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Does Your Property Need a Switchboard Upgrade?

Updated: Apr 6

How to tell if a switch is bad or if it’s time for a new system


It is vital to keep your property, and those in it, safe from the risk of electrocution, and it is crucial that your switchboard is in perfect working order. To decide if your switchboard needs replacing it is best to call in a professional electrician to carry out an inspection.

It’s important to note that switchboards are devices composed of an assembly of panels that direct electricity from one source to the other. Every panel within the switchboard allows the electricity to be redirected using installed switches. Like other electrical systems, bits and pieces may degrade or fail over the years and require individual replacements.



Signs there may be a problem with your switch or switchboard

So, how do you know if it’s a bad switch, or your whole system needs an upgrade? Real Electrical Solutions (based in Newcastle, NSW) is here to help you figure out what steps to take and are here to upgrade your dead system when the time comes:


1. If switches don’t stay in the “On” position it can mean a short-circuit, but we highly recommend calling a professional electrician to inspect the unit and walls to ensure there’s no other danger.


2. A burning smell means that something is malfunctioning, and you need to immediately shut off the main power to your property. Don’t forget to call a professional for emergency service right away to avoid a potential fire.


3. If any part of your switchboard is hot to the touch you should again turn off the mains power and call a professional electrician for emergency service right away.


4. Keep an eye out for visible damage to the box or outlets, things like scorch marks near outlets, appliances, or the box could mean that a wire has melted, and your property could catch fire shorty. If you do notice any of these things, shut off the mains and call an electrician for emergency service right away.


5. If your switches are frequently tripping when you turn on a switch in particular areas, it could be a bad switch, or you may need an additional switch added to cover the load. Think about contacting an electrician to diagnose and discuss the issue.


6. One of the biggest contributors to needing a new switchboard is simply, old age. Depending on the age of switchboard or property, they may need replacing and upgrading. While they are designed to work for decades, sometimes due to the age of the property they wear out faster. Again, contacting a professional electrician such as Real Electrical Solutions can help you determine the issue and come up with a solution to keep you and your property safe. With more technology devices being used in the home old switchboards are inadequate for dealing with the increased load of electricity.


7. If you notice that your switchboard has no safety switches, your appliances are frequently tripping, the lights in your home are regularly flickering, fuses keep blowing or you have ceramic fuses on your switchboard then it is time for an upgrade. Fortunately, at Real Electrical Solutions, we offer a professional upgrade and replacement service for switchboards to ensure that you and your property are protected against electrical faults.



Maintaining your switchboard

To increase the lifespan of your switchboard, Real Electrical Solutions recommends that you establish regular preventative maintenance, testing, and inspections of your switchboard to save you time and money. Preventative maintenance procedures, such as the ones listed below, should be carried out, whether you’ve just purchased the property or installed a new switchboard:

  • Check the tightness of fastenings on the switchboard.

  • Internally clean the switchboard to clear out dust or dirt.

  • Check the condition of insulation.

  • Replace conductors that show damage.

  • Inspect the operation of circuit breakers.

  • Test gaskets on doors and the condition of weather seals.

  • Keep the assembly dry.

  • Make sure that all bolted panels are secure.

  • Inspect control wiring and replace wires as needed.

  • Regularly test your system:

- High Potential Capability Tests ensure no current flows are isolated or flowing between certain points.

- Insulation Resistance Tests use a megohmmeter to test and check for insulation deterioration.

- Continuity Tests check that the current is flowing easily from point A to point B.

  • Keep records of past inspections along with a detailed schedule of installed switchboards, purchase spare switchboard parts.

  • Have a well-stocked toolbox or shop with testing instruments and storage of your spare parts for efficiency and safety. At Real Electrical Solutions, we highly recommend that only authorised operators attempt to maintain your switchboard, for safety reasons.



The dangers of a damaged or faulty switch or switchboard

If your switchboard fails your property will face power outages, additionally you could face fires or even worse a catastrophic event. Having a broken or failed switchboard can cause downtime, equipment destruction, and even bodily injury which could result in the loss of life. Contact an ASP level 2 qualified electrician such as Real Electrical Solutions at the first sign of failure to keep yourself, your loved ones and your property, safe.



Additional signs of potential electrical problems at home


1. An overcrowded board means that you’re overloading your switchboard and that is a significant safety hazard that can become problematic. A low humming, jumble of cables or a packed switchboard are good signs that you should consider upgrading.


2. When checking your switchboard for issues, keep an eye out for melted or burnt-out fuses. These are a clear sign of damage or overloading and will need to be replaced as soon as possible.


3. Sparks coming from your switchboard is a hazardous sign that something is very wrong, and you need to call a Newcastle NSW electrician urgently.


4. In older properties it is very possible that there may be asbestos in the backing of your property’s switchboard. Knowing the significant health hazard of asbestos, Real Electrical Solutions highly recommends contacting a specialist immediately to make sure it gets replaced to avoid any asbestos particles becoming airborne.


5. If your switchboard has no safety switch it is a very big sign that it’s time to replace your system. Safety switches are essential especially in the event of an electrical fault where they automatically switch off the electricity supply. Safety switches are an important way to protect your home in the event of a fire, electrical emergency, or natural disaster (most modern boards will be fitted with an emergency safety switch).


Does your switchboard show signs of age, damage, or failure? Contact Real Electrical Solutions.

Real Electrical Solutions can inspect and upgrade your switchboard to protect you, your loved ones and your investment. Contact us today to avoid downtime or damage to your property on 0403 306 842.

Real Electrical Solutions services Newcastle, Maitland, Central Coast, and the Hunter Valley. Visit us at realelectricalsolutions.com.au for more information or to chat with a representative. Alternatively, feel free to email us at admin@realelectricalsolutions.com.au and we will contact your right back.

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