be at a lesser risk of getting an electrical shock when you have an RCD installed in your building. Following recent safety regulations, the governing bodies have made it mandatory to have an RCD installed in every consumer unit. This means that more recent consumer units will be more effective, as well as more expensive.
If you would want to go a notch higher with the protection, you can install an RCBO instead of an RCD. An RCBO (Residual Current Circuit Breaker with Over-current Protection) is an RCD which has additional over-current protection, making it generally more efficient.
About CHINT’S Consumer Units
Chint is a known brand in the electrical world. With years of specialisation in circuit breakers and other consumer units, their experience and quality are unmatched. A popular Chint consumer unit can be identified by its material which is ABS (Acrylonitrile Butadiene Styrene). This material has a very high quality, with its high insulation abilities and its flame retardant properties, making it ideal for a consumer unit. Despite the use of ABS for consumer units, most consumer units are also made of steel. Most times, steel made consumer units are used in industrial buildings, and they can be recognised with their box shape and polycarbonate lids. They also come in different sizes.
Varying Sizes of Consumer Units
As an individual, you have a preference when it comes to the size of the consumer unit in your home. If you would rather use small-sized consumer units, the garage unit is a great choice. It has a single circuit breaker and an RCD embedded in it and is also very effective. If you want a larger sized consumer unit, then the double-stacked units (which has two RCDs and a main switch, and can provide protection for up to 32 circuits) is a great choice. These larger units are more common in industrial buildings but are also used in commercial buildings.
Finally, having a household with numerous circuits which are unprotected is a huge risk that no homeowner should take. The importance of a good consumer unit in a building cannot be overemphasised. Protect your home and its occupants today by ensuring that your building is well equipped to withstand all electrical attacks.
If you require a reliable and professional electrical company, then Electric Works London is your go-to company. Our electricians in London are efficient and provide high-quality services. Reach out to us today for all your electrical needs, and we will respond. Call us on 020 7183 4006.