Why You Need A Switchboard Upgrade
When it comes to maintaining the continued electrical safety of your home, a switchboard upgrade – when necessary – is not something you should overlook. As one of the most important electrical systems in your house, the electrical switchboard relays electricity to various circuits and outlets. Think of it as the brain of your home’s electrical system, and something you need to monitor and maintain.
Ignoring faults in your electrical switchboard, or leaving them unnoticed, can cause irreparable damage that may put you and your loved ones at great risk. If you’re only just thinking about the importance now, it could be the perfect time for a switchboard upgrade.
What’s Involved In A Switchboard Upgrade?
Generally speaking, a switchboard upgrade will involve a qualified electrician tidying up electrical wiring and updating unsafe elements within your existing switchboard. As part of the switchboard upgrade process, they will typically:
- Replace ceramic fuses for modern circuit breakers and residual current device (RCD) safety switches
- Rewire cables behind your panel
- Replace old panels such as ones made of wood or asbestos
- Upgrade mains cables
- Conduct electrical tests for wider electrical hazards
- Add a smart meter
- Issue you with an electrical safety certificate to show the switchboard upgrade complies with Australian electrical standards and provide details about your property’s various electrical systems.
The ramifications of leaving an outdated switchboard to accommodate the growing electrical demands of a typical 21st century Australian home can be huge. Below we explore just some of the reasons why it’s well worth your while to invest in an upgraded switchboard. Your home’s electrical wiring will thank you for it.
Faulty Switchboard = Electrical Fires
If your current switchboard relies on replaceable wires and fuses, you run a high risk of fire and other safety hazards. Increased electricity consumption can lead to fuses blowing within your home. The circuit breaker becomes less effective, and your system may overload. These overloads can cause elements on your switchboard to melt as they overheat, eventually catching fire.
In some instances, when the electrical fire starts at the back of the fuse board, a draft will carry the fire up the wall cavity into the roof where it can grow into a devastating house fire.
Overloaded switchboard elements are at higher risk of occurring during the summer and winter months, as the need for heating and cooling systems powered by electricity increases. Before you put more pressure on your switchboard, employ the assistance of a qualified and licensed electrician to inspect and carry out switchboard upgrades and other necessary electrical work.
Compliance With Australian Electrical System Standards
The Australian Government has Australian Electrical Standards in place to ensure homeowners and electricians around the country comply with modern-day electrical demands, usage and safety. You can find more information on minimum standards at Standards Australia.
There are a few key standards relating to switchboards that are worth nothing. Among them is the need to install safety switches for all lighting and power circuits in order to protect homes from electrical hazards. These switches are designed to shut down the switchboard when it is overloaded. In fact, they can turn off electricity in 0.03 seconds if required. Safety switch installation is one of the best ways you can upgrade your switchboard and protect your home and electrical equipment from unnecessary faults.
If your switchboard is aged or still features ceramic fuses or wooden panels, it’s time to consider switchboard upgrades. Installing a new circuit breaker or safety switch will go a long way towards improving electrical safety in your home.
For further insight into the Australian Electrical Standards and to ensure the electrical current in your property is compliant, speak to your local electrician.
Keep Up With Demand
When switchboards were first designed, they were only required to power minor electric-powered appliances such as fans and irons. With technological advances, there are now more major electrical appliances in a family home than ever before. As our need for electricity rises, the demands on our switchboards rise too.
Switchboards with outdated materials and wiring can be put under immense pressure by modern appliances. As a result, they are at risk of causing fires, electric shock and blown fuses. In fact, consistently blown fuses are a tell-tale sign your electrical circuits are not coping. A switchboard upgrade is necessary.
Renovating Your Home?
If you’re renovating or making extensions to your home, it’s well worth considering the same points. Additional rooms, power points, light fixtures and air conditioners all require extra power and circuit protection for the home.
Simply put, a whole new switchboard with modern elements, safety features and modern circuit breakers is more capable of safely managing electricity use at a higher level.
Save Money on Electrical Services
Older switchboards that need ongoing attention can end up costing you a lot more in electrician fees and call outs than upgrading the switchboard from the start. Newer electrical switchboards with RCDs and circuit breakers minimise the likelihood of requiring an electrician at all when circuit breakers trip. Instead, you should be able to safely reset the circuit yourself.
Replacing or Upgrading an Unsafe Switchboard
Unsurprisingly, there are a few tell-tale physical signs that indicate you may require a switchboard upgrade or even a complete replacement. If you notice any of the below, be sure to call on a qualified and licensed electrician and take a proactive approach to improving your electrical safety:
Loose electrical wiring in old or damaged switchboards can cause flickering lights. If you notice flickering lights, there may be a change in power supply indicating the need for an electrical switchboard upgrade.
Electrical Appliances Short-circuiting
When overloaded, outdated switchboards will short-circuit as they are not as power efficient. If you are experiencing frequent short-circuits, be sure to contact an electrician immediately as there is a potential fire risk. A switchboard replacement or upgrade might be necessary.
If you notice your switchboard looks busy and overcrowded, you may not have any room left. There will be no space to add additional circuits for upgrades. An overcrowded switchboard also poses a fire and safety hazard to the household.
The presence of a burning smell coming from your electrical switchboard may indicate faulty wiring or an overloaded circuit. If this is the case, call an electrician immediately for urgent repair.
This is a sign of a damaged fuse that you’ll need to replace. Melted fuses can cause electrical fires and should be looked at by an electrician immediately.
Contact The Local Experts in Switchboard Upgrades
When it comes to the safety of your home, you must remain vigilant and proactive. Seeking regular electrical maintenance checks, including switchboard maintenance checks and upgrades, can save you time and money. It just might also save the lives of you and your loved ones.
Metropolitan Electrical Contractors boasts over 25 years of industry experience and is your local switchboard expert. We can provide a range of advice and upgrades in line with Australian Electrical Standards. For more information or to book a qualified electrician, call us today.