08 Mar 2023

Just like any part of your home, switchboards do need a ‘renovation’ from time to time, often referred to as a switchboard upgrade.

  • Are you experiencing issues with the power in your home?
  • Do you have old fuses or plug-in circuit breakers?
  • Has an electrician or another tradesperson suggested you need a switchboard upgrade? 
  • Do you live in a home that was built more than 30 years ago, as older switchboards are often not fitted with electrical safety switches? 

To reduce the risk of electrical fires. A new switchboard installation has many more benefits, not the least being electrical safety.

If you’re feeling concerned and wondering what might be wrong with your electrical switchboard, read on to learn the signs it’s time to invest in a new switchboard, the dangers of an outdated switchboard and what the switchboard upgrade costs might be.

If you still have questions, give Allyn White a call on 0416 235 641 as Allyn provides switchboard upgrade services and advice to homeowners, landlords and commercial owners. 

WHAT IS THE SWITCHBOARD?

The switchboard in your home is often referred to as the ‘central hub’ of electricity and for good reason. The purpose of your switchboard is to distribute the power from your electricity provider through the many circuits in your home that power your lights, outlets, appliances, air-conditioning and pool. All of the power in your home can be shut off and on via your electrical switchboard.

Sometimes called a fuse box, meter box, breaker box or electrical box, when you understand the important job your switchboard has, you realise how critical it is to keep it safe and compliant.

WHY YOU NEED TO KEEP YOUR SWITCHBOARD SAFE

Household power consumption has increased over the years with the endless electrical appliances, smart home features and other gadgets we own. Additionally, homeowners, landlords and tenants are becoming more savvy when it comes to the integrity of electricity in their home and the impact on personal safety. Electrical Safety Standards in Australia have improved to increase the protection of people in their homes and the safety of electricians working in homes.

The dangers of an outdated switchboard are scary – fuses and old circuit breakers are responsible for many household electrical fires and you may not have the necessary safety switches to protect your family from electric shock.

INSIDE YOUR SWITCHBOARD

Your switchboard is usually housed in a steel box at the front of your property. A panel of switches directs power through your property although there may also be a subpanel for a specific section of your home.

Your panel is made up of circuit breakers which are controlled by an ON / OFF lever, each circuit breaker will usually be labelled to indicate what area of the house it serves. If you have safety switches, these will look like another switch with a button marked with ‘TEST’ or ‘T’.

As a home,  rental property owner or as a commercial property owner, this is probably as much as you need to know about what is inside the switchboard and how it works. To get inside the switchboard to install or replace circuit breakers or safety switches or complete an upgrade you must use a licensed electrician.

WHAT ARE THE SIGNS YOU MAY NEED TO UPGRADE YOUR SWITCHBOARD?

There are some tell-tale signs that may indicate your switchboard is under pressure but there are also subtle signs that you may not notice. There are also actions you might take like renovating, renting out or selling your home that trigger a legal requirement to update your switchboard. We’ll outline some of the most common situations when you might need a switchboard upgrade.

  • System faults and power outages

One of the most obvious signs of a switchboard issue is your circuit breakers trip leading to the power to cut out on a particular circuit in your home (e.g. your powerpoints). Another symptom is flickering lights or your appliances might be short-circuiting which means there is excess electrical current flow which can damage your appliance. An electrician can diagnose the cause of the problem and identify whether changes to your switchboard are part of the solution.

  • Don’t have a Safety Switch

If there’s an issue detected due to a short circuit, circuit overload or a fault with an appliance, a safety switch (also known as RCD) will immediately turn off the power (in 0.03 seconds) to help prevent electric shock.

If your switchboard doesn’t contain a safety switch you’re putting the lives of your family at risk. Even if you’re not yet required by law to install a safety switch, get peace of mind that your home is safe. Installing safety switches may lead to a switchboard upgrade.

  • Your switchboard still has fuses

If you live in an older Brisbane suburbs like Ashgrove, Bardon, Paddington, Red Hill, Mitchelton, The Grange or Alderley and haven’t renovated you might still have the old style fuses in your switchboard. Ceramic fuses are outdated and are an indicator that your electrical system is at risk.  Old switchboards and fuses are a cause of house fires, so if you have the old style fuses be sure to put a switchboard upgrade at the very top of your to-do list.

  • Upgraded your appliances

Have you recently upgraded your electrical appliances? Perhaps one of these triggers your memory: 

  • New washing machine or dryer
  • New Oven
  • New larger TV or surround sound system
  • New heat lamps or towel heaters in the bathroom
  • Larger hot water system
  • Ducted air con or multiple new split systems
  • Increased lighting, added pendant lighting features or outdoor lighting

If you’ve had any of these new systems or appliances installed recently, it’s highly likely the pressure on your electrical circuits has increased too, which could be enough to exceed the switchboard limits. This can result in overloading the switchboard which may cause overheating, frequent power outs and tripping and in worst cases, fire.

The pressure on your electrical system is usually a steady rise over time and new wiring, cabling and switches may be necessary. An electrician is the only person qualified to assess your requirements and provide the solution.

RENOVATING

Your switchboard was designed to handle the electrical needs of your original home. If you renovate and add more rooms, resulting in more lights, powerpoints and appliances, the electrical needs of your home become more complex and add further stress to your electrical switchboard.

Additionally, safety switch regulations introduced in 2018 state if you complete a significant renovation on your home, you must install adequate safety switches. These are managed in your switchboard and may trigger the need for a switchboard upgrade.

INSTALLING SOLAR

If you’re considering installing a grid-connected solar power system you will need a compatible switchboard with space for circuit breakers for solar. If you have a fuse switchboard or no space in your switchboard for these additional circuits, your switchboard will require an upgrade.

HOW MUCH DOES A SWITCHBOARD COST?

Pricing for the actual switchboard equipment ranges greatly depending on the individual needs of your home or commercial premises. Some of the variables to consider when pricing your upgrade includes:

  • If the old board contains asbestos materials
  • Location of the existing switchboard
  • Number of circuits in the property
  • If the complete meterbox needs to be replaced
  • If the meters need to be relocated to an accessible area as per Energex requirements

If you need further advice or a quote on an electrical switchboard upgrade we’d love to help. Contact us at Allyn White Electrical on  – 0416 235 641

If you’re searching for a switchboard upgrade in the Brisbane area and surrounds (Alderley, Ashgrove, Bardon, Enoggera, Paddington, The Gap), look no further than Allyn White Electrical.

Recent Electrical Switchboard Upgrades by Allyn White Electrical

BEFORE – OLD NON COMPLIANT SWITCHBOARD

Best Brisbane electrician | Allyn White Electrician
Best Brisbane electrician | Allyn White Electrician

AFTER – NEW ELECTRICAL SWITCHBOARD UPGRADE 

Best Brisbane electrician | Allyn White Electrician
Best Brisbane electrician | Allyn White Electrician

For a free quote by a licensed electrician call 0416 235 641 or simply complete the online enquiry form and we will call and arrange to quote your switchboard and electrical requirements. Our charge out rate remains the same during the week, weekends and after hours, so don’t hesitate to contact us today!

 Source crmelectrical.com.au

Post a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.