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QuestionDo I need to update the fusebox in my house?

I'm buying a house which has an old fuse box. This was noted on the survey I had done and it was suggested I update it. Is this really necessary? There's nothing actually wrong with the fuse box - it's just old fashioned? Are there any safety concerns with these old ones or is this just something they tend to note on such surveys.

12 Answers

Best Answer

If you have an old fusebox you will also have old wiring. Essentially there is nothing 'unsafe' with old installations - they will comply to the reglations around at their time of installation. However, old wiring will have been used and will over time wear out just like anything else, the main problem being in the breakdown of insulation. New fuseboxes have switches that are extreemly sensitive and if there is a breakdown these switches will not accept the wiring, meaning it cannot be done or causing nussance tripping.
Another problem with old wiring is that electrical screws can become lose, causing wires to become loose, causing unsafe situations.
On the flipside, if the wiring is ok, and you have earthing to water stopcock and gas, you will only make it safer by upgrading the fusebox. And thats you call. I hope this is of some help to you.
Cheers, Nic.

N.C.Electrical 1st Sep, 2011

A fuse board does not need to be replaced due to its age, if & when the installation undergoes an electrical inspection & test, its then found to be none compliant with the minimum requirements of the British Standards then & only then will it need replacing.

Home Power Distribution Ltd 1st Sep, 2011

This is recommendation only as it is your house. When the installation was done years ago, it was up to the then standards. Only if you would like to have safer and more convenient fuses, then yes, go ahead and get it changed. The new fuses are quicker, in a fault condition they switch off the circuit in less than 0.3 seconds, which is before you get electric shock. Also, when changing the fusebox, the electrician will test the whole installation for faults and will give you a certificate.

I hope that this answers your question, if there is anything else, please ask


Elman Ltd

Elman Ltd 1st Sep, 2011

You cannot tell from looking at the outside of a Fuse Board if it is in a satisfactory condition on the inside but you can see if it is old. to answer your question the only way a professional registered electrician can tell is to remove the cover and make a visual inspection then carry out various tests on the installation, and report on its condition if this has been done then change it asap
An old fuse board will probably not contain RCD or MCB protection and as such will not offer the same safety cover it was probably designed before we started using as much electrical equipment such as microwaves, ceramic hobs dozens of extra appliances including large capacity showers I have seen badly burnt fuse boards that look perfect on the outside but were close to causing a full fire in the property
The wiring regulations have really changed a great deal in the last couple of years and have again been updated this year.
if you only had a normal Buildings survey carried out spend £150 and have an electrical inspection or change the Board most professional electricians know to inspect the complete installation when installing a new board as per the regulations so this should be in the price usually takes at least 3-4 hours to inspect more when fitting a new Board put it up on mybuilder.com don't risk not taking the surveyors advice.

ka-goulden-electrical 1st Sep, 2011

This is something surveyors tend to note, To get an idea on the condition of the installation you would need to get a periodic inspection report done, this would need to be done prior to replacing the fuse board as there may be faults that need to be rectified first, regards Terry.

tm property services 1st Sep, 2011

If it is the old fuse wire system then yes change it, you will have no rcd or mcb protection and this is potentially dangerous

House Doctors 2nd Sep, 2011

Although your older fuse board (assumed to be rewireable fuses) continued to supply your electricity needs, the form of protection would be a minimal 5amp fuse wire that until it overloaded and burnt out would continue to supply fault current - which in a fault state could kill. Latest fuse boards / consumer units contain RCD protection devices which trip the supply on a detected earth fault at 30 milliamps in milli secounds , thus reducing as much as possible the chance of fatal shock. The overload device fuse / MCB is protecting the circuit from overload only.

ELLIOTTS Property Services Ltd 1st Sep, 2011


just a short note !

It may well be an old fusebox ?

I have rewired and installed many consumer units, over the years.

Plenty of which, installed up to 25 years ago would still pass current requirements.

Please get an electrican to advise you. Post a job on this site !

Does the .old fuse box' contain a RCD ?

This is imperative, in my oppinion for mondern day living,
also a requirement, in most circumstances to comply with the latest IEE wiring Regs.

I.E. circuits in special locations, or other outlets intended for use outside the equipotential zone. ( garden, garage etc.)

In any event, no, this is not something that some surveyer has magiced up, this is really for your own protection and safety.

As little at 20 milliamp fault current could end up being leathal, to certain individuals,

so for the saje of a few quid, why risk it ?

Southsea Plumbing, Heating, Electrical & Gas Services 1st Sep, 2011

As stated above, employ an electrician to do full Periodical Inspection Report(PIR) and you'll now how safe is your electrical installation.
But better do it before you move in.
VA Electrical Services

V.A.Electrical services 9th Sep, 2011

There are many reasons to change a fuse box, the main one is and one of the most important ones, and most misinterpreted is that a fuse is there to protect the cable from excessive overheating, and the reaction of a modern fuse is faster than an old type fuse therefore your surveyor is merely protecting your property. The decision is yours if you wish to update it.

NRG Plumbing & Electrical 1st Sep, 2011

Yes. The new fuseboxes which are now called consumer units have circuit breakers/trips and RCDs which if there is a fault will disconnect the electric supply much quicker than fuses do. Also if you are going to have any more electrical work done, the fusebox will have to be upgraded to comply with the current regulations or the electrician doing the work will not be able to complete a test certificate for the work done.

Martyn Rees 2nd Sep, 2011

The surveyors note these things to cover themselves (imo),as long as the fuse box is in good condition and works fine you dont need to get it changed,if you have any electrical work done then that work must comply with the 17th edition,RCD
protection is safer and a good thing to have,also if the board is old things like bonding to gas and water may be under sized if present at all.It would be a good idea to get the electrics tested if they havnt been done in the last ten years.


PCM ELECTRICAL 1st Sep, 2011

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