Before improving Elect' outlets and adding Cat6, worth upgrading Consumer Unit?

Discussion in 'Electricians' Talk' started by BikerChris, Aug 30, 2018.

  1. BikerChris

    BikerChris Member

    Hi again all,

    Just wondering what you would do about this. Should I get an Electrician to put a new Consumer Unit in, as this one only has few Fuses and we need more outlets eventually? House is 3 bed semi with partly converted attic room, conservatory to rear. Most rooms have no more than one DS (would like at least 3x or 4x DS) apart from Kitchen which is the only good room. No electric shower but one proposed eventually - oddly one fuse says "SHO", but I haven't seen one yet!

    Also future proposal is an outbuilding (office/tool store) approx. 20-30m away from house (narrow garden), would need electric heating although it would be a small and well insulated building. Be nice to run a kettle too.

    Thanks in advance! :)

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  2. seneca

    seneca Screwfix Select

    Yes it would be worthwhile Chris, it would also give you RCD protection which you don't have at present.
    BikerChris likes this.
  3. KIAB

    KIAB Well-Known Member

    Upgrade & fit RCBO's.
    BikerChris likes this.
  4. Pollowick

    Pollowick Well-Known Member

    Definitely worth doing the CU first have it provisioned for everything you require and some spare ways. And also add provision for the outside building - have seen it done by running tails to a Henley block and then to the original and a second small 4 way CU with double pole switch and then a suitably rated breaker or RCBO. That will allow you full control over that building without compromising the remainder of the house.
    BikerChris likes this.
  5. Bazza

    Bazza Well-Known Member

    You cannot do that with that board. Needs replacement with a nice shiny new board.

    @BikerChris re your future outbuilding requirement. When you discuss this with your electrician (you'll need one) tell him you'll need what is known as a "High Integrity" consumer unit. This allows a certain number of unprotected ways - this is the easiest way of provisioning for an external cable run to your outbuilding - which will probably need amini consumer unit and RCD protection of its own.
    BikerChris likes this.
  6. Pollowick

    Pollowick Well-Known Member

    That is why I suggest splitting the feed - a full CU for the and a mini one to provide the feed to outside.
    BikerChris likes this.
  7. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Well-Known Member

    This is not DIY work.
    Allow spare ways for future proofing.
    Henley block split ideal.
    Think non rcd for freezers.
    Your sparks should advise..unless he is on holiday, no phone, too busy etc etc etc...;)
    BikerChris likes this.
  8. Bazza

    Bazza Well-Known Member

    Think 18th edition.....;)
    retiredsparks likes this.
  9. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    Unless you have a genuine need to run > 1000baseT cat 5e will do fine. It's cheaper and easier to install. If your main use is for streaming the max speed will be set by your ISP anyway, typically much less than 1000.
    BikerChris likes this.
  10. BikerChris

    BikerChris Member


    Yes it would be worthwhile Chris, it would also give you RCD protection which you don't have at present.[/QUOTE]

    Nice one, think I have an RCD already (don't ask!). Cheers mate

    That's brilliant, thank you, I did wonder if the outbuilding (glorified shed!) should have it's own isolation. Really much appreciated, big thumbs up.

    I will definitely mate a note of that mate, thank you. That sounds completely the right way to do it to me...umm, after you've explained it. Thanks for taking the time mate, much appreciated.

    Definitely not DIY work, unless I could magically have years worth of qualifications and experience over night - that ain't happening! Thank you mate, really helped that you're confirming what others have said. I don't have a sparks yet, just wanted wanted to get the gist of what needs doing and you've done that perfectly ;)

    Thanks mate, I thought of Cat6 / 1000baseT because I want to put a little file server in the house and have a good connection to it. Also, if I get my backside in gear, I'd like to do a little video editing / uploading...although I said that a year ago :( I already have 2 computers and there's a chance I'll be building another if needs be.

    You've all been bloody wonderful...I'm afraid this might mean you get more questions!!! :p:)
  11. Coloumb

    Coloumb Well-Known Member

    OOI do your network cards run >1000baseT?
    BikerChris likes this.
  12. BikerChris

    BikerChris Member

    They do indeed, even our router has, which is nice :)
  13. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Well-Known Member

    Cat 6 is a lot stiffer and in most cases not needed.
    Up to you in home system.
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  14. retiredsparks

    retiredsparks Well-Known Member

    Think not xmas and think not;)
  15. BikerChris

    BikerChris Member

    I do appreciate that, I'm just trying to avoid regrets really. There's always the (very) small chance that I might need 10Gb one day, despite the card cost. I also thought Cat6 would happily be put in a backfilled trench to the outbuilding?

    All depends on the cost when I have to order it of course! :eek:

    Really do appreciate pointing that out though RS, thumbup.
  16. Pollowick

    Pollowick Well-Known Member

    I always suggest putting in a Radial for the Fridge/Freezer, or two if separate and protect them with RCBOs. If anything else trips the RCD they remain on, however, if the fridge/freezer develops a fault and trips the RCBO that is fine

    When the trench is dug to run power to the shed/office, I would also run in some external Cat5e or Cat6 (if available) choosing 8 pair or more and you can then have two Gbit links to the office too.
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  17. Pollowick

    Pollowick Well-Known Member

    Our posts crossed, I had written mine but got called away before sending!. Definitely put the external/armoured Cat6 (or even Cat5e) maybe in flexi conduit (so you could upgrade) into teh trench, just give it reasonable clearance from power. If you don't - you will regret it.
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  18. HappyHacker

    HappyHacker Active Member

    When running network cable to the shed stick at least one extra in so you have a spare if the original has a problem.
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  19. spinlondon

    spinlondon Well-Known Member

    It’s a possibility that you have an unearthed lighting system.
    If that is the case, you may struggle to find anyone willing to swap the Consumer Unit without also rewiring at least the lighting.
    You could also find that socket circuits have been wired as a spider ring which would make it hard to add sockets to the existing circuits and may also need rewiring.

    Personally, I would always advise using RCBOs rather than a couple of RCDs protecting multiple circuits.
    What ever you do, don’t decorate or lay laminate flooring just before getting someone in to do any rewiring.
    BikerChris likes this.
  20. BikerChris

    BikerChris Member

    Thanks for the followup Pollowick, very much appreciated, all makes complete sense.

    About the trench, I've always wanted to run a double cable and have recommended it to others in the can't really do a single, walk the walk eh! I was thinking about putting it in a 2 inch pipe, or conduit, whichever is cheaper. I've heard about lecky/Cat not getting on, so may be 2 separate conduits at least 150mm apart (vertically or horizontally) OK do you think?

    Cheers HappyHacker, thank you mate, glad I'm not the only one that thinks 'things' happen :)

    Hmm, you've got a very fair point SpinLondon, can of worms and all that. I wanted to do a rough circuit plan, so doing that should hopefully identify the situation.

    RCBO it is, seems to be the popular thing to do.

    As for decorating...already done sadly, but new flooring is set for a later date when lecky is being sorted, especially if re-screwing 'em down doesn't fix some squeaks. She's lived in finished buildings all her life and doesn't like exposed plaster 'n floor boards - I wasn't bothered. I'm going to lightly gripfill the skirtings so I can take them off easy later on.

    P.S. Nice wheels mate :)

    Thanks again all! :D

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