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Posted 9th Feb
Does anyone know if you need a separate consumer unit for economy 7 storage heaters?

We have a property that is on economy 7 tariff and there are two consumer units in the property, which we think explain why there are two consumer units.

Can you put the two units together into one new consumer unit? We have been told that we should do this as part of the replacement of the main consumer unit by the electrician but I want to check his advice independently if I can.
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Normally it's 2 separate units. You would to keep the units separate as a normal consumer unit is already split into two so I don't know where you add the additional circuit as it's time controlled and can not be mixed with the other circuits. Live life simple keep it separate
kash201310/02/2020 00:07

Normally it's 2 separate units. You would to keep the units separate as a …Normally it's 2 separate units. You would to keep the units separate as a normal consumer unit is already split into two so I don't know where you add the additional circuit as it's time controlled and can not be mixed with the other circuits. Live life simple keep it separate


thanks. i have googled whether you need a separate consumer unit for storage heaters and the results are not conclusive. some says you do and other states you don't. it seems to indicate that you can use a dual tariff board if you put them together as linked below?

electriciansforums.net/thr…73/


but this link says they should be kept separate

community.screwfix.com/thr…00/
I would just keep it separate as it will just make life easier. And if there is a issue it can be easily resolved in the future.
kash201310/02/2020 11:16

I would just keep it separate as it will just make life easier. And if …I would just keep it separate as it will just make life easier. And if there is a issue it can be easily resolved in the future.


i will ask him to keep them separate if possible as i don't want to mess up something that is working. i asked him for a quote to replace the main consumer unit and he says that he needs to bring the two units together.

there is also a separate RCD switch running out of the old main consumer unit as shown in the pic below. he says that he will remove that. is this because new consumer units now come with RCD within the unit itself?

39875006-qxptB.jpg
Sometimes Economy 7 circuits have a separate supply from the meter which is only live at night. This has the advantage of making full use of the cheap night rate without needing time switches for the storage heaters and immersion heater. You may have a secondary immersion in the top of the cylinder for topping up during the day.
mutley110/02/2020 11:21

........he says that he will remove that.


Yes that should go. It's incredibly unsightly
Doug_10/02/2020 11:37

Sometimes Economy 7 circuits have a separate supply from the meter which …Sometimes Economy 7 circuits have a separate supply from the meter which is only live at night. This has the advantage of making full use of the cheap night rate without needing time switches for the storage heaters and immersion heater. You may have a secondary immersion in the top of the cylinder for topping up during the day.


as far as i am aware this is the existing situation. the supply on the cheaper rate becomes live at night and yes there is a top up immersion heater connected to the day supply. i don't know if this needs two separate consumer units or they can both be put into one. it would appear that they can be put into into one consumer unit if it is a dual tariff consumer unit.
OllieSt10/02/2020 14:51

Yes that should go. It's incredibly unsightly


unsightly isn't a worry at the moment, safe is. i need to make sure that if that is removed there is something else to replace it as RCD are there for a reason. i want to know if new consumer units come with RCD and so this is why the existing separate RCD can be removed.
mutley110/02/2020 11:21

there is also a separate RCD switch running out of the old main consumer …there is also a separate RCD switch running out of the old main consumer unit as shown in the pic below. he says that he will remove that.



mutley110/02/2020 15:16

i want to know if new consumer units come with RCD and so this is why the …i want to know if new consumer units come with RCD and so this is why the existing separate RCD can be removed.



Hmmm. I can see how this is really tricky. What does your hubby have to say on this extremely difficult scenario?

May I suggest that you get a NICIEC contractor on the job. You don't want to be creating a potential deathtrap. Of course it will cost you, but it's got to be far better than relying on info from complete strangers in an internet forum and an electrician that you don't seem to want to trust or liaise with.


It will cost a quite a lot more but surely it's money well spent And the present RCD is pig ugly
Edited by: "OllieSt" 10th Feb
OllieSt10/02/2020 16:12

Hmmm. I can see how this is really tricky. May I suggest that you get a …Hmmm. I can see how this is really tricky. May I suggest that you get a NICIEC contractor on the job. You don't want to be creating a potential deathtrap. Of course it will cost you, but it's got to be far better than relying on info from complete strangers in an internet forum and an electrician that you don't seem to want to trust or liaise with. It will cost you though


i am getting a qualified electrician to do the job. i have learnt from experience that you should always take advice from someone who has a vested interest with a pinch of salt.

he could be advising me to do things that are not needed to get more work and charge more. it may not be wrong to put two consumer units together but there maybe no need to do so or it is actually better to have two separate consumer units but there is nothing wrong with adding them together, except that i have to pay more for the privilege, when it is not even needed!

you need to get independent advice as well to make sure that you are not being advised to do work that is not needed. also just because someone is qualified and has the badge, they may still be incompetent. there are lots of professionals out there who are qualified but who are incompetent as a piece of paper with your name on it does not necessarily mean that you know everything and that you are experienced at giving the best advice out there.

complete strangers on here may not always be the most experienced but at least they don't have a vested interest in their advice or opinion.
Edited by: "mutley1" 10th Feb
mutley110/02/2020 16:27

i have learnt from experience that you should always take advice from …i have learnt from experience that you should always take advice from someone who has a vested interest with a pinch of salt.


With that in mind what feedback did you get from the unlucky candidates that failed to win this rather complex tender?

Or is it a case that you're the kind of person that doesn't want to waste other peoples time?
Edited by: "OllieSt" 10th Feb
OllieSt10/02/2020 16:45

With that in mind what feedback did you get from the unlucky candidates …With that in mind what feedback did you get from the unlucky candidates that failed to win this rather complex tender?Or is it a case that you're the kind of person that doesn't want to waste other peoples time?


i have only asked one person to quote as i have used him for another job and he was quite competitive in pricing. i want to get an independent check on what he is advising me as there is never any harm in getting independent advice or doing research to find the answers yourself if you can as that will also be independent. however, someone with electrical knowledge will be better placed than me to understand the results that google churns out when you start asking about electrics.

i got a quote for a plumbing job recently and i spoke to two plumbers, and they were both telling me completely different things as to what needs to be done. one guy was making a mountain out of a mole hill to get more work while the other guy was more honest and made the job quite simple. this just go to show once again that getting quotes from tradespeople does not always mean you get the best advice as they will not be independent when they tell you what needs to be done.
You could put both into one new consumer unit by getting rid of the second supply. This would mean faffing around with timeswitches for the heaters. Alternatively buy or adapt a unit to contain two supplies within one enclosure, making the work a little more complicated. Unless you're tight for space I don't see the need to put them into one unit.

It's standard practice nowadays to include RCD protection for all circuits when replacing a consumer unit. The electrician should be registered under Part P and provide an Electrical Installation Certificate and the Part P notification. The NICEIC is just one of the schemes that he could be registered with.
Doug_10/02/2020 18:17

You could put both into one new consumer unit by getting rid of the …You could put both into one new consumer unit by getting rid of the second supply. This would mean faffing around with timeswitches for the heaters. Alternatively buy or adapt a unit to contain two supplies within one enclosure, making the work a little more complicated. Unless you're tight for space I don't see the need to put them into one unit. It's standard practice nowadays to include RCD protection for all circuits when replacing a consumer unit. The electrician should be registered under Part P and provide an Electrical Installation Certificate and the Part P notification. The NICEIC is just one of the schemes that he could be registered with.


i have asked the electrician as to why there is a need to put the two consumer units together and whether he is going to put in a dual tariff board. google seems to say that it is better to keep two separate consumer units so i may tell him not to add the two together as there is no need even though he wants to do it!

there is no space restriction as the main consumer unit is in its own box embedded into the wall, while the smaller ecocomy 7 consumer unit is outside surface mounted higher up on the wall. i asked him to give me a quote for replacing the main consumer unit as there are not enough fuses in there so i need a bigger one. he has turned round and said he will also need to add the other smaller consumer unit into the new one.

there is already RCD protection as you can in the pic i posted. he says that he will need to remove that, so i want to know why? it is necessary for RCD protection otherwise it wouldn't have been put there. if he is going to remove it, where is the new RCD going to be? he didn't say he was going to put in a new RCD, so is this now part and parcel of a new consumer unit? where do RCD go these days if they don't go on the wall like that shown in the photo?

i had another consumer unit replaced recently at another property and that didn't have an external RCD so I don't know why this one has and that one didn't.
The RCD is presumably connected to cables going to or from the main consumer unit. It would be sensible to remove it and incorporate the protection into the new unit. Standard consumer units now contain two RCDs with each protecting half the circuits, though there are other solutions. He'll probably want to keep the replacement consumer unit in the same place as the cables are there. He may need to extend the cable coming down the wall.

Is the old fuse box a small unit with a front cover roughly flush with the wall or is it a large steel cabinet about 2' high by 18" wide and containing the meter?
Judging by the picture I doubt you have economy 7 at all. You just have night storage heater set by a timer on the heaters.
Doug_10/02/2020 20:08

The RCD is presumably connected to cables going to or from the main …The RCD is presumably connected to cables going to or from the main consumer unit. It would be sensible to remove it and incorporate the protection into the new unit. Standard consumer units now contain two RCDs with each protecting half the circuits, though there are other solutions. He'll probably want to keep the replacement consumer unit in the same place as the cables are there. He may need to extend the cable coming down the wall. Is the old fuse box a small unit with a front cover roughly flush with the wall or is it a large steel cabinet about 2' high by 18" wide and containing the meter?


the latter.
Willy_Wonka10/02/2020 20:20

Judging by the picture I doubt you have economy 7 at all. You just have …Judging by the picture I doubt you have economy 7 at all. You just have night storage heater set by a timer on the heaters.


there is economy 7 as there are two meters and the electricity tariff is economy 7. it has always been like that.
mutley110/02/2020 20:43

there is economy 7 as there are two meters and the electricity tariff is …there is economy 7 as there are two meters and the electricity tariff is economy 7. it has always been like that.



Brilliant. Then the electrician can wire it up to a divided consumer unit.
Willy_Wonka10/02/2020 20:47

Brilliant. Then the electrician can wire it up to a divided consumer unit.


what does this actually mean in simple language?
The electrician can make it look smarter by wiring everything to the same consumer unit.
Why don't you leave it as it is.
Willy_Wonka10/02/2020 20:56

The electrician can make it look smarter by wiring everything to the same …The electrician can make it look smarter by wiring everything to the same consumer unit. Why don't you leave it as it is.


it is not me that says it should be put into one unit, it is him!
mutley110/02/2020 21:00

it is not me that says it should be put into one unit, it is him!



Well you have all the information above to make your decision. So decide.
Doug_10/02/2020 21:30

Sounds like you have a Mantel unit (the inside of the door probably says …Sounds like you have a Mantel unit (the inside of the door probably says Mantel Steelworks). Consumer units made to fit them used to be called skeleton units. This link is a brochure from one of the main manufacturers, www.electrium.co.uk/media/20151123152628_0_Wylex Meter Cabinet Consumer units.pdf These are a few suppliers, www.fusionelectricalsupplies.com/index.php/catalogsearch/result/?cat=&q=skeleton www.tradesparky.com/circuit-protection/distribution-equipment/consumer-units/wylex-falnmiss7slm-conunt-7-way-skltn www.edwardes.co.uk/categories/wylex-mantel-clifton-units


i have now heard back from the electrician that the new consumer unit already has its own RCD so there is no need for an external RCD. also he pointed out that the main consumer unit is actually dual tariff so he is going to replace it with a similar box, but one that has more fuses as there were not enough fuses in the old box.

he says that the other consumer unit is not for the storage heaters but an additional box added because there were not enough fuses in the main box, as he is going to put in a bigger box, there is no need for that additional box to stay.

so all sorted now
mutley110/02/2020 22:55

i have now heard back from the electrician ...............so all sorted …i have now heard back from the electrician ...............so all sorted now


OllieSt10/02/2020 16:45

............Or is it a case that you're the kind of person that doesn't …............Or is it a case that you're the kind of person that doesn't want to waste other peoples time?



You never did answer that question
Edited by: "OllieSt" 10th Feb
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