How much does it cost to instruct an electrician to remove and replace a fusebox/consumer unit? We know how much this work costs because we recently had this work completed for us on one of our houses.
We also took the opportunity to ask the sparky a few probing questions about this type of work.
Tip: while this page is all about fuse boxes, we have a separate and recently updated guide to house rewiring costs that you can find here.
On this page you will discover:
- typical cost to replace a fuse box
- cost of the materials
- cost for bonding and whether you need it upgrading
- info about testing and fault finding
- how long the work will realistically take
Here’s what Mark, an electrician from Farnham told us:
Replacing a fusebox won’t in itself solve all the problems with an older installation. Modern consumer units are very sensitive to changes in the electrical current, so if your wiring installation is very old, you may find that the new unit trips frequently. To avoid this, the installation should be fully tested prior to changing the unit. This can take several hours but is a necessary step.
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Electrician’s Work Schedule
Below is an example of a works schedule, it includes all the work involved with a fusebox change:
- initial visual inspection to existing electrics
- fault finding and testing of existing electrics
- report to customer and offer quotation for fusebox and any extra work that may be required such as bonding/earthing
- remove and replace fusebox
- test the circuits, bonding and earthing and sign off the work with a building control notification certificate
This really should be done before the unit is replaced so your electrician knows what, if any, issues will need to be corrected first.
Installing a new box first can lead to unexpected charges when your electrician does his final fault finding and locates a whole host of issues that need be fixed before the work is signed off.
Here is an explanation of bonding:
Electrical bonding is the practice of intentionally electrically connecting all exposed metallic items not designed to carry electricity in a room or building as protection from electric shock. If a failure of electrical insulation occurs, all bonded metal objects in the room will have substantially the same electrical potential, so that an occupant of the room cannot touch two objects with significantly different potentials. Even if the connection to a distant earth ground is lost, the occupant will be protected from dangerous potential differences.
When replacing a fusebox, your electrician will need to check the existing bonding is up to standard, upgrades will add to the cost.
Earthing is where a direct conducting path is created between your electrical installation and the ground. This protects you from shocks.
The earthing in your property will need to be checked as part of a new fusebox installation.
How Long Does it Take to Replace a Fusebox?
This depends on the condition of the existing installation.
However, we can estimate that for a typical 3-bed house the work will take about two hours for the box change and 2-5 hours for testing, fault finding and correcting.
So, expect the work to take over half a day.
What About the Cost of the Materials?
A fully loaded consumer unit/fusebox will cost around £120, meter tails (might be needed) will cost another £10. Main earth upgrade cables as extra nominal cost.
Building Control Notification and Fees
If your electrician isn’t a Competent Person Scheme member then your local building control will need to inspect the work before it can be signed off, this can cost several hundred pounds and isn’t a desirable option.
If however, your electrician is with a scheme, he/she can self-certify that the work meets current regulations and provide you with a copy of the certificate that is sent to building control.
Scheme membership will cost your electrician £420 +vat per year and £3 per certificate that is created.
New Fusebox Cost
You can expect a new consumer unit/fusebox, professionally installed, tested and the work notified to set you back around £500.00 inc VAT.
If however, your existing wiring is up to standard and all the testing goes smoothly, you could end up paying less although anything below £400.00 inc VAT would be unusual for this type of work.
You should also consider the extra charges you may need to pay, bonding work and replacing the meter tails will add extra cost if they’re needed.
Obviously, there are limitations to what work an electrician can do when replacing a fusebox/consumer unit.
A new consumer unit isn’t a replacement for a house rewire and if your electrics are really that out of date and dangerous you may find you need much more than a new consumer unit.
We always suggest having a full check of your existing wiring before having any work carried out, you’ll get peace of mind and will avoid any unexpected charges.
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