Circuit Breaker Replacement for Wall Heater in Kitchen


Postby bluenun » Sun Sep 06, 2015 12:08 pm

I had a Storage heater in the kitchen which did not work so I bought an electric wall heater and fixed it to the wall and plugged it in but it does not work either (It does work in other sockets in other rooms).

Could the circuit breaker marked "Kitchen Heater" in the consumer unit need replacing?

I did take 4 pictures to upload to this thread but they apparently are too big.
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Postby ericmark » Mon Sep 07, 2015 6:33 am

It is rare for a breaker (MCB) to fail. It is more likely some where there is a fused connection unit (FCU) with a blown fuse or the supply is on a timer.

When a MCB fails you can normally feel it takes a different pressure to reset to a good one.

Some distribution units it's easy to change a MCB they simply plug in. But latter types of consumer unit can be hard to renew. (Around 1996 a type tested distribution unit was developed for domestic use called a consumer unit. So in real terms fuse box, distribution unit and consumer unit are all the same unit just three different names)

Some modern consumer units require all MCB's to be removed and refitted to change one, and there have been errors changing them which have caused fires, as a result of the modern rubbish being used rules are changing requiring them to be made from fire resistance material i.e. metal. If not a plug in unit I would not try a DIY change.
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Postby bluenun » Mon Sep 07, 2015 7:28 am

I waited up last night until the low rate electricity started and saw that the heater I fitted in the Kitchen did come on. So the circuit breaker is fine.

However I want to be able to turn the heater on during the day if and when needed and not for it to come on at night. Is there any way I can do that or will that socket always be activated at night?
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Postby ericmark » Tue Sep 08, 2015 7:24 pm

There are many ways to use the economy 7 tariff in the beginning we had the white meter and that only turned on at set times but there was a move away from that system so you can set washing machine for example to use the off peak supply.

So we started to see duel timers one for the electric company and one for the user and also massive bills where the two did not switch at same time.

There have been so many systems that today we have to be really careful to my mind I liked the white meter it gave us no surprise bills.

There were some council houses near here built to use off peak heating with a large heat store in centre of house well insulated with fans and ducts to deliver the heat as and when required. The heat store would stay hot for a week if fans not used and it worked well.

Today we have a similar design using water again very well insulated the water store can actually be outside.

However in the main the bricks in heater type of off peak heating has been a failure.

We talk about heater efficiency if you want heat for one hour and it takes the heater one hour to heat the room that heater is 50% efficient if it takes just 1/2 hour it's 75% efficient. If the heater takes 7 hours to heat up and gives out heat for 24 hours when you only want it for 6 hours then the efficiency is really poor. Many find cheaper running without the economy 7 tariff because then power in the day is cheaper.

For an office heat wanted 9 - 5 the economy 7 tariff worked well. With a home with children and wife at home all day the economy 7 tariff was reasonable. But out to work at 8 and return at 6 and the economy 7 tariff simply does not work unless you use one of the special heat stores which when off loose very little heat.

But the heat store is very expensive and to pay £3000 to have one fitted it will take many years to get that money back. The ones I have seen combine solar panels, wood burner and off peak and were installed when the house was built. I have not seen one fitted at a latter date. So the money was borrowed on the mortgage so the interest on money borrowed to fit system was low.

Reason for ramble was it is easy to get rid of economy 7 tariff and have all only supply points to heaters turned into sockets. But to just swap one socket is not that easy.
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Postby bluenun » Wed Sep 09, 2015 10:23 am

Thank-you for the detailed reply very informative.

So I still have 2 storage heaters, 1 in the lounge and 1 in the hall which I will carry on using.

In the bedroom I have a convection heater that can turn on when I want.
This was my plan in the Kitchen too.

In the kitchen where I took the old storage heater off the wall, it was wired straight into the socket. I fitted a 1 gang switched socket thinking it was like all the other sockets in the property and that I could plug my new wall heater into it and use the heater whenever I wanted. But apparently not, as when the plug switch in on it the fire only comes on during off peak electricity times like the other 2 storage heaters.

So I suppose the only way around this is to fit another socket in the Kitchen.
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Postby ericmark » Fri Sep 11, 2015 11:34 am

Either fit another socket, or fit timers to the other heaters. Fitting new socket likely the easy way.

One other option but not really DIY is often each off peak heater has it's own radial circuit and it's own fuse/MCB. Taking the cable out of the MCB and moving it to standard consumer unit could do the job. But for this I would say get an electrician not really a DIY job working inside the live consumer unit/fuse box.
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Postby bluenun » Mon Sep 14, 2015 9:40 am

I think fitting a new socket is the way to go.

Thank-you very much for your help.
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