How to reset a fuse board

Resetting a fuse on a consumer unit.

A modern fuse board (consumer unit) is made up of a series of switches. Each switch relates to a circuit (for example of lights or sockets) or individual appliances (for example an oven or electric shower). Usually there will be labels on the switches indicating which circuit or appliance the switch relates to.

When an electrical fault occurs – either in a circuit or appliance – the switch on the fuse board is designed to detect this and “trip” – switch to the “off” position. This safety measure prevents any electrical power going to the faulty circuit or appliance and, potentially, causing a fire.

As safety standards, technology and regulations have developed so the sensitivity of consumer units has improved.

It’s reasonably well understood that “when the lights go out” people will go to their fuse board and reset (put back to “on”) any switches that have tripped.

STEP 1: – What if the switch keeps on tripping?

If you try putting the tripped switch back to the “on” position but it either immediately trips again or it just won’t go back “on” then try the following:

  1. Switch off the Main Switch.
    • This may be labelled “Main Switch” or just be the biggest (and probably red) switch on or next to the fuse board.
    • Keep in mind that if switching this off you will need to reset any electrical clocks or devices with timers that require constant power.
  2. Slowly count to 10
  3. Now switch the tripped switch to “On”
  4. Now switch the Main Switch back “on”

STEP 2 – What if the switch trips again?

If, when you turn on the Main Switch, the original switch trips again then:

  1. Check the label of the switch to identify the circuit or appliance where the fault lies.
  2. Switch off and / or unplug all lights, switches and appliances in that circuit. Even adaptors or extension leads should be unplugged.
  3. Now try resetting the switch using the procedure in STEP 1

If that works and you’d like to find precisely where the fault is then:

  1. One at a time plug in and switch on everything you previously unplugged or switched off.
  2. When the switch on the fuse board trips again then you will know that it was the last item that you plugged in / switched on that has a fault.
  3. Have it checked by an electrician or dispose of it.

STEP 3 – Arrange for an Electrician to visit

Contact an electrician – via HomeForce – the moment that you feel uncomfortable doing any of the above or you cannot reset the fuse board.

Also call an electrician if you believe you have identified where the fault lies and would like it verified and repaired.

Note that the above steps are for guidance only.

Arrange for an electrician to contact you now: