Consumer units are where the electricity in homes are controlled and distributed so they are important for any home. They are often found at the point where the electrical supply enters the property. Consumer units aid in the control of the distribution of electricity to the different circuits throughout a property and are the control centre of the electrical supply. Consumer units are vital in any building so whether you’re looking for a metal RCD consumer unit, dual RCD consumer unit or main switch consumer unit we have a range of consumer units to offer along with a choice of accessories that includes circuit breakers and isolators.
All buildings and households are different meaning they all use electricity in various ways and for this reason each installation of a consumer unit is different and requires individual design. However, there are standardised and regulated approaches in terms of the configuration. The three main types of consumer units we stock include ‘Main Switch Consumer Units’, ‘Dual RCD Consumer Units’ and ‘RCD Consumer Units’. The choice of different types of consumer units, with use of circuit protection devices, allow for greater flexibility in circuit design for electricians as well as allowing flexibility in budget for the homeowner. In most domestic properties any of the above three mentioned consumer units can be used but the final decision will mainly be governed by how circuits will be separated and the budget for installation.
Consumer units are all made up of several different types of components so let’s briefly take a look at those components:
- Enclosure – The casing that houses all the components of a consumer unit.
- Neutral bar – A connection point for connecting the neutral cables.
- Earth bar – A connection point for the earth cables for all the circuits.
- Din Rail – A metal bar that sits inside on the back of the consumer unit onto which all the devices are mounted.
- Busbar – A ‘comb-toothed’ shaped copper construction bar designed to connect circuit devices to isolation devices which can be cut to size.
- Main switch – A device that is designed to allow you to turn off the electricity supply in your property. If this is turned off then all power is cut off to the devices.
- RCD – Stands for ‘residual current device’ and these safety devices are designed to trip a circuit and instantly disconnect the electrical supply to the circuit breakers when it detects a dangerous fault to protect appliances/equipment and to prevent fatal electric shocks.
- MCB – Stands for ‘miniature circuit breaker’ and are designed to switch off a circuit automatically if they detect an abnormality (protect an electric circuit from over current) and protect appliances from overload. A consumer unit will usually contain several MCBs which are sized according to the type of circuit and load it can handle.
- RCBO – Stands for Residual Current Breaker with Over-Current and combines the functionality of an MCB and RCD. Since an RCD is designed solely to protect against earth leakage and an MCB is designed to protect only against over-current, an RCBO protects against both these types of faults by tripping the circuit when an imbalance is detected.
- Blanks – Pieces of either metal or plastic that clip onto the din rail in place of vacant devices to allow for reconfiguration of circuit design if required in the future.
Main Switch Metal Consumer Units
In our range of main switch metal consumer units we offer six different types which includes 4 way, 6 way, 8 way, 12 way, 16 way and 19 way boards. All the consumer units in this range come complete with a double pole 100A main switch and are fitted with a busbar for the MCBs or RCBOs which can be removed to fit other modular components.
Metal RCD Consumer Units
In our metal RCD consumer units range we offer either a 6 way or 8 way board. The consumer units come complete with a double pole 63A 30mA RCD and all outgoing ways are protected by an RCD incomer. They are also fitted with a busbar for the MCBs or RCBOs.
Dual RCD Metal Consumer Units
We have a flexible range of consumer units for optimal combinations of MCBs and RCBOs in our dual RCD metal consumer units that come fully loaded with two RCDs, a double pole isolator and eight or ten MCBs depending on the size of the board. The two RCD’s sections allow for the minimisation of nuisance tripping and the board is supplied with eight or ten MCBs for convenience and to save money by buying the board complete. The consumer units contain flexible connections which allows for various configurations of protected ways. Also, they can be configured as Dual RCCB or as a High Integrity Unit. The unit should be configured so that the adjacent areas of power or lighting are not connected to the same RCCB to minimise the risk of total failure. Additionally, care should be taken to balance circuits with high protective conductor currents to avoid switching surges tripping the RCCB.