What are Fuse Boards or Consumer Units?
Fuse boards or consumer units are installed to distribute electricity on-premises and protect against any potentially dangerous electrical malfunction.
Since their introduction in the 1980s, consumer units have been a protector against short circuits and other electrical anomalies. Over the years, due to the increase, they have evolved to be more efficient, resistant and reactive to any short circuits and electrical malfunction.
There is no denying in that consumer units have saved countless lives since they were introduced. In this blog, we are going to discuss the types and different components that protect us against electrical anomalies.
What are the Different Types of Consumer Units?
Main Switch Consumer Unit:
This is the most basic type of consumer unit. It has a main switch that turns the power on and off, and it may also have a few circuit breakers. It is a good choice for homes with a simple electrical system.
Dual RCD Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit has two residual current devices (RCDs), which protect against earth leakage. It provides an extra layer of safety and is very suitable for properties with a lot of electrical appliances.
High Integrity Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit has a high degree of circuit separation, making it safer than other consumer units. It comes with a main switch and three RCDs. It is a good choice for houses with high electrical usage and multiple heavy equipment.
RCD Incomer Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit has an RCD on the incoming supply, which protects the entire home from earth leakage. This makes it a highly suitable choice for homes that are located in areas with high levels of electrical interference.
Garage Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit is designed for use in garages. It is typically smaller than a standard consumer unit, and it may have a different set of circuit breakers.
Standard Consumer Unit:
This is the most common type of consumer unit. It has a main switch and a few circuit breakers, and it may also have an RCD. It is a good choice for homes with a standard electrical system.
Duplex Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit has its circuits arranged over two rows. This makes it easier to fit into a small space, and it also allows for more circuit separation.
Flush Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit is recessed into a wall rather than being surface-mounted. This makes it more aesthetically pleasing, but it can be more difficult to access.
IP Rated Consumer Unit:
This type of consumer unit is designed to be used in wet areas, such as bathrooms or kitchens. It has an IP rating, which indicates its level of water resistance. It is a good choice for homes where the consumer unit is located in a wet area.
What are the Components of a Consumer Unit?
The main switch is the main electrical protection device in a home or building. It is located at the main distribution board and protects the electrical system from overload and short circuits. It can be manually switched on and off to isolate the electrical system for maintenance or repairs.
Residual Current Device (RCD)
An RCD is a type of circuit breaker that protects against electric shock. It does this by detecting an imbalance in the current flowing through the wires. If the imbalance is too high, the RCD will trip the circuit, cutting off the power and preventing electric shock.
A fuse is a type of circuit breaker that can protect against short circuits and overloads. It melts down if the value of currents exceeds a certain amount. The melting of fuse breaks the circuits and protects the persons and properties from damage. Fuses must be replaced after they melt.
Miniature Circuit Breaker (MCB)
An MCB is a type of circuit breaker that protects against overload and short circuits. It works by tripping the circuit when the current flowing through it exceeds a certain value. MCBs can be reset manually, making them a more convenient option than fuses.
Residual Current Breaker with Overload (RCBO)
An RCBO is a type of circuit breaker that combines the features of an RCD and an MCB. It protects against electric shock and overload or short circuits. RCBOs can also be reset manually, making them a convenient and versatile option for electrical protection.
Surge Protection Device
A surge protection device (SPD) is a device that protects electrical equipment from electrical surges. Surges are sudden, large increases in voltage that can damage electrical equipment. SPDs absorb the excess voltage and prevent it from damaging electrical equipment.
Arc Fault Detection Device (AFDD)
An arc fault detection device (AFDD) detects arc faults in electrical circuits. Arc faults are a type of electrical fault that can cause fires. AFDDs trip the circuit if an arc fault is detected, preventing fires from occurring.