Consumer Unit Options

The various options for consumer units have become ever greater and for the person at home they have a number of choices that they can make. So often today with the electrician being in total control of the project from the start to the finish the householder is left behind but in many ways his input is more important than before.

Knowing the options that are available can help so that the householder can determine his requirements. Take the simplest option in the consumer unit casings these have changed so much that there are available slim line designs with smoked glass openings that cover the labeling and breakers, the colors can be white and even magnolia.

The latest designs can be flush mounted. These options give the chance to put the consumer unit in a very accessible place as they do not look out of place in the hall or even the lounge rather than hidden away where you cannot get to it. Access at home is always underestimated and should be determined by consultation.

The individual designs of the consumer units start with a split load system with 2 RCD's so that the electrical system can be split into two to with a choice of what power requirement goes on which line. It is important that the householder gets involved with this as they need to know what goes off if one RCD trips out.

A split in power supplies can help with the upstairs lighting and the downstairs ring main being fitted on the same circuit and the reverse downstairs giving a chance of light in the case of power failure on one system. The householder can contribute to this discussion and he should also be consulted on the number of circuits required and adequate provision made for extra circuits that may be added later.

The introduction of the RCBO or Residual Current Breaker and Overload Protector is another advantage, where the householder has a number of circuits which need special protection. The RCBO basically acts as the RCD and the overload current circuit breaker in one. The advantage of this type of system is that if there are a number of specialist circuits such as fire alarms, burglar alarms, fish tanks and freezers where power supply has a great need then each RCBO can be tailored to the special circuit demands with the RCD part of the unit acting at a different and higher level than a lighting circuit and the current overload been set according to requirements.

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