Switchboards: The electrical hub of your home and office

Portrait of an electrician at work

A switchboard is a building’s electrical hub. All electrical systems run through it so it is imperative that it is installed correctly and safety, and is regularly assessed. If a switchboard is not installed correctly or is not properly maintained, it can become dangerous.


Over the years we have seen switchboards in various states of disrepair and in some instances damaged as a result of catching fire. The maintenance of your switchboard is no less important than that of your car.


The greatest threat posed by an unsafe switchboard is fire. New electrical and fire regulations are in place to prevent this occurring, however if your board is old or hasn’t been inspected by a qualified electrician in a long time, you may not be aware of the dangers.There are new switchboard products constantly being introduced to the marketplace that offer greater protection to our families and staff.


Products on the market that should be considered for your switchboard are earth leakage devices (otherwise known as safety switches) on all circuits. These devices protect you, your family and staff from electric shock and are mandatory in all switchboards, new and old. Each safety switch device has its own TEST button and they should be checked every 6 months to ensure the device is functioning. This simple test can be carried out by the homeowner. A more thorough test can be carried out when next you have an electrician visit your home or office. In commercial premises, they should be checked and logged every 12 months. 

Surge protection devices

These devices are fitted to your switchboard and protect all your electronic equipment from unexpected power surges, such as those caused by electrical storms. A single surge protection device on a single phase installation in your switchboard will cover your whole electrical system. These devices will suppress any voltage that exceeds 240-250 volts to ground. These situations generally occur once power is reinstated after a power outage, surging power in the street and electrical storms. When these events occur, it is wise to inspect the surge protector for damage. Most brands of surge protectors have a transparent window that is usually clear or green; if it turns red  then the device has failed and needs replacing by a qualified electrician. 

Circuit breakers

You will find circuit breakers in all new switchboards. These devices replace the old re-wireable fuse. The main benefit of circuit breakers is their sensitivity to short circuits and their quick trip time. The faster the trip time, the less damage and danger. If these devices trip you will generally need an electrician to visit and test the circuits. The only time that a home owner can and should reset these devices are in an overload situation and they have removed the load that caused it to trip. 

The thing to keep in mind is that all these devices do fail occasional and do fatigue over time. It is a good idea to have these devices checked by a qualified electrician.

We can offer a free inspection and advice for the best solution for switchboard problems.



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