Updating or upgrading appliances are usually tasks that get pushed to the bottom of your to-do list. Even something as routine as updating your phone can get ignored until you’re forced to.

However, upgrading your switchboard should be a priority.

No one wants to have to endure electrical disasters on any scale. Especially now that we have to spend more time in our homes, it is vital that we are in a space that is both safe and operationally functional.

So, what are the risks of old switchboards, and what can a new switchboard give you?


The worst outcome

The number one benefit of upgrading your switchboard is simple: it improves the safety of your home.

Electrical fires are one of the main causes of house fires here in New Zealand, and it is often due to old or faulty wiring.

Nothing is built to last forever, and everything has an expiration date. With systems like switchboards, going past that expiration date can have serious consequences.

Switchboards are inherently meant to defend against electrical fires, but only if they are properly maintained and updated. At the best of times, an old switchboard can result in loose and faulty connections. At their worst, they can ignite electrical fires.


Repairs and asbestos

Let’s say you’re lucky and your old switchboard doesn’t cause an electrical fire; that still doesn’t mean you’re in the clear.

Even something as simple as a fuse blowing becomes a timely and costly task when working with an old switchboard. Since old switchboards aren’t up to modern standards, they become more complicated to fix.

The electrician will have to go through the lengthy process of upgrading individual circuits when repairing a fuse. As the repair time increases, so will your bill.

Fire hazards and higher bills aren’t the only things you will have to worry about either.

In older switchboards, it was common practice to use asbestos-containing materials as electrical insulators. If your switchboard was installed before 2004, there’s a chance it contains asbestos. However, if installed in the ’90s, your switchboard very likely contains asbestos.

The general rule is that the older your switchboard is, the more likely it contains asbestos. While asbestos is generally unharmful when left disturbed, it can have disastrous effects if the fibers become airborne.


Getting a new switchboard

Now that you are aware of the potential harm an old switchboard can cause you and your home, it’s time to focus on what a new switchboard can offer.

Unsurprisingly, the biggest benefit is safety. Upgrading your switchboard means it gets to be fitted with Residual Circuit Breakers, or RCDs. RCDs are specifically designed to protect against electrical shocks and electrical fires.

RCDs are continually monitoring the electricity flowing between circuits. When there is a fault, they automatically switch the broken circuit off, protecting you from harm.

For example, you could accidentally cut through a wire while mowing the lawn. In this event, you would be protected by an RCD.

This is something most old switchboards don’t offer. If a wire or circuit becomes broken, you will likely not be safeguarded by an RCD, leaving you vulnerable to serious harm.

When upgrading your switchboard, you also have the added bonus of uncovering any unknown faults. Unfortunately, old switchboards aren’t very good at telling us when something is broken. By upgrading your switchboard, your electrician will be able to identify any faults that might be lingering inside, eliminating your risk of hazards even further.

It is also recommended that along with upgrading your switchboard, you upgrade any older appliances that may be cracked, frayed, or unearthed.

Along with ensuring your home and your family’s safety, a new switchboard will increase your property’s value. Updating and modernising your home will make it more appealing to future buyers.


The real benefit of upgrading your switchboard is that it will give you peace of mind.

With a new switchboard, you will know that you are safe and protected against harm, you won’t be at risk of asbestos exposure, and your property will be in an overall better condition.

But the only way you can give yourself this peace of mind is to have your switchboard upgraded by an experienced and knowledgeable electrician.

Our trusted team of specialists at This Is Electric take safety very seriously, and we want to ensure that your home is in the best condition it can be.

Get in contact with us today to discuss upgrading your switchboard.