Think of your fuse box as the heart of your home’s wiring system. A distribution board that distributes electricity to all of the circuits in the house.
You cannot tell from looking at the outside of a Fuse Box if it is in a satisfactory condition on the inside but you can see if it is old. A professional electrician can tell by removing the cover and making a visual inspection then performing various tests on the installation, and evaluating its condition to advise you whether or not it needs to be replaced.
How can you tell if your fuse box is outdated?
Older style units used fuses that were common before the arrival of mini circuit breakers (MCBs), which feature a single horizontal row of fuses. With the new style of consumer units, the need for wire and fuse replacement is eliminated. Consumer units include “toggles”. Toggles just require flipping back up when they trip, and are far more aesthetically pleasing than their older counterparts. There are some pre-1950 fuse boxes still in use, but the numbers are minimal and they need to be regarded with extreme caution, as exposed live parts are common and the fire and shock hazards are very real.
An old fuse box will probably not contain RCD or MCB protection (which is used to provide supplementary protection for people from the risk of electrocution and protection against the risk of an electrical fire and overcurrent protection of equipment and cables.) As a result, it will not offer the same safety coverage as it was probably designed before we started using as much electrical equipment such as microwaves, higher powered stoves and refrigerators and even large capacity hot water heaters. I have seen badly burnt fuse boards that look perfect on the outside but were close to causing a fire in the home.
Wiring regulations have changed a great deal in the last couple of years and have again been updated this year.
A fuse is designed to “break apart” when it is overloaded and an older unit will have a slower response time than what is needed to keep up with the current being pulled from today’s appliances. The new fuse boxes (now called consumer units) have circuit breakers/trips and RCDs - which means if there is a fault, it will disconnect the electric supply much quicker than older fuses do.
If you only had a routine structure survey conducted and not an in-depth electrical inspection, you could be risking the safety of your home. My professional electricians know to inspect the complete installation of your existing fuse box and know the precise regulations when installing a new fuse box.
For an inspection appointment, contact the professionals at John’s Electric today and one of our electricians will visit your home, perform an in-depth evaluation, show you where your risks are (if any) and provide you with solutions to maximize your energy efficiency and protect the safety of your home and family.