How to tell if you need a switchboard upgrade

With 2023 in full swing, it is time to think about switchboard upgrades for your home. When was the last time your switchboard had a facelift?

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Old switchboards contain an old technology called ceramic fuses which provides a basic level of protection. In fact, they provide zero protection against faulty appliances and potential electric shock!

The installation of ceramic fuses was prohibited years ago and now it is up to homeowners and electricians to complete their due diligence and upgrade their switchboards. 



Older switchboards were not designed to handle all of the new-age appliances of the modern home.

Appliances and devices that could put stress on your switchboard include:

  • Pool pumps and heaters
  • Spa/saunas
  • Washing machine
  • Dryer
  • Larger hot water system
  • Increased lighting 
  • New larger TV or surround sound system
  • New heat lamps or towel heaters in the bathroom
  • Ducted air con or multiple new split systems
If you plan to upgrade your household items, it is very likely that you are putting increased pressure on your electrical circuits that can cause overloading in the switchboard which can further cause overheating or a fire if the system is not upgraded. New wiring, cabling and switches may be necessary to avoid overloading the switchboard.



his brings us to our next point, if there is asbestos, an electrician can not work on the switchboard unless they are properly trained and willing to undertake the work.

Prior to 2004, asbestos was used for the backing behind your switchboard. Some switchboards will tell you if asbestos was used in the production of the switchboard (see figure).

Now that we are aware of the significant health hazard of asbestos, it is important that it gets replaced to avoid any asbestos particles becoming airborne. 



It goes without saying that safety switches are paramount to the safety of your home. They are designed to prevent an electrical fire, electric shock, injury or even death by detecting a leakage of energy. They work by automatically switching off the electricity supply in the event of an electrical fault. Most modern switchboards will be fitted with an emergency safety switch. A safety switch is required for all circuits and devices such as lighting, power outlets, cooktops, aircon, oven, hot water etc. 

A safety switch will always have a test button on the front of it. Pictured are the most common modern safety switches. The safety switch pictured on the left has a blue (T) button whilst the switch pictured on the right also has a blue button. 


If your home was built before the 90s, it is likely that there would not be a safety switch installed.

Particularly older homes are likely to have older wiring inside them and this cabling can become faulty due to a breakdown of the insulation around the conductive wires (see image). 

If you do own an older home, it would be wise to have your switchboard and wiring inspected by a licensed electrician. 


This is a guide only and is designed to point out a serious safety issue we see all too often in our day to day operations.

If you’re unsure if you need a switchboard upgrade, feel free to get in contact with us. It’s as easy as sending a photo of your existing switchboard to us and we can tell you if it is time to have your switchboard inspected. 

Email us on [email protected] or call us on 02 99977700.  

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