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Electrical Switchboard Upgrades or Replacements

An electrical switchboard is the central point where electricity enters and is distributed throughout a building. Over time, switchboards can become outdated, unsafe, and inefficient. Upgrading your switchboard can improve the safety, reliability, and energy efficiency of your electrical system.

We go into further detail below about safely upgrading your switchboard and how it can benefit your day-to-day life.


  • How does a switchboard work?
  • Types of electrical switchboard upgrades
  • Electrical switchboard upgrade cost
  • Signs that you need a switchboard upgrade
  • Benefits of electrical switchboard upgrades
  • How to upgrade your electrical switchboard
  • How to choose the right electrician for your switchboard upgrade
  • Questions to ask your electrician
  • Frequently asked questions


How does a switchboard work?

An electrical switchboard works by receiving electricity from a main power source, which is usually supplied by the local utility company.

The switchboard is typically comprised of several different components that work together to control the flow of electricity to different areas of the building. These components may include:

  • Main disconnect switch: This switch is used to completely disconnect the building from the main power source.
  • Circuit breakers and fuses: These are designed to protect against overloads and short circuits.
  • Busbars: Busbars are typically made of copper and are used to distribute electricity to different areas of the building. They are designed to handle high levels of electrical current and are typically enclosed in insulated housings for safety.
  • Metering equipment: Metering equipment is used to measure the amount of electricity that is being used by the building. This information is often used by the utility company to determine the building's electricity usage and bill the owner accordingly.

When electricity enters the switchboard, it is typically routed through the main disconnect switch and then distributed to the different areas of the building through the busbars. Each area of the building is typically connected to its own circuit breaker or fuse.

If an overload or short circuit occurs, the circuit breaker or fuse will trip or blow, which cuts off the flow of electricity to that circuit. This helps to prevent damage to the electrical system and reduce the risk of electrical fires.

Types of Electrical Switchboard Upgrades

There are several types of upgrades available for electrical switchboards, including:

  • Switchboard replacement: Replacing an outdated or damaged switchboard with a new one can improve the safety and functionality of your electrical system.
  • Circuit breaker upgrades: Upgrading your circuit breakers to modern, more reliable models can reduce the risk of electrical fires and increase the overall efficiency of your system.
  • Fuse board upgrades: Replacing old fuse boards with newer models can improve the safety and reliability of your electrical system.
  • Safety switch/Residual Current Device (RCD) upgrades: Upgrading to RCDs can provide an additional layer of protection against electrical shocks and other hazards.


Electrical Switchboard Upgrade Cost

The cost of upgrading an electrical switchboard in Australia can vary depending on a number of factors, including the size and complexity of the electrical system, the specific components being used, and the level of experience and expertise of the electrician performing the upgrade.

In general, the cost of upgrading an electrical switchboard in Australia can range from a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. For a simple upgrade that involves replacing the switchboard and a few circuit breakers or fuses, the cost might be on the lower end of that range. However, for a more complex upgrade that involves rewiring the entire electrical system or installing additional components, the cost can be much higher.

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Signs That You Need a Switchboard Upgrade

There are several signs that indicate that a switchboard upgrade may be necessary. These signs include:

  • Flickering or dimming lights
  • Tripping circuit breakers or blown fuses
  • An outdated or damaged switchboard

If you notice any of these signs, it's important to contact a professional electrician to assess your electrical system and determine if a switchboard upgrade is needed.


Benefits of Electrical Switchboard Upgrades

Upgrading your electrical switchboard can offer several benefits, including:

  • Improved safety: Modern switchboards are designed with advanced safety features that can help protect against electrical hazards and reduce the risk of electrical fires.
  • Increased reliability: Upgrading your switchboard can help ensure that your electrical system operates more reliably, reducing the risk of downtime and other issues.
  • Better energy efficiency: Newer switchboards are designed to be more energy-efficient, which can help reduce your energy bills and environmental impact.
  • More flexibility and capacity for future electrical needs: Upgrading your switchboard can provide more flexibility and capacity for future electrical needs, ensuring that your electrical system is equipped to handle any changes or upgrades you may make in the future.

How to Upgrade Your Electrical Switchboard

Upgrading your electrical switchboard is a complex and potentially dangerous task that should only be performed by a licensed and experienced electrician. The general process of a professional upgrading a switchboard includes:

  • Planning and preparation: Your electrician will assess your current electrical system and plan the switchboard upgrade based on your specific needs.
  • Disconnecting the old switchboard: They will safely disconnect the old switchboard and prepare the site for the new switchboard installation.
  • Installing the new switchboard: The electrician will install the new switchboard and ensure that all wiring and connections are properly secured and grounded.
  • Testing and commissioning the new switchboard: They will then thoroughly test the new switchboard to ensure that it is operating safely and efficiently, and will make any necessary adjustments or repairs.


How to Choose the Right Electrician for Your Switchboard Upgrade

Here are some factors to consider when looking for the finding the best business for your electrical switchboard replacement:

1. Gather Quotes

Enter the information outlining your electrical upgrade on, and we'll provide you with a list of local businesses that can help.

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2. Narrow Down Your Search uses a three-tier badge system to help you make an informed choice.

We recommend selecting an electrician with the highest level (badge 3 – ‘recommended’) from our three-step verification process.

3. Do Further Research

Once you’ve narrowed down your options, check out the business’ online presence to get an understanding of its reputation and range of services. Visit their website and social media pages to see customer reviews.

Questions to Ask Your Electrician

Here are some questions that can be helpful to ask when hiring a business for your switchboard upgrades:

  • Can you provide references from previous work?
  • Are you licensed and insured?
  • How long have you been in business?
  • Do you have specific experience and training in upgrading switchboards?
  • How do you communicate with customers during the process?
  • Are you flexible with your schedule, and can you work on weekends if necessary?

Upgrading your electrical switchboard is a crucial step in ensuring the safety, reliability, and efficiency of your electrical system. With modern switchboards and components, you can better protect your home or business against electrical hazards, improve the performance of your electrical system, and reduce your environmental impact. 

However, it's important to work with a licensed and experienced electrician to ensure that the upgrade is done safely and correctly. If you're experiencing any issues with your electrical system, don't hesitate to contact a professional electrician to assess your system and recommend a switchboard upgrade if necessary.



Does my electrician need to be licensed?

Yes, in Australia, an electrician who performs switchboard upgrades must be licensed. Electrical work is regulated by each state and territory in Australia, and it is illegal to carry out electrical work unless you hold a valid electrical license.

To obtain an electrical license in Australia, an electrician must complete a formal education and training program, such as an apprenticeship or a diploma in electrical engineering, and pass a licensing examination. The licensing requirements may vary slightly between different states and territories in Australia, but in general, an electrician must meet certain minimum qualifications and demonstrate a certain level of competency before they can be licensed.

When looking for an electrician to perform a switchboard upgrade, it's important to make sure that they are properly licensed and insured. Hiring an unlicensed electrician can not only result in poor-quality work and safety hazards, but it can also result in legal consequences and financial penalties.

A licensed electrician should ensure that your property is compliant with the current legislation and regulatory standards when it comes to switchboard replacement.

How much does it cost to upgrade a switchboard?

The cost of upgrading a switchboard can vary depending on the specific needs of your electrical system. Contact a licensed electrician to get a quote.

How long does it take to upgrade a switchboard?

The time it takes to upgrade a switchboard can vary depending on the complexity of the installation. However, most upgrades can be completed in a day or two.

Can I upgrade my switchboard myself or should I hire a professional?

Switchboard upgrades should only be performed by licensed and experienced electricians to ensure that the job is done safely and correctly.

What's the difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker?

A safety switch and a circuit breaker are both electrical safety devices designed to protect against electrical hazards, but they function differently.

A circuit breaker is designed to protect the electrical system from overloads and short circuits. When the current flowing through a circuit exceeds a certain level, the circuit breaker automatically trips or switches off the current, thereby preventing the wires from overheating, and preventing electrical fires or other hazards.

A safety switch, also known as a residual current device (RCD), is designed to protect people from electrical shock. It constantly monitors the flow of electrical current in a circuit and if it detects a leakage of electrical current due to a fault or contact with a live wire, it will switch off the circuit in just a fraction of a second, thus preventing a potentially fatal electric shock.

So, the main difference between a safety switch and a circuit breaker is the type of electrical hazard they protect against.

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Please note that all prices mentioned are to be used as an approximate guide only and are accurate at the time of writing. These prices may differ by location and at the discretion of each business.

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