Why You Should Upgrade Your Switchboard

When it comes to ensuring the continued safety of your home, the upgrade and replacement of electrical fittings should not be overlooked. One of the most important electrical systems that should be monitored and maintained in your house is your switchboard. It’s the brain of your home’s electrical system, relaying electricity to various circuits and outlets. If left unnoticed, faults within your switchboard can cause irreversible damage and 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.

Generally speaking, a switchboard upgrade will focus on tidying up wiring and updating unsafe elements within your switchboard. Your electrician may:

  • Replace ceramic fuses for modern circuit breakers and RCDs
  • Rewire cables behind your panel
  • Replace old panels such as ones made of wood or asbestos
  • Upgrade mains cables
  • Test the installation and residence for wider electrical hazards
  • Add a smart meter

The ramifications of an outdated switchboard left to deal with a home’s growing electrical demand can be huge. Below we explore just some of the reasons you should definitely invest in a switchboard inspection and upgrade today.

Faulty Switchboard = Electrical Fires

If your switchboard relies on replaceable wires and fuses, there is a high risk of fire. If increased electricity demand blows fuses 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 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.

Comply With Australian Electrical 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. More information can be found at Standards Australia.

There are a few key standards relating to switchboards which are of note including the need for all lighting and power circuits to have safety switches installed 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. A safety switch is one of the best ways you can protect your home from electrical faults.

Other switchboard electrical standards include RCD safety switch protection. If your switchboard is aged or still features ceramic fuses or wooden panels, it’s time for some switchboard upgrades.

For further insight into the Australian Electrical Standards and to ensure 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 electrical appliances such as fans and irons. With technological advances, there are now more 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, electrical shocks and blown fuses. In fact, consistently blown fuses are a telltale sign your electrical circuits are not coping. A switchboard upgrade is necessary.

The same considerations should be made when renovating or extending the size of the home. Extra rooms, power outlets, light fixtures and air conditioners all require extra power to the home.

Simply put, a switchboard with modern elements, safety features and modern circuit breakers can more safely manage a higher level of electricity use.

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 the circuit trips. Instead, you should be able to reset the circuit yourself in a safe manner.

An Unsafe Switchboard

Unsurprisingly, there are a few telltale physical signs that indicate you need may require switchboard upgrade. If you notice any of the below, be sure to call on a qualified and licensed electrician:

Flickering Lights

Loose 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.

Appliances Short-circuiting

Outdated switchboards will short-circuit when overloaded 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.

Overcrowded Appearance

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 and an overcrowded switchboard also poses a fire and safety hazard to the household.

Burning Smell

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.

Melted Fuses

This is a sign of a damaged fuse that needs replacing. Melted fuses can cause electrical fires and should be looked at by an electrician immediately.

Your Local Switchboard Experts

When it comes to the safety of your home, it is important you remain vigilant and proactive. Seeking regular electrical maintenance checks including switchboard maintenance checks and upgrades can save you time, money and ensure the continued safety of your loved ones.

Metropolitan Electrical Contractors have 25 years of industry experience and are your local switchboard experts. We can provide a range of advice and upgrades in line with Australian Electrical Standards. For more information, call us today.

Published: 24 Jun, 2020

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