How Safe Is Your Switchboard?

Man and woman in front of switchboard

With additions being made to older houses over time, there is a good chance your switchboard has become a bit of a Frankenstein’s monster. As we’ve become more reliant on consumer appliances and digital technology, our home power needs have grown and grown. Additions such as air conditioners, additional power outlets, extra lighting and high draw appliances are placing our outdated switchboards under loads they were not originally designed for. For much older homes, you may still be sporting ceramic fuses and asbestos housings, or not even have a safety switch installed. If this is the case, your switchboard is overdue for an upgrade.

What To Look For In A Faulty Switchboard?

There are some key indicators to give you an idea of the state of your switchboard. 

  • Fuses blowing – this is an indication that your individual fuses are currently overloaded. The electrical demand on your house would have been much less a few decades ago. Some kitchen appliances, a TV, lights and ceiling fans would have been the bulk of it. These days you can add in numerous electrical devices including additional kitchen appliances, air conditioners, computers, you name it. Additionally, if you have the old ceramic fuses, you could be putting your house at risk of fire.
  • Circuit breakers tripping – circuit breakers replaced fuses and are a much safer alternative. However, if these are tripping regularly, it’s a sign your breaker is carrying too much load.
  • Flickering lights – Flickering lights means there is an inconsistent power supply running through your electrical network, again, possibly due to being overloaded. This is a fire hazard and could be putting your sensitive digital electrical devices at risk of costly damage.
  • A funny smell coming from the switchboard – electrical overloading presents itself in different ways. A smell coming from the switchboard is a sign of electrical energy being converted to heat within the switchboard. This is a significant fire hazard and requires urgent attention.

Should You Upgrade?

Below we’ve discussed a few factors that need to be considered when deciding whether you should carry out a switchboard upgrade.

  • Updated safety standards – over the years, the state and federal safety regulations have been updated to comply with evolving technologies and lessons learned from electrical mishaps. We will bring your switchboard up to code.
  • More demand in modern homes – higher electrical demand in homes has been a by-product of technological innovation. Bigger homes and a broader range of electrical appliances call for more circuits and clear labelling.
  • Will help identify problem areas in the home – an old switchboard may be the centre of an out of date electrical network in your home. As part of an upgrade, your wiring appliances can be tested to ensure your home is safe and fully compliant with the latest safety standards.
  • Safety switches are mandatory – older homes may still not have had a safety switch installed. These are mandatory and very important to keep your home and its occupants safe.
  • Old ceramic fuses – these are prone to failure. Safety regulations used to be much laxer and it was not uncommon for homeowners to attempt their own electrical repairs. Perhaps the wrong gauge of wire was used once to rewire the fuse at some stage in the past. They may have been bypassed altogether. A new switchboard will give you peace of mind.  
  • Asbestos – asbestos was used in the building industry until the 1980s but wasn’t fully banned until the early 2000s. As it was fire-retardant, it was often used in switchboard housings.
  • Solar power – to handle the additional demands of a solar system, a new switchboard may need to be installed. While this may add to the initial outlay, the long-term savings can be immense.

Why You Should Always Get A Professional To Upgrade Your Switchboard

Poor installation may be one of the reasons you are in need of a new switchboard, to begin with. Ensure it’s installed right the first time and it will last you for decades to come. As well as being illegal for anyone who is not qualified to carry out electrical work, a professional will be up to date with the latest standards and safety requirements.

Faulty Switchboard? Contact Dawson Electric Today!

Our licensed and experienced team understands the electrical needs of both old and new Brisbane homes. We understand you want value for your money, so we’ll always search for the most affordable solution. At Dawson Electric, we always recommend an upgrade before a replacement where possible. If you have any questions or queries, please don’t hesitate to contact our friendly team on 07 3324 1447.

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