This article will address the consumer unit replacement cost which varies based on various factors. It will also explore how much a new consumer unit would cost by looking the average prices of different scenarios.
Determining the cost of replacing consumer units
In general, if you decide to replace a consumer unit or to upgrade to a more recent one, the cost can depend on 4 main factors:
- type of consumer unit required;
- number of circuits required;
- amp-rating required;
- current condition of the existing consumer unit
Additionally, to work out the average cost to install a new consumer unit – whether it is for a house or an office – you have to factor in the labour, materials and cost of testing. The labour will vary between being charged by the hour or by the day, how long it takes to install will depend on the location of the fuse box and where inside the property it is.
On average, consumer unit replacement cost (including all materials, labour and certification) can be between £375 and £550. This is assuming there is an ideal scenario with no additional problems that need fixing. It will take about half a day to install, including testing the unit.
Consumer unit types
One of the main determinants of consumer unit replacement cost is the type of the consumer unit itself.
There are various different types of consumer units, which are explained below, along with the associated consumer unit replacement cost.
1. Fully Loaded Consumer Unit
A fully-loaded consumer unit costs around £60 to £120, and as the name suggests, it is a consumer unit that has all its load-carrying breakers similar to those of a plastic box. Fully loaded consumer units combine both the input and output breakers in one fused switch.
It’s an ideal solution for those who don’t require circuit separation. Although an FCU costs significantly less than a ring main unit (RMU), it has little use in modern life.
2. Split Load Consumer Units
A split load consumer unit is a type of fuse box that features a main switch and a residual-current device (RCD). The main switch will usually be placed on the outside allowing for easy access, and the RCD should be beside it while the Residual Current Circuit Breakers With Overload (RCBO) is usually beside the main switch.
The cost for this type of unit ranges from £80 to £125.
3. Garage Consumer Unit
The garage consumer unit is a smaller version of a full consumer unit and has 2 to 5 fuses to handle power needs and problems. It can cost around £25 to £60. It’s created for garages and other exterior buildings used in small spaces such as sheds and extensions.
A complement to the traditional consumer unit, it has a range of features specifically designed to ensure that your house is safe and protected at all times.
4. RCD Dual-Split Consumer Unit
RCD dual-split consumer units offer a valuable level of protection when there are multiple sets of circuits in a single property, for example if separate areas are divided between upstairs and downstairs. An RCD consumer unit lets the homeowner shut off power to only one side should they need to work on electrical installations in that section. The supply cost for this type of unit is around £40 to £130.
5. High Integrity Consumer Unit
Consumer units are designed to allow you to have separate circuit boards for your critical and standard loads. This is beneficial as it means that in the event of a fault on one circuit board, your other lighting will stay on.
The MCBs and RCBOs that power them help to ensure that there’s no impact on other circuits if there’s a fault.
Though it provides the ability to separate, it is still an affordable option which costs between £50 to £150 for the unit itself.
6. Domestic Switch Fuse
The domestic switch fuse is a small consumer unit that connects with system extensions or the sub-mains to create a secondary main switch. This small consumer unit typically costs £30 to £80.
Consumer Unit Costs Based on Number of Circuits & Amp Rating
As mentioned above, the number of circuits required can also determine the consumer unit replacement cost.
|Number of Circuits||Average Cost|
The cost can also vary based on the amp-rating required for the consumer unit
|Amp Rating||Average Cost|
|40 amp unit (2-3 ways)||£270 to £300|
|63 amp unit (1-6 ways)||£300 to £350|
|80 amp unit (7-10 ways)||£390 to £440|
|100 amp unit (7-16 ways)||£470 to £510|
Cost of upgrading a consumer unit
It is extremely important for the safety of your home to ensure that your consumer unit is constantly monitored and upgraded as and when necessary. This would include installing a consumer unit with a residual current device (RCD) which has the capacity to detect dangerous electrical threats as well as tripping issues. This will also allow you to avoid electrical threats and trip hazards.
Additionally, UK’s current wiring regulations and safety standards require all consumer units to prevent excessive electrical loads, which can result in both fires and electric shocks.
Depending on your needs, the cost of an upgrade will vary. A standard 40 amp unit to a 63 amp consumer unit will run about £300 to £350, and if you need more power from your fuse box, you’ll add about £50 for each additional 10 amps. While a larger 100 amp unit can run up to £470 to £510.
Difference between a fuse box and consumer unit
A consumer unit and fuse box serve the same purpose. They are the main electrical components that monitor and control the electricity that runs through our homes. They make sure that everything is running in full working order, so when there is a fault they “trip” to protect the home from further charges.
The only key difference between the two is that older fuse boxes typically contain fuses with a wire inside which can melt in the event of an electrical overload – something that is not true of circuit breakers.
Modern consumer units are built with circuit breakers, which use springs to switch off the unit when it becomes overloaded. When the power returns, a lever must be manually reset in order to switch the circuit back on again.
Cost of moving consumer units
Transforming your home can be a daunting task. Your consumer unit is usually in an area that you can’t access, and it might be connected to other building devices with wires that are hard to detect and detach. This will most likely require professional services to either move the device or put it back so that your renovations will not affect its functionality in any way.
Depending on the size of your property and its contents, the cost of moving a consumer unit can range between £250 and £500. You may also need to arrange for an electrical installation condition report which can cost an additional £100 – £150.
Consumer Unit Maintenance & Repair Costs
Broken fuse replacement cost
Should a fuse blow out, you should have it replaced immediately by a certified electrician, as this may prevent damage to your device. This will cost around £80 to £100 and will involve removal of the broken fuse, followed by installation and testing of a new fuse.
Cost to replace circuit breaker switch
If the electrician who installed your house or office also installed your consumer unit, it’s possible that your consumer unit already has circuit breakers. However, should any of them stop working properly, you can purchase a replacement. Typical costs range from £3 to £30.
You can also get a quote from a local electrician to ensure an accurate assessment of the work needed and the cost associated with work. It would cost around £45 to £50 for a qualified electrician to fit a new circuit breaker.
General consumer unit maintenance cost
It’s not uncommon for homeowners to find faults in their electrical supply and if ignored, these could potentially lead to a fatal fire. However, a regular check every 5 to 10 years is recommended to ensure there’s no fault in your consumer units. The average electrical maintenance check costs between £100 and £300. A popular maintenance check is PAT testing, which involves checks on all electrical appliances and is normally priced at £1 to £2 per item.
Cost of a New Sub-panel
Subpanels are used to bring electricity to a specific area of your home. This provides residents with a place to plug in all their necessary electrical devices, appliances, and components.
The cost to install a sub-panel is dependent on the size of the area to be powered and the type of products you plan to use. On average, it could cost approximately between £300 – £700.
Cost of Removing a Consumer Unit
The consumer unit replacement cost can sometimes also include the cost of removing the existing unit as well. This would depend on how the current system is put in place.
This approach should involve disconnecting electrical wires before removing the cover from the electrical box, followed by procedures for removing the power sources. The wires will need to be straightened to remove them from the building.
On average, a qualified electrician earns around £40 to £80 per hour. An electrician’s hourly rate is determined by experience and training. Since every job is different, the rate can vary widely. It takes about 1 to 2 hours on average to remove a consumer unit.
There are many aspects to determine the consumer unit replacement cost as we saw above. It may seem quite overwhelming but it is important that you pay attention to these when engaging with your local electrician. It’s always to be aware of the different costs involved. Fortunately for you, our team of electricians at Complete Electricians provide a free consumer unit replacement quote if you’re interested. Simply get in touch with us and we will get back to you with a full breakdown of the cost upon inspection.