All homes have a switchboard or fuse box and most of us never give them a second thought. The switchboard is usually attached to one of your external walls near the front of your house but can sometimes be found or one of the internal walls.
The switchboard also contains fuses, circuit breakers and safety switches that are connected to all your electrical components. For example, your A/C units, electrical hot water system, power points, light sockets and electric stove are all connected to the switchboard. If an electrical appliance short circuits or blows a fuse, then the safety switches in the switchboard cut the power to prevent a fire or any chance of electrocution. A new switchboard keeps everyone inside your home safe.
The problem is that some existing switchboards are very old and still use ceramic fuses which are not as good as modern circuit breakers in preventing fires. So, if you have an older switchboard with ceramic fuses, it’s time for an upgrade.
Here are some other good reasons to replace or upgrade your switchboard.
Are there visible scorch marks or is there a burning smell?
If you notice scorch marks or a burning smell in or around the switchboard then it most probably means that the safety switches or fuses are being tripped repeatedly. This can be due to faulty wiring or deteriorating cables, but it can also be caused by not enough safety switches or overloading the capacity of the switchboard. If your switchboard keeps tripping, then it needs to be inspected by an electrician, because it’s clearly no longer suiting your power needs.
How old are your fuses?
Older fuses can’t cope with the power requirements of our modern appliances which usually leads to frequent power outages as the fuses keep tripping. Just think of all the power your devices like a pool filter consumes, not forgetting your large screen TVs, computers and A/C units.
Older fuses were not built to take this amount of strain and need to be replaced approximately every ten years.
Continued overloading can lead to wear and tear, resulting in melted cables, loose connections and in the worst case, potential fires.
Remove the risk of electrocution
If your switchboard is constantly tripping or you are regularly replacing blown fuses, then it simply can’t cope with the power requirements of your home. This situation can result in an arc fault that can lead to electrocution. On the other hand, you could also be faced with a switchboard that doesn’t trip when it should, also resulting in electrocution. The best way to remove these risks is to make sure that your switchboard is checked by a qualified electrician who can replace or update it as required.
Save your money & equipment
When you have an upgraded switchboard, you don’t need to keep calling out your local electrician because of power outages due to the fuses tripping all the time. This not only saves you money on call-out fees, but also helps to save your equipment. That’s because if the power keeps going off all the time it can damage your equipment, particularly computers. You could even lose that important document you were working on if your PC suddenly loses power.
So if you keep replacing blown fuses or you want to install something with high power requirements, such as for a swimming pool, then it’s time to consider contacting your electrician and upgrading your switchboard.