Consumer unit changes

Often referred to using the slightly outdated term of ‘fuse-box’, a consumer unit is essentially the main control centre for a home’s electrical supply. It’s something nearly everyone can recognize but which fewer people can name and far fewer actually work. A bit of a shame since consumer units are both important and relatively easy to understand.

To break it down simply, the consumer unit is found at the point where the electrical supply enters your property from the electricity meter. It distributes that power throughout the property, and its key components – main switches, residual current devices (RCDs), and circuit breakers – can be, according to the component, either manually or automatically shut off to protect you and your property from injury or damage. When something causes a RCD or circuit breaker to turn off automatically, that component will have been said to have ‘tripped’.

So, you can consider your consumer unit a kind of check-point for the electricity entering your home and the main item in your property that protects against everything from electric shocks to electric fires. If you want to find your consumer unit, try looking in your utility room, downstairs toilet, or garage – they’re usually hidden away since they aren’t particularly attractive.