It doesn’t matter if you call it a fuse box, meter box, breaker box, or switchboard, it’s just important that home and business owners understand the important role they play in keeping us safe and the signs they might need an upgrade. Keep reading to find out.
How switchboards are important
It’s not just the load on our internet that increased over the years, so has the strain we put on the electrical systems. We add in new appliances, bigger heaters or airconditioners for our comfort, a spa or pool to relax in, perhaps we add on some home automation. It all adds up. Throw on top of that that regulations change, wiring standards improve, and it’s not unusual for a switchboard to become outdated, hot under the collar and potentially dangerous.
The dangers of an outdated switchboard are scary – fuses and old circuit breakers are responsible for many household electrical fires and you may not have the necessary safety switches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.
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.
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 to 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 on 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 home
- Buying an existing home without a safety switch
- Your home doesn’t have a safety switch
- Your home still has fuses
- Dimming lights
- Particular appliances always tripping the power
- Particular circuits always tripping
- Turning a house into a rental or BnB.
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 upgrade (ie. to 3-phase)
- Does the existing switchboard contain asbestos
- Is their 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 replacing
- Does the safety switch need replacing because it is now old or too small
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.