A consumer unit’s an essential component of the home; without one, your property wouldn’t be safe. The Consumer Unit prevents electrical shock (which can kill) while protecting cables and appliances from overload and electrical fire.
There are several different types and brands of consumer unit the type you need will depend on your property size, electrical system and electrical requirements.
A small house with only one bathroom doesn’t have the same demands as a six bedroom house with a swimming pool, for this reason, there are four types of consumer unit and four types of protection device
Types Of Consumer Unit
Main Switch Consumer Unit – Supplied with only a ‘mains switch’ your Electrician populates the rest of the unit with the required fuses
Dual RCD Consumer Unit – Supplied with a mains switch and RCD’s your electrician fits the needed amount of MCB’s
High Integrity Consumer Unit – The safest of all consumer units supplied with RCBO’s and RCD’s, MCB’s are installed as necessary
RCD Incomer Consumer Unit – For outbuildings that require power runs off a single RCD, MCB’s can also be fitted if needed
Types Of Circuit Protection Device
RCD – Residual Current Device protects people against electric shock and electrocution
MCB – Mini Circuit Breaker protects cables and appliances from overload and fire
RCBO – Does the job of both RCD and MCB Protecting both humans, circuits and appliances
Main Switch – Turns the power to the consumer unit on and off
Consumer Unit Enclosure Types
All new consumer units must adhere to ‘amendment 3’ which came into force in January 2016 part of this amendment states that all consumer units must be made from non-combustible metal or sit in an enclosure made from non-combustible metal. Because of this, all consumer units are now constructed from steel, offering the ultimate in fire safety.
Standard Consumer Unit’s
Most homes are fitted with standard consumer unit; the RCD fuses are covered with a hinged metal lid that automatically closes so it’s always shut. Three parts form the enclosure the base (the RCD’s sit in the base) the cover, and the door.
Duplex Consumer Units
Duplex Consumer Units are for larger installations with more circuits they have two rows of devices instead of one (standard consumer unit)
Garage Consumer Units
Small consumer units for garages, sheds and home workshops where only a small amount of circuits are required (lights and sockets for example)
IP Rated Consumer Units
Weatherproof consumer units for damp and wet areas such as swimming pools
All the above consumer units are generally fitted directly to the wall ‘Flush’ or ‘Recessed’ versions are available, these sit in a steel enclosure that fits inside the wall. Consumer Units should sit betwwen1350mm and 1450mm high from the floor.
That’s because it is there’s no one size fits all solution when it comes to consumer units, always consult a qualified electrician when choosing a consumer unit feel free to get in touch if you need any advice one of our Electricians will happily determine the best consumer unit and fuses for your home and budget.