Switchboard Upgrade Cost
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Written By Tristan Cameron
Are you experiencing electrical issues in your home? Chances are your out-of-date switchboard is unable to cope with modern-day electrical consumption.
It may be time to upgrade your switchboard. Depending on your requirements, it can be costly, so it’s best to prepare yourself beforehand.
Let’s take a look at what a switchboard is, the signs you may need a new one, and how much it would cost.
Table of Contents
What is a Switchboard?
All your electricity in your property comes from one central place, your switchboard. This is commonly located outside, usually on a side, so that meter readings can be easily performed.
The switchboard manages all of the power supplied by the street mains into your property.
The task of the switchboard is to safely provide electricity to all your lights, power points and appliances. It protects your home in the form of fuses, circuit breakers and safety switches.
However, old, damaged, or overloaded switchboards can become a safety hazard and often require upgrading or replacement. But how do you know if yours does? Keep reading.
Is Your Switchboard On the Fritz?
Electrical outlets and appliances in your property will give you signals that something isn’t right with your switchboard. Are you experiencing any of these:
- Flickering lights
- Fuses blowing with increased frequency
- Short-circuiting appliances
- Tripping circuit breakers
- Brown coloured power-points
- You get electric shocks from appliances
- Sockets make a buzzing sound
- Sparks appear when you plug something in
Anything on the list above indicates that your switchboard is on its last legs. Don’t wait for the day that it stops functioning; upgrade it today.
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Other Reasons to Upgrade Your Switchboard
Electrical faults are an immediate reason to upgrade your switchboard, but they’re not the only ones. Consider these:
Modern Power Consumption
We’re using more and more devices than ever before. Consider what you’re using today that you didn’t have 20 years ago when your switchboard was installed.
Computers, mobile phones, home entertainment systems, gaming consoles, and automated systems are a few examples of appliances that are all competing for the limited energy the switchboard can provide.
An overloaded switchboard is like a ticking time bomb; one day, it’ll have had enough and will cease to function.
Regulations and Safety
These days it’s compulsory to have certain safety devices installed in your switchboard.
While your switchboard may already have circuit breakers, an older one may not have safety switches. It’s now the law in Australia that every property has these installed.
Older switchboards may not be compliant with current regulations. You may benefit from an electrical safety inspection to ensure that your entire house is wired correctly.
Solar and Other Renewable Energies
Being kinder to the planet means switching to renewable energy. Solar power is an excellent example, but it does require more than just installing panels onto your roof.
Most older switchboards aren’t equipped to process solar power and may be inefficient.
How Much is a Switchboard Upgrade?
Now we get down to the real reason you’re here. How much is it going to cost? Do an online search, and you’ll see the figure $1,500 come up repeatedly. And that’s a fair average cost of a simple install using a basic switchboard model.
But, several factors go into coming up with the true cost of upgrading a switchboard.
- Size: A single-bedroom home won’t need as large a switchboard as a luxury 10-bedroom mansion will.
- Capacity: The more devices you have in your property, the more capacity the new switchboard will need to hold.
- Rewiring: If your home is reasonably old, it may need to be re-wired before a switchboard can be upgraded.
- Cabling: The amount of cabling required also impacts the cost; if your property has been remodelled or extended, you’ll need additional cables. This figure could be as high as $2,500 based on the required amount.
The type of switchboard your property needs will also impact the final figure.
A 160 amp switchboard averages $300–$600
A 250 amp switchboard could set you back as much as $2,000
A switchboard upgrade isn’t a quick fix and can take a few hours to complete. As most electricians (including us) charge by the hour, this figure will change per project.
Hourly rates range from $60–$130. It often comes down to where you live. For example, If we need to travel into the bush, we may need to add travel charges.
When you’re ready to get an exact quote for the project, call us at Northside Electricians, and we’ll send someone out to explain everything.
What is Involved in a Switchboard Upgrade?
Depending on the age of your home and your requirements, the switchboard upgrade could be a seamless or a complicated project.
We’ll need to remove the old switchboard and replace it with a more modern one. We may need to install safety switches if they aren’t already there. If your property requires additional wiring or cabling, we’ll action that too.
You may have additional requirements like repositioning or adding power points or other fixtures.
Who Can Install or Upgrade a Switchboard?
This task is not for a DIYer, no matter how experienced. Only an experienced and qualified electrician can perform this action.
Many level 1 electricians can perform a switchboard upgrade. However, if the project requires connecting or disconnecting power to the supply in the street, only a level 2 electrician can action this. This can also affect the labour cost.
Why Choose North Shore Electricians?
We’ve been performing switchboard upgrades for more than 20 years.
We’ve seen switchboards at all stages of life and some homes that faulty ones have impacted.
Our electricians are all qualified and licensed and have the knowledge and experience to upgrade any switchboard, residential or commercial.
Do you believe your switchboard is ready for an upgrade? Contact us today, and one of our customer service people will ask you the right questions to determine your next steps.