How Do Switchboards Work?

The electricity flowing through our houses is the key to our comfortable lives. And the good news is that modern electrical systems are both reliable and safe. While that wasn’t always the case, the electrical circuits hidden in your walls now contain a range of features that keep the whole family safe. Arguably the most important safety feature in modern electrical systems is the switchboard.

Often tucked away down the side of your home or hidden in the garage, your switchboard controls and directs all the electricity moving in and out of your home. It ensures your critical circuits are always working and contains a few clever features to protect your home and family from potentially deadly electrical faults.

What is a Switchboard?

The electrical wires that run from the street to your home carry high-voltage electricity to power your lights and appliances. But this flow of electricity needs to be managed, and it can’t simply be hooked up directly to your home’s wiring. That’s where switchboards come in.

Switchboards are an electrical panel that manages the electricity coming from the grid into your home. Residential switchboards divide the flow of electricity and use it to feed smaller loads in your home’s circuits. This means that your lights and appliances always receive the right amount of power, and it gives your home a layer of protection from dangerous electrical faults such as power surges.

But modern switchboards also provide two other major safety features: circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs). You’re probably already familiar with circuit breakers - they are the switches that protect the wiring in your home from being overloaded. If you have ever turned on a demanding appliance and lost power to part of your home, it was the circuit breaker that switched off. RCDs (also called safety switches) work similarly, but they’re designed to switch off when they detect a dangerous change in the flow of electricity that could harm a person.

Switchboard Surge Protection

Although modern electrical systems are highly reliable, electrical surges still occur from time to time. Electrical surges occur when there are disturbances in the power supply or brief spikes in the voltage. In either case, a surge in your home can damage wiring and appliances, and they even have the potential to cause electrical fires.

Electrical surges commonly occur for a few reasons:

  • Faulty appliances
  • Old or damaged wiring
  • Powerline surges
  • Lightning strikes

Newer switchboard systems include provisions for surge protection. Similar to circuit breakers, surge protectors are a power-sensitive switch that cuts the power supply in the event of a surge. This protects appliances from damage and can prevent your family members from being injured.

Signs it’s Time to Upgrade Your Switchboard

The switchboard in your home does a lot of work. Power flows through it constantly, and components like circuit breakers will need to be replaced from time to time. However, if you’re experiencing severe or recurring issues with the electricity in your home, it might be time to upgrade your switchboard to something newer. This is especially common in older houses with dated wiring.

You may need to upgrade your switchboard if:

  • Circuit breakers trip regularly
  • The switchboard doesn’t have a safety switch
  • The switchboard uses ceramic fuses
  • You have upgraded to modern appliances
  • You are using high-current appliances such as air conditioners
  • You are installing solar panels

Electrical switchboard upgrades are an investment in the safety of your family. While your electrician works on the upgrade, they can also look at your other wiring and update it to comply with modern standards. This ensures that you get decades of trouble-free usage from the electrical circuits in your home.

Experiencing Problems with Your Switchboard? Talk to Dawson Electric Today!

The switchboard on your property is your best defence against electrical faults. Capable of protecting your wiring, appliances and precious family members, modern switchboards are also safer and more power-efficient than ever. If you’re experiencing electrical problems or if your switchboard is looking worse for wear, contact Dawson Electric and talk to us about an upgrade. Our qualified electricians have the tools and experience to tackle jobs of all sizes. From electrical switchboard upgrades to major system overhauls, we’re happy to help you out with all your residential and commercial electrical needs! Contact us today to make an appointment or or to find out more about our switchboard or test and tag Brisbane wide services.

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