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How to tell if you need a switchboard replacement

16th Jul '19 • By Georgia Budden

Not sure if your switchboard needs to be upgraded? There are many reasons why you should be on the lookout for a switchboard replacement. Wear and tear will occur and often it creates situations where the housing is cracked and live parts are exposed. This is a recipe for disaster, and the financial burden one faces as a result is extremely high.

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6 signs you need to upgrade your electrical switchboard

Here are some of the more obvious tell-tale signs that suggest your switchboard needs to be upgraded or replaced by a qualified electrician. The positive thing here is that they’re obvious and very difficult to ignore!

1. The electrical wiring that runs through your house will age with time. If you have an old home, you might not be able to afford rewiring the entire setup, which is a costly exercise. In such a case, you should look for the additional safety that a new switchboard can offer you. If your house is equipped with an up to date switchboard it will be fitted with safety switches and circuit breakers which will prevent any accidents or disasters from ever taking place.

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2.  Do you find that when you run two appliances at once it trips your system and causes a power cut? This is the result of a power overload, where the maximum amperage is overloaded. It can also be the result of an inconsistent power supply. The most common appliances that cause systems to trip include fans, hairdryers, irons and older fridges. If this is the case, you should seriously consider an electrical switchboard upgrade. Ensure you have plenty of outlets by keeping in mind the common places people forget to install power points.

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3. When you turn on the lights, they are unable to produce a proper or consistent voltage and tend to flicker or run with a lower intensity than previously. This is the result of loose wiring to the power board and cannot be ignored, as this is the main cause of fires in homes. An electrician should be called in promptly to check and rectify the problem.

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4. Electrical appliances such as the air conditioner and refrigerator are unable to run properly. Open your switchboard and see if the wiring seems to be overcrowded. New additions like a pool pump require a dedicated circuits separate to the main switchboard.

5. Your appliances continue to short-circuit. These can cause damage to your electrical system and is the result of a low resistance path receiving a much higher electrical current than is suitable.

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6. The wiring that runs from your switchboard has melted or overheated and significant damage has been caused to the fuse holders.

Always remember that older switchboards are not as power efficient and do not make the best use of the wires that carry electricity. Old switchboards are more susceptible to short-circuiting and tripping, which can sometimes melt the wires or cause an electrical fire! A switchboard upgrade is one of the best electrical tips to keep your home safe.

Heavy energy dependent electrical appliances that are used by us in today’s world, were not present when these outdated switchboards were initially installed. They are made to withstand a certain amount of electricity and if more power is demanded by an appliance, the fuses will not be able to bear the load and the fuse will blow.

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Solar panels and switchboard upgrades

If you have solar panels you should keep in mind that it is almost vital for an upgrade because the demand they require. Old fuse boards were not designed with solar panels in mind. If you have an older house, then it will have a switchboard that will more than likely be non compatible. The meter will also need to be changed from one that is a singular measurement to one that is two-way or bi-directional. It will measure not only your power consumption but also how much electricity is being exported to the grid.

Your switchboard is an integral part of your power supply; it controls the flow of power and is responsible for ensuring you have a constant uninterrupted supply. It must be noted that statistically fires that start in the back of the switchboard, will spread into the roof space. Once that occurs, a fire is difficult to contain and there will be massive damage.

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The cost to hire an electrician to replace your switchboard is cheap compared to the cost of your house burning down and/or loss of life. Not only is installing a new switchboard an important safety precaution, it will also make your busy life easier.

If you require a new switchboard, it will usually cost between $900 to $1300. The job should be carried out by only a licensed and certified electrician.

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Further reading:
The 10 Best Ways to Save on Your Energy Bill
4 Environmentally Friendly Lighting Tips
Making the Most of Lighting Fixtures
The Pros and Cons of LED Lighting

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