I'm in the UK and in the process of buying my first house (early 1900's victorian terrace). I paid for a home buyers report which came back with some areas for improvement, one being the fuse box. The surveyor noted the following;

The fuse box is located in the front living room. The fuse box is dated. The electrical system was not tested. It should be tested by a competent electrician, NICEIC registered, the condition ascertained and any necessary work carried out.

Please see below for a picture of the fuse box (apologies for the bad quality);

  • can someone confirm what i'm looking at?
  • am I any any immediate danger or need to upgrade this?

I know the small white box on the ground is the keypad to enter a code when electric is purchased - that's as far as my electronics knowledge goes :)

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I know absolutely nothing about electrics, hopefully someone here can help!

  • I can't make anything useful out in that photo. It looks like they put all the wires and phone equipment in there, along with what might be an alarm system. Can you post a closeup of the fuse box itself? – Machavity Mar 4 '19 at 13:17
  • Is this a rental unit? – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 4 '19 at 14:39
  • Because if you own it but rent it out, it changes the rules a bit. – Harper - Reinstate Monica Mar 4 '19 at 14:45

Left to right:

  • Bell transformer
  • Fusebox - this looks it may have been DIY-modified to have an RCD main switch
  • Meter, below which, service intake and cutout fuse.
  • to right of service intake, "Henley blocks" which split the output from the meter to the fusebox left and the consumer unit right
  • Newish consumer unit - possibly for an electric shower

There is one aspect of immediate concern - those fuses on the left-hand unit should have a plastic cover over them. The cover is often missing or broken. It is required as without it (a) live parts may be exposed and not finger-safe (b) if a fuse blows, the lid contains the blast from the fuse rupturing and may prevent a fire.

If the wiring is after about 1965 and in good order it may be possible to reuse it, which will reduce redecoration, but there are likely to be insufficient sockets etc, so you're probably looking at a fairly comprehensive rewire.

  • Thanks for this answer and the explanation of each component. Why do you think a rewire is required, would upgrading the fuse box ti a modern installation not suffice? Thanks – jonboy Mar 4 '19 at 20:33
  • Changing the fuse box alone won't improve the number of sockets etc, which may mean that the installation remains inadequate for modern needs. – Owain Mar 4 '19 at 22:03
  • Hello, again. Yet another good answer; hope to see more from you. – Daniel Griscom Mar 5 '19 at 1:55
  • 1
    Not so sure I see an RCD myself? (except for the sub-panel on th right) – Niall Mar 5 '19 at 18:03
  • @jonboy This answer is good. I'll add to it by saying that. 1. only testing by an electrician will tell you if your wiring is safe and it should be done. 2. Either way changing out the consumer unit is a good idea. This one is an old wylex style with physical fuses (possibly/probably not with RCD protection) - updating it to a newer DIN unit will provide better protection (and be much neater). Ask your electrician about relocation (may be a small-ish job or a very large one). – Niall Mar 5 '19 at 18:12

The box is quite old, maybe from the 60s. I really think you should have the whole-house wiring inspected, also because it has only 6 circuits and probably the wiring of that house should, at least, be extended.... Old adage says: penny wise pound foolish. This 'whole house' works should be done while working, doing them after would lead you to pay twice for some works.

Re-doing that box will cost you about 400£ including troubleshooting.


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