Last updated 14th January 2022
Does your consumer unit or fuse box need replacing?
Fuse box and consumer units tend to last up to 30 to 40 years. After this time, they will need to be upgraded to improve electrical safety in your home.
This is especially true if you have an old fuse box, as these are now being replaced by modern consumer units.
How much does it cost to replace a fusebox?
The cost of replacing a fuse box is normally around £500 to £600, with the price depending on the number of circuits required.
To find out more, take a look at our guide which covers everything you need to know about replacing a fuse box with a brand new consumer unit.
Let's get into it!
A new consumer unit will range from £500 to £600.
The above price includes the supply and installation costs of fitting a new consumer unit.
Does this include the cost of removing an old fuse box?
The fuse box removal cost is not included in this price. You may be charged an additional fee for the removal of the old fusebox, which ran range from £150 to £200.
The cost also covers any testing and paperwork that is performed to ensure the consumer unit is completely safe.
Prices may vary depending on the amp rating.
A smaller consumer unit with a 40-amp rating will only cost around £250 to £300, while a larger unit with a 100-amp rating could range from £470 to £510 or more.
Will I receive a consumer unit certificate?
Once your consumer unit is installed, the installer will provide you with a certificate to legally validate your new consumer unit. This will be included in the overall cost.
Here are some estimated costs of hiring an electrician to install a new consumer unit:
|Number of Circuits||Avg. Cost||Duration|
The cost sometimes depends on the amp rating.
Here are some average prices for consumer units with different amp ratings:
|Amp Rating||Avg. Cost|
|40 amp unit
(2 modules and 2-3 ways)
|£270 to £300|
|63 amp unit
|£300 to £350|
|80 amp unit
|£390 to £440|
|100 amp unit
|£470 to £510|
If you would prefer to purchase a new consumer unit yourself, you need to consider the following supply costs:
|Number of Circuits||Avg. Cost|
When calculating the cost of your consumer unit installation, you may also want to consider the following costs:
|Residual current device (RCD)||£20 to £60|
|Isolators||£10 to £16|
|Safety lock-offs||£5 to £15|
|Surge Protection Device (SPD)||£40 to £120|
|Miniature circuit breaker (MCB)||£2 to £30|
|Residual Current Circuit Breaker With Overload (RCBO)||£20 to £40|
|Earth Bonding||£150 to £250|
Individual costs for replacing a fuse box with a new consumer unit with 10 MCB's - Total Cost: £450
Now, let's look at the labour costs and how long it takes to replace a fuse box.
Most electricians will charge around £40 to £80 per hour.
However, some have a daily rate of £150, although tradespeople will usually work in pairs, so you can expect to pay around £250 per day.
The actual consumer unit fitting should take around half a day to complete but may take up to a day if any faults are identified with testing.
What does the labour cost include?
The process of installing a new consumer unit will involve an initial inspection of all electrical installations in your home, which could take around 2 to 4 hours.
This will then be followed by physical inspections and fault finding in order to establish what is working and what isn’t.
The tradesperson will then report their findings back to you and offer you a quote for the new consumer unit along with any other jobs that may be required, such as bonding or earthing.
They will then schedule a date and time to replace the old fuse box and fit a new consumer unit.
Once this is complete they will perform further tests to check everything is working as it should, and if so, they will issue you with a building control notification certificate.
There are several types of consumer units which vary in function and cost.
Here are some of the most popular consumer units:
A fully-loaded consumer unit comes equipped with a full set of miniature circuit breakers (MCBs) plus two RCDs which help to create around 10 to 15 usable ways.
This is one of the most affordable options costing around £60 to £120.
The only problem?
Despite its cost-effectiveness, a fully-loaded consumer unit does not provide accurate circuit separation, so is therefore not used very often.
A split load consumer unit features a main switch and a residual-current device (RCD).
This type of fuse box can be identified by the position of the MCBs which should be located on the side of the RCD, while the Residual Current Circuit Breakers With Overload (RCBO) is usually beside the main switch.
The price for this type of unit range from £80 to £125.
A garage consumer unit is a much more compact consumer unit, which is typically used for exterior buildings such as garages, sheds and extensions which require a separate fuse box.
Do small spaces need a consumer unit?
In smaller spaces, a full unit is not necessary, so many opt for a garage consumer unit which has between 2 and 5 ways units.
As it is much smaller than typical consumer units, it only costs around £25 to £60.
An RCD dual-split consumer unit features two sets of circuits that are powered by individual RCDs.
For instance, the first RCD may be used to power all the electrical installations upstairs, while the other controls everything downstairs.
Having two different sets is beneficial, especially if the power is tripped on one circuit, homeowners can still rely on the other circuit.
The supply cost for this type of unit is around £40 to £130.
A high integrity consumer unit consists of three neutral bars which essentially offers three sets of circuits.
They are powered by RCBOs and two MCBs which provides complete circuit separation and protection for both standard and critical circuits. This is beneficial as it means any electrical faults on the fridge, for example, will not affect your lighting.
Despite its separation ability, it is actually one of the most inexpensive options costing around £50 to £150 for the unit itself.
A domestic switch fuse is a small consumer unit which typically only has one circuit that connects with system extensions or the sub-mains to create a secondary main switch.
The price for this small consumer unit is typically around £30 to £80.
Populated units come fitted with all devices, including the main switch, Dual RCDs, MCBs, and an isolator switch.
This saves time and money during the installation process as no extra parts are needed.
Populated units typically cost around £30 to £230.
This consumer unit comes supplied with a main switch and RCDs, although it offers some flexibility for additional parts such as MCBs or RCBOs.
How much are part-populated consumer units?
The average cost of a part-popular consumer unit ranges from £25 to £140.
Unpopulated models are a type of RCBO consumer unit which are supplied without any circuit protection.
This allows for configuration freedom.
You should expect to pay around £30 to £115 for an unpopulated consumer unit.
Need a consumer unit for a larger space?
For larger properties or commercial spaces, a large distribution board will be required to accommodate more electrical appliances.
There are two main types of commercial distribution boards – single-phase neutral (SPN) and three-phase neutral (TPN) which usually have an amp rating between 100 to 125.
How do you know which consumer unit is right for your business?
To help you decide which consumer unit is right for your business, here is a breakdown of the different types of commercial consumer units and the costs.
A single-phase neutral board usually has two wires which control the flow of electricity. This is normally used for commercial premises with mostly lighting and heating.
The problem with this type of commercial consumer unit is that the power can be inconsistent as the power reaches its peak at the same time through both wires.
These tend to cost around £70 to £85 for a 4 to 10-way consumer unit, while a 14 to 20-way unit is typically priced at £90 to £110.
Larger businesses may want to opt for a 28-way unit which can cost from £160 to £200.
A three-phase neutral board controls electricity through alternating currents with the same frequency and voltage. This allows constant power to be delivered evenly and effectively, and at a much higher level than SPN boards.
What's the cost?
TPN boards are slightly more expensive at around £130 to £1,000 for a 4 to 8-way board. While a 12 to 18-way consumer unit tends to cost from £200 to £1,600.
Larger premises may opt for a 21-way unit which can actually cost up to £2,000 or more.
Why do you need to upgrade a consumer unit?
Upgrading your consumer unit is extremely important because if you don’t upgrade, you could actually be risking your own life.
This is because a ‘healthy’ consumer unit with a residual current device (RCD) has the capacity to detect dangerous electrical threats as well as general ‘tripping’ issues.
If you do not have RCD protection, then you should consider upgrading your fuse box for your own safety.
You will also need to upgrade your fuse box if it does not meet the current UK wiring regulations which state that your consumer unit must protect against electrical overloading which can cause fires and electric shocks.
How much does it cost to upgrade a fuse box?
The cost of an upgrade will depend on your existing fuse box and the type of consumer unit you need.
For example, if you have a 40 amp unit that needs upgrading to a 63 amp consumer unit, this will cost around £300 to £350, while a larger upgrade to a 100 amp unit would cost around £470 to £510.
Keep in mind...
Before any work begins, the electrician will need to check the earth/bonding and also the power distributors equipment where the metre is installed.
Any problems with this will mean the work being postponed until they are fixed and safe. Fault finding on the electrical system should also be carried out before the new unit is installed, that way the electrician will find out if any extra work may be needed.
To help you understand how to replace a fuse box, here is a breakdown of what the job entails:
A fuse box and consumer unit are basically the same. It is just that fuse box is now seen as a more outdated version of the consumer unit.
They both control the electricity that runs through your home while also monitoring the performance of electrical appliances.
They are responsible for the ‘tripping’ that occurs when any faults are flagged, which is conducted for your own protection.
The only real difference between the two is that older fuse boxes contain fuses with a wire inside which can melt in the event of an electrical overload. While a circuit breaker in more modern consumer units can switch off the unit automatically when an overloaded is detected and can then be reset on with no damage when the power returns.
When having your fuse box replaced, you should avoid doing it yourself, as the job itself is complicated, and while you may think it could save you money it can actually be extremely dangerous, so you are best leaving it to the professionals.
Aside from the dangerous aspect of a DIY consumer unit installation, there are other restrictions that can prevent you from conducting the task yourself. This includes the regulations which require a qualified electrician to perform an Electrical Condition Installation Report before making any electrical changes like relocating your electric meter.
By doing this, the electrician can determine the condition of the fuse box as well as any other electrical issues in your home, which you may not have noticed.
After the complicated installation process, a Part P notification will also need to be obtained, and this is not possible if you change the fuse box yourself, as a certified electrician who is registered under the competent person scheme must do it for you. This means they must be approved by the NICEIC, ELECSA, NAPIT, Stroma or any other government-approved electrical organisations.
Why would you need to move your consumer unit?
If you are renovating your home, then you may need to move your consumer unit, especially if you plan to turn your electric cupboard into a bathroom or store cupboard.
You may also want to move it, so you have better access to it, rather than having to go outside to the garage or the basement.
Here's the cost for moving a consumer unit:
The cost of relocating a consumer unit is around £250 to £500.
However, this may increase if you require an electrical installation condition report, as this normally costs around £100 to £300 depending on the size of your property.
What does moving a consumer unit entail?
Moving a consumer unit will involve the help of a certified electrician who will first inspect and test the condition of your fuse box to establish whether it is working properly. If it is, they will proceed by removing your fuse box from the wall.
To do this, they will take the lid off the top of the consumer unit to allow them to disconnect the circuit breakers. After this is complete, the wires can then be unhooked, and the consumer unit can be taken off the wall.
They will then move the unit to the desired area, making sure that it is between 130mm and 140mm above the floor level to prevent damp damage.
Here are some regulations you need to consider before placing a fuse box:
Before a new fuse box can be fitted, an Electrical Installation Condition Report must be conducted to confirm whether it is safe and can function correctly, although there is no compelling reason to change it if there is nothing wrong.
However, many will change the fuse box to a new consumer unit as a matter of course when upgrading a property, even if the fuse box passes the electrical inspection & test.
What if the fuse box fails an inspection?
Of course, should the fuse box fail the inspection and testing, it needs to be changed immediately.
An RCD is now compulsory for all new electrical work, but they can be very sensitive and trip whenever an appliance or light switch is used.
This is fairly common and is normally solved by separating the circuits into at least an upstairs ring and a downstairs ring, though this will obviously involve extra wiring and cost.
Using an experienced and competent electrician is crucial as they will be able to predict exactly how much extra work is involved.
The Part "P" Regulations are very strict, and certificates for both the electrical installation and for compliance with the Part "P" Regulations must be issued after completion. However, certificates are only given if the work is conducted by a qualified electrician who is registered under the competent person’s scheme and are part of either the NICEIC, ELECSA, NAPIT, Stroma or any other certified organisations.
What about if you're a landlord?
If you’re a landlord, it is a legal requirement that each property you own has an Electrical Installation Certificate from a qualified electrician to ensure that all electrical devices are working as they should.
This offers protection to you as a landlord while also ensuring your property is safe for your tenants, while also avoiding fines and invalidated insurance. You should try to have as many electrical checks as possible to avoid fire hazards or electrical shock incidents.
Before moving your consumer unit, you need to get in touch with your electric supplier to inform them of the above, and they can then switch off your electricity temporarily.
If you’re planning to upgrade your consumer unit in any way, then this will be classified as notifiable work. Therefore, you will need to make sure that the work is completed by an electrician who is registered with a governing body.
After the installation, they should provide you with an electrical safety certificate which will confirm that the work is compliant with building regulations.
Here are some common consumer unit maintenance and repair jobs:
If you have a blown fuse, you should try to have it replaced immediately by a qualified electrician.
How much would you pay to replace a broken fuse?
This will cost around £80 to £100 and will involve the removal of the broken fuse, which should be replaced with the correct cartridge fuse which will be screwed in place and tested.
To save money, you could consider purchasing the fuse yourself, which typically cost around £1 to £3 for a pack of 10.
In contrast to fuse boxes, modern consumer units are supplied with circuit breakers rather than fuses. While these are less inclined to break, an older consumer unit may require a replacement of one or more of their circuit breakers.
The supply cost for circuit breakers is around £3 to £30 each, so if you’re buying yourself, you will need to have a look around to see which circuit breaker is right for your unit.
Who can replace a circuit breaker switch?
If you’re unsure and have no experience dealing with consumer units, then you should hire a professional to supply and fit the right circuit breaker, which will cost around £45 to £50 for a qualified electrician to fit a new circuit breaker.
To ensure your electrical supply is working properly, you should book in a maintenance check every 5 to 10 years to ensure there are no faults.
Although, some companies do offer annual electric checks which may be beneficial.
This typically costs around £100 to £300 for an Electrical Installation Report.
Another popular maintenance check is PAT testing which involves checks on all electrical appliances and is normally priced at £1 to £2 per item.
Do you need a seperate electricity supply?
If you require a separate electricity supply in your garage, shed or new extension, then you will need to have a subpanel installed.
This is a smaller electric panel that supplies electricity to specific areas in and around your home. This ensures that the electric supply reaches this area to power things like heating and lighting.
The cost to add a new sub-panel is around £300 to £700.
It can actually save you more money in the long run, as it means you do not have to run any wires underground, so there will be less expensive when you end up changing your main electrical panel.
Here's some reasons why you need to remove a consumer unit.
If you need a new consumer unit or fuse box, then you will need to have the existing one removed. This will involve removing the lid off the electrical system followed by the removal of the circuit breakers or fuses, followed by disconnecting the wires.
The wires will then need to be straightened out to remove them and feed them through the entry holes.
After removing the wires, your electrician may re-organise the wiring in preparation for the new consumer unit.
Do you have any rubber wiring?
If there is any rubber wiring, this will need to be removed as it is no longer compliant with electrical regulations.
A qualified electrician will charge around £150 to £200, with a removal usually taking around 1 to 2 hours.
To ensure that your consumer unit is fitted correctly and is compliant with electrical regulations, you will need to hire a qualified electrician who is registered under the competent person scheme and member of NICEIC, ELECSA, NAPIT, Stroma or any other government-approved electrical organisation.
They will usually charge around £40 to £80 per hour or a daily rate of £150 to £250.
You should also inquire about their qualifications and experience which should include a Level 3 NVQ Diploma in electrical maintenance with around 5 years’ of on-the-job practice.
Try to avoid hiring anyone without public liability insurance, especially with an electrical installation, as this can be detrimental to both you and the tradesperson.