If you have just moved into a new house, it’s advisable you get acquainted with how the major mechanisms operate, and that includes the electrical wiring system and switchboard, among other things. And even though you may know your way around house reparations, it’s recommendable you get to the bottom of the system at your disposal and see if it requires replacement or certain maintenance operations.
But first of all, let’s see how the actual switchboards work. In plain words, electrical switchboards apportion the flow of electric charge to different points in the house from a sole source of supply. This supplying source provides the switchboard with electricity that gets distributed to various devices in your home. Its apparatus contain a series of switches that control the delivery of electrical current. Still, the complexity of this topics demands a thorough approach and we’re here to assist you.
Modern models vs. old school
At the beginning of the technological era, the number of devices present in most homes was not as big as it is today. Old type switchboards could tackle only a dishwashing machine, heater and fridge at once, for instance.
Now, with the expansion of surround systems and home cinemas, computers, air conditioning units and microwave ovens, the old switchboard simply cannot handle the increased load. Also, if you’ve been planning to introduce solar solutions, new switches and metering is to be installed and that will occupy more space inside the meter box.
Modern models are equipped with safety switches that conveniently shut the main supply the moment some issue occurs, like leaking power from an exposed wire. Out of date switchboards don’t have this feature, and this makes them a security hazard that may lead to fire breakout. If their meter box is overly small, the switchboard needs to be replaced in entirety.
In addition, older series contain rewirable fuses that are prone to catching fire due to their ceramic nature. On the other hand, modern types are fitted with circuit breakers. An upgrade is imminent if you find a fuse wire popping out of the holder. This can result in cable melting and consequently, fire.
The usual signs of trouble
These are some of the common indicators we should replace switchboard wiring or upgrade it soon:
- Frequent power tripping
- Unexplainable flickering of lights
- Switchboard cables overheating
- Your current house was constructed prior to 90s
- The fuse blows up when several devices are running at a time
The upgrade of the incoming mains
Once you have your modern switchboard installed, getting the new incoming mains may also be needed. This aperture is consisted of cables that connect house entry point with the switchboard. The smaller number of devices present in older home could run on 40 ampere and 6mm incoming mains.
However, modern apertures of medium size are usually equipped with 10mm incoming mains and 63 ampere. Larger homes demand an even more powerful fitting of 16mm incoming mains and 80 ampere power supply.
Unless you’re a genuine, certified professional with concrete experience with electric wiring, you should stay away from single-handed installations. If you’re in two minds whether you should upgrade or replace it, consult with the reputed electrician that can carry out a safety audit. When they’re at it, ask them to check other elements of your electrical system such as smoke detectors, around-the-house wiring and mains. Don’t evade the standard maintenance to prevent adverse outcomes.
After the experts put up your new switchboard, make sure to get the compliance certificate that guarantees their work is adhering to rules and regulations. Instead of presenting you with the statistics concerning the number of fire-related accidents, we’d like to reiterate how poorly kept and outdated model of switchboard can be a grave safety risk. Look for the indicators in your house and call the electrician as soon as possible to get an approved, novel type.
As you have noticed, sticking with the old version of switchboard can put you in great danger, potentially causing wire melting and fire. Our guidelines are a solid starting point that can help you figure out when’s the right time to get a new one and how to install it properly.
Article written by Lillian Connors. If one thing is true about Lillian Connors, her mind is utterly curious. That’s why she can’t resist the urge to embark on a myriad of home improvement projects and spread the word about them. As the Co-Editor at SmoothDecorator, she cherishes the notion that sustainable housing and gardening will not only make us far less dependent on others regarding the dwellings we inhabit and what we eat, but also contribute to our planet being a better place to live on. You can check her out on Twitter and LinkedIn.