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Things To Know If Your Home Switchboard Is Outdated

Darko Bozinovski, Senior HVAC Technician & Electrician

Darko has over 15 years of experience in HVAC and electrical work. Darko is well-equipped and passionate about complete home electrical installations and diagnostics. With knowledge across all-sorts of installation like lighting, security camera to the latest home automation devices. Darko’s experience allows him to resolve any potential electrical faults in your home that you may not even realise. On the weekend, you can find Darko enjoying a good ol’ family fishing trip in national parks.

Moving into a new house is exciting, but it’s important that you temper that excitement just a little bit and make sure that you understand how the major mechanisms in your new home operate. Among the most important of these mechanisms are the electrical wiring and the switchboard.

While you may feel confident in your home since you likely had it inspected before making an offer, it’s still important that you take the time to have the electrical wiring and switchboard inspected by an expert. This is especially important in an older home where the wiring may be in need of repairs, and where the switchboard may be old or outdated.

Before we move forward it’s important that you understand what a switchboard is, how it works, and why it’s essential that the one in your home be modern and in good condition.

Modern Switchboards vs. Older Switchboards

Years ago, as electronics and electrical systems in homes were far less complex than they are today, a simpler switchboard was more than sufficient to control the electrical transfers in a home. Older homes typically only had what today we would consider the bare essentials, a heater, dishwasher, and refrigerator that would all possibly be used at once. Times then were simpler, as was the technology we relied upon.

Today, electronics in our homes have advanced quite a bit. With home cinemas, computers, surround sound systems, microwaves, vacuum cleaners, ovens, air conditioning, the older style electrical switchboards simply lack the complexity to deal with so many different devices that need power. You also need to remember that if you are planning on having any type of solar solutions added to your home, you are going to need metering and new switches installed, which means needing a larger meter box.

The Advantages of modern switchboards

  • Modern switchboards have safety switches that shut off the main supply in the event that there is an issue, like a leaking or exposed wire.
  • Older switchboards lack these safety features, which makes them a safety hazard. The risk of fire with older switchboards is much greater than what you see in newer models, which is another reason why it’s so important to upgrade your switchboard if you have an older model in your home. If the meter box happens to be too small, then you will need to change the switchboard out entirely.

Another safety concern involves the rewireable fuses found in older switchboards that are prone to catching fire since they are ceramic. Conversely, modern types having circuit breakers making them far safer.

  • Modern models are equipped with safety switches that conveniently shut the main supply the moment some issue occurs, like leaking power from an exposed wire.
  • Out of date switchboards don’t have this feature, and this makes them a security hazard that may lead to a fire breakout. If their meter box is overly small, the switchboard needs to be replaced in entirety.

Another safety concern is ceramic fuses, having ceramic fuses could indicate that nothing has been touched or looked at for a long time which may mean that the cables are extremely old. Older cables that are installed to ceramic fuses have a higher risk of catching fire than newer systems. Conversely, modern types having circuit breakers making them far safer.

An upgrade is imminent if you find a fuse wire popping out of the holder. This can result in cable melting and consequently, fire. If a frayed wire is found during an inspection, the only option you have is to upgrade immediately to avoid the risk of fire.

Switchboard upgrade by Alliance Technicians

What are some of the usual signs of trouble?

  • Your power keeps tripping.
  • The lights in your home are flickering without reason.
  • The switchboard cables keep overheating.
  • Your current home was built before the 1990s.
  • Fuses are blown whenever you are running several devices at one time.

Whilst replacing your switchboard you may need to replace the consumer’s mains. Not having a large enough supply cable to your home could be just as dangerous as having the wrong circuit protection in your switchboard. The more electricity we use, the hotter the cables get, if they’re undersized then your risk is much higher.

Additionally, modern apertures of a medium-size typically are equipped with 10 mm incoming main lines rated at 63 amperes. Larger homes demand more power and should be equipped with a 16 mm incoming line capable of handling an 80-ampere power source.

How much does it cost to replace or upgrade a switchboard?

The cost for the switchboard replacement or upgrade may vary according to their size and capacity. Our trusted and friendly Master Electricians will provide a solution for your switchboard problem and options and pricing upfront.

Get a Free Quote by one of our licensed & insured Master Electricians today.

Switchboard installation / replacement

Electricity is unforgiving, which means that the only person that should be touching anything electrical in your home should be a certified professional with a lot of experience. Two heads are better than one, and having at least two people working on your installation will increase the odds that they will catch any mistakes that may have been made. During the installation process, you should go ahead and request that they check other important elements of your electrical system such as around the house wiring and smoke detectors.

One thing that many people forget to do is to ask for a compliance certificate once the electricians have finished installing your new switchboard. A compliance certificate ensures that the work that was completed was done up to code, which reduces the risk of a fire or other type of electrical failure. Now, we could bore you with statistics about fire-related accidents, but we have what we feel is a better approach. We’d simply like to point out that a switchboard that is out of date and not kept in good condition is a grave safety risk. If you feel that the switchboard in your home is not up to par, then you need to call out a professional as soon as possible.

As you probably realize now, having an old model switchboard is a major danger that could cause wires to melt resulting in a fire. By using these guidelines as a starting point, you can increase the odds that you can figure out when the time is right to have a new switchboard installed.

Need a switchboard replaced?

Call us on (02) 8061 5028 to arrange a no-obligation inspection, we will discuss our findings with you and provide a quotation to upgrade home switchboard for your home and securing your family’s protection.

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