Switchboard Upgrade – What You Need to Know
This article describes what you need to know about a switchboard upgrade. Whether your home in Brisbane is blessed with Queenslander charm or it boasts a more modern look, it needs to be electrically sound. Electrical wiring standards and rules are updated regularly. And, at the time of writing, virtually every change that involves tinkering with the fuse box requires a switchboard upgrade. A switchboard upgrade needs to be performed by a licensed electrician.
Risks of Not Upgrading a Switchboard
When older style buildings were connected to electricity, they were usually fitted an electric switch board with rewireable ceramic fuses. These switchboards tend to pose a higher risk of electrical shock and even fire. They were meant for houses with a handful of appliances only. When they were designed, most homes only had an oven, fridge, and maybe a washing machine.
Nowadays, people use countless appliances at home and at work. Overloading the switchboard causes circuit breakers to trip, lights to flicker, fuses to make buzzing noises. Overburdened switchboards also cause power outages and they are a serious fire hazard. That, coupled with the large amount of timber generally used in Brisbane properties. is a disastrous recipe.
The reason outdated porcelain fuses are not safe is that their wiring handles 8A, at most. But even lighting circuits come with 1mm wires, which can take 10A or more. If the circuit breaker isn’t adequate, the wire is illegally replaced with a thicker one, or the demand for light is too high, there’s a huge problem. These wires will eventually overheat, melt, and possibly even cause a fire.
The Importance of Safety Switches
Fuses are small electric devices with a wire inside that melts if the current flowing through is too large. This is a safety feature and it’s called ‘blowing a fuse’. But ceramic fuses may lose their effectiveness over time.
Circuit breakers look like levers and they have a magnet inside. When the current that flows through is too big, the magnet pulls and disconnects power supply. This is known as ‘tripping’. These make an excellent alternative to ceramic fuses, because they work instantly and last longer.
Like fuses and circuit breakers, Residual Current Devices (RCDs) protect circuit integrity. But they also protect against electric shock. They ‘trip’ when the outgoing current is much greater than the returned current. This can happen when people touch an exposed wire or live element.
Do You Need an Electrical Switchboard Upgrade?
If you have ceramic fuses, your property certainly needs a switchboard upgrade. Also, if you experience frequent power outs, tripping, flickering lights or noises coming from the electric switch board, it’s best to ask for a professional’s advice. Whatever its age, it’s obvious you need to upgrade the switchboard if it trips every time you turn a kettle or a heater on.
Older switchboards are often modified by unqualified home owners, using unsuitable fuses and circuits. You can usually tell if they’ve been tampered with. The newer fuses may not be adequate for the type of wiring. And, they may be unsafe by today’s standards.
Newer appliances and devices can overload your fuse box. Electric kettles, tumble dryers, air conditioners, plasma TVs, and electric cookers are some of the worst offenders. We can’t do without these modern comforts, so urgently consider upgrading your switchboard.
When renovating or adding an extension, it’s best to check if the existing switchboard and wiring can cope with added power usage, and if it needs moving. Even a few extra power points and lights can be more than your switchboard can handle.
If you’re planning to rent out the property or use it for business, it’s your responsibility to make sure that the switchboard is safe and AS3000 compliant. A switchboard upgrade would not only increase the property’s rental potential, but also limit your liability. We support quality Property Managers who turn to us to request assistance with any switchboard upgrade required by their clients.
Why Upgrade Your Switchboard with JTB?
All our switchboard installations come with electrical safety switches, which are mandatory under Queensland law. They protect your home installation, appliances, and most importantly, your family. We offer not just good value for money, but also absolute peace of mind.
A licensed electrician from JTB can also upgrade your consumer mains cables so you can continue to use your much-loved appliances and devices. We will even fit in a smart meter, replace asbestos panels around the wiring, and put surge protection in place, if needed. All this is done efficiently, in line with the latest Australian Electrical Standards (AS3000), and with minimal inconvenience to you.