Everything You Need to Know
Do you have a home or business that’s over 20 years old?
Do you have a home or business that’s over 20 years old? If you do it's highly likely that it could have an outdated switchboard. In many respects your switchboard is like the beating heart of your home so it’s critical it’s kept up to date and safe. Read on to learn more about switchboard upgrades, including what they are, their importance and signs it’s time for an upgrade.
What is a Switchboard Upgrade?
As you will know a switchboard can come in all shapes, sizes & complexity but put simply a switchboard is a mechanism that distributes electricity from one or more sources of supply from the power network to several smaller load circuits in your home or business. For example, when you switch on a light, the switchboard sends electricity to that circuit to power the light.
When your existing switchboard is updated to enable more electrical charge or capacity or to meet a larger electrical demand, this is known as a switchboard upgrade.
Why Would You Need a Switchboard Upgrade?
Because a switchboard plays such a crucial role in ensuring safe electrical flow, it is always critical that it’s operational. Damaged or old switchboards are dangerous as they present a greater fire risk and can cause your electricity to cut out regularly or possibly flicker. Some other reasons why it’s important to get a switchboard upgrade:
1. Electrical Safety Regulations Have Been Updated
Electrical safety laws, wiring regulations and work practices over time have evolved significantly, so it’s important to get a registered electrician to check your switchboard meets the current New Zealand legislation.
2. The Switchboard Serves as a Hub for All of Your Electrical Systems
A switchboard is the central control point for your home and businesses electrical system. It controls everything from the television to the heat pump. This means your entire home or business will be affected if the switchboard is faulty or not coping with the strain (or load) it’s being put under.
3. Houses Require More Electricity
A typical home & business uses significantly more electrical appliances and gadgets than they did 15 years ago. Therefore it’s not surprising that the electrical system’s current needs are much higher than they might have been 10 – 20 years ago. Older fuse boxes struggle to be able to keep up with the increased demand, resulting in issues such as overheating and a significant risk of electrical faults.
4. There Are No Safety Switches
To safeguard you and your family from electrical faults, every home should have have safety switches installed on all circuits. These immediately turn off the power if an electrical fault is detected which prevents the risk of electrical shocks, fire or possible electrocution. Without them, you expose putting your loved ones and friends at risk of possibly fatal electrical accidents.
Potential Signs That Your Switchboard Needs an Upgrade
Repair services are available for any job big or small, in any residential property. Be it a new build, a rental property or simple improvements and repairs to your existing home, your trusted local PERL electricians are able to source, install, and maintain all your residential electrical needs. PERL Electrical makes it simple for you to install anything from new heated towel rail or bathroom heater, to set up sensor lights for added security or to change your old lighting over to LED bulbs for power savings.
Below are some signs that indicate your switchboard is in need of an upgrade — If you’re uncertain or concerned, please call one of our PERL electricians and have them check it out.
1. Overcrowded Wiring
If the switchboard wiring appears to be congested, it most likely is. Review the problem with an electrician.
2. Electric Shock
If an electric shock occurs when a plug is placed into a power socket, your switchboard is likely in need of replacement.
If your lights flicker, it’s either because the light bulb is loose or your switchboard’s wiring is broken.
4. Excess Heat or Burning Smell
If your switchboard, electrical sockets, switches or appliances are hot to touch and/or produce a burning smell. Call an emergency electrician immediately as there is a very real likely hood of a potential electrical fire.
5. Power Cuts
If you frequently experience localised or entire home or business power cuts it is likely that your switchboard is struggling with load.
Thermographic Scanning Detects Switchboard Issues Invisible to The Naked Eye
PERL electricians are qualified to undertake thermographic scanning of switchboards and electrical equipment, which detect issues often invisible to the naked eye and allow corrective action to be taken before costly system failures occur.
If you experience any of these signs or are unsure, please contact one of our local PERL Electrical Switchboard electricians for assistance.
What’s the Cost to Upgrade Your Switchboard?
Switchboards in houses, businesses and tiny homes come in several different sizes. Most residential switchboards only supply power via single phase, whereas some larger houses can have 3 phase power.
Standalone garages, portacabins and sleep-outs usually have their own sub-board (a small switchboard that is connected to the main house switchboard). Very old switchboards can have the electrical meter on the same surface-mounted board, whereas newer houses almost always have the meter box on the outside of the house and the switchboard on the inside. Additional factors in determining the cost of an upgraded or new switchboard include the number of electrical circuits in the house and whether the earthing system also requires upgrading.
As a basic guide for switchboard upgrades you should allow from $1500 to $2000 incl GST to replace a standalone switchboard in a basic 2–3-bedroom house.
As an estimate PERL Electrical offers 12 circuits or less for $1599 plus GST and $200 plus GST for up to 3 additional circuits.
If you need a free quote for a switchboard upgrade, then contact the team at your local PERL Electrical. They will arrange for your local registered PERL electrician to visit your home or business to check the existing switchboard. They will then provide you with an expert report on the condition of the existing switchboard, as well as a quote for upgrading to a modern and safe standard, if that’s required.