Fusebox/Consumer Units Explained
The technical term for a fusebox is a consumer unit, this is where the electricity in your home is controlled and distributed. It’s important that your consumer unit can be easily located in case an issue occurs where you may need to turn off your electricity in an emergency.
Your Consumer Unit contains three items – the main switch, fuses and/or circuit breakers (MCBs), and Residual Current Devices (RCDs).
1. Main Switch
The main switch allows you to turn on or off the electricity supply to your home. You might have more than one mains switch, for example if your home has electric storage heaters. In this case you may have a separate consumer unit.
2. Residual Current Devices (RCD)
An RCD is a switch which will trip a circuit under dangerous conditions, and instantly disconnect the electricity. This is a life-saving device which is designed to prevent you from getting a fatal electric shock if you touch something live.
3. Circuit Breakers
A Circuit breaker is an automatic protection device which is placed in your fusebox in order to switch off a circuit if a fault is detected. They are similar in size to fuses, but give more precise protection. When they trip, you can simply reset the switch. But make sure you correct the fault first.
Fuses can be found in place of circuit breakers. A rewirable fuse has a piece of wire running between two screws, when a fault flows through the fuse wire, it will become hot and melt. The melted fuse breaks the circuit, disconnecting the faulty circuit and keeping you safe.