If you’re considering a switchboard upgrade, you’re on the right track to ensuring the safety and efficiency of your electrical system. In this guide, we’ll walk you through the process of upgrading your switchboard, step by step. Whether you’re a homeowner or a business owner, this information will help you make informed decisions and understand the importance of upgrading your electrical system.

How switchboards are important

upgrade switchboard sydney electricianThe dangers of an outdated switchboard are scary – old fuses and old circuit breakers are responsible for many household electrical fires and you may not have the necessary safety switches to protect your family from electric shock.

Benefits of upgrading your switchboard

Upgrading your switchboard offers three main benefits:

  1. Improved Safety: An upgraded switchboard includes modern safety features such as circuit breakers and residual current devices (RCDs). These devices protect against electrical hazards like short circuits and electrical shocks.
  2. Enhanced Efficiency: With advancements in technology, newer switchboards are designed to handle higher electrical loads more efficiently. This means you can power multiple appliances without overloading the system or causing frequent tripping.
  3. Compliance with Regulations: In many jurisdictions, there are regulations and safety standards that require properties to have up-to-date switchboards. By upgrading your switchboard, you ensure compliance with these regulations and avoid potential penalties.

Reasons why you may need to upgrade your switchboard


This is the most common reason DCN Electrical sees for upgrading switchboards, but that’s not the only reason.

Perhaps you’re adding on a new room, new storey, new bathroom, or renovating a kitchen; all of these things change how the original wiring of your home was designed and the switchboard was made to cope with.

The additional load, without upgrading your switchboard, can cause circuits to overload and trip, dimming lights, and worst of all fire.

Upgrading appliances

This is the next most common reason people ask for a switchboard upgrade. Perhaps you have had to replace an old hot water service, oven or cooktop, or air conditioner. Especially if you move to a larger appliance or a different style (like induction cookers), then you may find that your switchboard will need an upgrade.

It’s not just limited to appliances. Perhaps you have changed the lighting in rooms or added fans. It all adds to the load your switchboard needs to handle.

Other signs you need to upgrade your switchboard

Other than the big ticket reasons that Sydney homeowners have to upgrade their switchboard, there are a few not so obvious reasons we come across:

  • Welcoming babies or pets into an existing homeswitchboard upgrade sydney electrician
  • Buying an existing home without a safety switch
  • Your home doesn’t have a safety switch
  • Your home still has ceramic fuses
  • Dimming lights
  • Particular appliances always tripping the power
  • Particular circuits always tripping
  • Turning a house into a rental or BnB.

Within New South Wales, it is required by law to install safety switches on any new construction or electrical improvements. This is because of the security and protection they provide your house or business, as well as your family or employees.

Did you know that an outdated switchboard can affect your home and property insurance claim should there be an electrical fire in the property? That’s reason enough to upgrade a switchboard.

Steps to Upgrade Your Switchboard

Now that you understand the importance of upgrading your switchboard, let’s dive into the steps involved in this process:

  1. Assessment: Start by assessing your current switchboard’s condition and capacity. Consider factors such as its age, condition of wiring, and the number of circuits it can accommodate.
  2. Hire a Licensed Electrician: It’s crucial to hire a licensed electrician who specializes in switchboard upgrades. They will inspect your current system, provide recommendations, and carry out the installation of the new switchboard.
  3. Design and Planning: Work with your electrician to design a switchboard that meets your specific needs. This includes determining the number of circuits required, considering future electrical demands, conversion to 3-phase, and incorporating safety features.
  4. Installation: Once the design is finalized, your electrician will proceed with the installation. This involves wiring, mounting the new switchboard, connecting circuits, and ensuring everything is in compliance with electrical codes.
  5. Testing and Certification: After installation, thorough testing is conducted to ensure the new switchboard functions properly and meets safety standards. Your electrician will provide you with the necessary certification or compliance documents.
  6. Ongoing Maintenance: Regular maintenance is crucial to keep your switchboard in optimal condition. Your electrician can provide guidance on maintenance tasks such as checking for loose connections, cleaning components, and conducting periodic inspections.

How much does it cost to upgrade a switchboard?

There are a number of things that electricians need to consider when pricing a switchboard upgrade:

  • Is the switchboard being relocated
  • Does the power coming into the house need to be upgraded (ie. to 3-phase)
  • Does the existing switchboard contain asbestos
  • Is there asbestos surrounding the switchboard
  • Can the upgrade be accommodated in the existing cabinet or is a new cabinet needed
  • Are new circuits needed and wired in or do all circuits need to be replaced
  • Does the safety switch need replacing because it is now old or too small

The following is a list of some of the costs/options an electrician will charge in Sydney to upgrade a switchboard.

  • The cost of a basic fuse box upgrade is between $800 and $1900.
  • If your home’s mains need to be replaced, if cabling is needed for the installation of new appliances, or if you require a new switchboard, this will cost between $2000 and $4000.
  • If you want to upgrade your 3-phase switchboard, this will set you back anywhere from $3000 to $4500.
  • If you want to upgrade other items such as a circuit breaker, safety switch or RCD at the same time, this will affect the cost.

A switchboard upgrade is generally between $600 and $7000 and can be done in a few hours, especially in an emergency. Call Damien from DCN Electrical for a quote or to discuss why you believe you need a new switchboard.

As you can see, the cost of upgrading your switchboard can vary depending on the type of system you choose and the extent of the work required.

How long does a switchboard upgrade take?

The length of time it takes for a switchboard upgrade to be completed depends on the type of system you choose and the extent of the work required.

If you’re just upgrading your fuse box, the job can usually be done in a day. If you’re replacing your switchboard, the job will take longer. The average time for a switchboard replacement is three to five hours. A typical upgrade process involves:

  • Turning off the power to be building
  • Removal of any old protection equipment and fuses
  • To house the new RCD switches and circuit breakers
  • Existing circuits will be connected to the new circuit breakers and safety switches
  • To ensure the upmost safety protection, the grounding system be thoroughly inspected to ensure it is in fully functional condition
  • An extensive series of electrical tests will be conducted throughout the entire process to ensure all components function as required

Asbestos Panel Replacement

Older houses built before 2004 and over 25 years old might have an asbestos panel in their electrical switchboards. If your home has asbestos panels, they will need to be removed and replaced with a new non-asbestos panel. Once the old asbestos panels have been removed, the local electrician will install a new weatherproof box that will house the circuit breakers and safety switches.

Upgrading the cables in a switchboard

Some switchboards contain old and dangerous cables that should be upgraded, for example, vulcanised Indian rubber. As a guide, the cables in a switchboard should be checked every five years and upgraded if necessary.

Cables that are exposed and not contained in conduit can be dangerous. These cables can be damaged accidentally, rub on surfaces in the weather, or be damaged by rats and mice exposing the live wires inside and becoming a hazard.

If you have any doubts about the condition of the cables in your switchboard, it’s best to have them checked by a professional.
It is a New South Wales Government requirement that any electrical work be carried out by a licensed electrician.

If you’re in the market for a switchboard upgrade, speak to a local and licensed Electrician from DCN Electrical today for a fast quote! We offer great service and a wide range of services and we can have a local electrician help get your home up to code in no time. It doesn’t matter if you need new electrical circuits, electrical wiring or any other electrical upgrades related to your home electrical system, we are here to help, give us a call today.

If you have any further questions or need assistance with your switchboard upgrade project, feel free to reach out to us. We’re here to help!