M. Cann Electrical Services | Fuseboxes explained.
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19 May Fuseboxes explained.

A fusebox, also known as a consumer unit, should be easy to find and is where the electricity in your home is controlled and distributed.

It is normally found at the front of the house, in the garage and under stair cases.

It’s important that you know where your fusebox is in case you ever need to turn the electricity off in an emergency.

Every fusebox will have:

Main switch – Isolates all circuits.

Circuit breakers/ Fuses -Isolates independent circuits.


The above picture provides an example of 17th Edition Consumer Units, which can be found in many homes and are examples of fuseboxes that are in line with the current regulations.

How are these fuseboxes compliant?

The most important detail about these fuseboxes are the presence of RCD’s or  Residual Current Devices. RCD’s are a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live, such as a bare wire. It can also provide some protection against electrical fires. RCDs offer a level of personal protection that ordinary fuses and circuit-breakers cannot provide.

An RCD is designed to protect against the risks of electrocution and fire caused by earth faults.  For example, if you cut through the cable when mowing the lawn and accidentally touched the exposed live wires or a faulty appliance overheats causing electric current to flow to earth.

Another key part to the most up to date fuseboxes are that they are now all metal contained, a recent statistic pre-metal contained fuseboxes discovered a rise in electrical fires starting from loose connections inside fuseboxes, metal containment give that added protection from the spread of fire where plastic and wooden types did not.


The above pictures provides examples of boards that are likely to date back to the 1960s.

In most cases these fuseboxes have wooden backs, cast iron switches, and a mixture of fuses most likely re-wireable fuses.

Does my fusebox need upgrading?

The general rule of thumb is, any fusebox must meet the legal requirements from the time it was installed, even if that was some years ago. Therefore if you do have such a fuse box present, then there’s not necessarily a specific legal requirement to replace it with a modern electrical consumer unit.


‘The nitty gritty’

  1. If you intend to undertake certain works to the electrical installation, wiring and/or fittings, you may be legally required to replace your consumer unit as part of these works to ensure that the whole system is brought into line with current regulations.
  2. Landlords are responsible for ensuring the property meets with current safety standards and they should ensure that the electrical installation is safe, being certified as such on a periodic basis by a suitably competent electrician.
  3. With rented residential accommodation it is the Landlord’s responsibility to ensure that the electrical installation and appliances provided by the landlord are safe when the tenancy begins and are in proper working order throughout the tenancy.

Please note, this post is for guidance purposes only and you should always seek suitably qualified professional advice before making any decisions.