You may have little to no knowledge about electrical switchboards’ importance in any structure’s electrical system. 

Switchboards are the silent guardians of your home or building’s power components. They ensure the smooth and safe flow of electricity for your peace of mind. 

Let us dig more into how an electrical switchboard works, the hazards, and some safety tips that you can use to protect your entire property from electrical accidents. 

What is an Electrical Switchboard?

Electrical switchboards securely transmit electricity throughout a building. It is a crucial part of an electrical distribution system, separating the power feed into branch circuits and providing a protective circuit breaker or fuse to every circuit in a single enclosure.

It mainly regulates and distributes electricity to circuits and appliances in your home or establishment. Electrical switchboards are located alongside the building’s entrance for quick access.

Service Entrance Switchboard

The service entrance switchboards are critical components for electricity distribution. Smaller establishments typically use this switchboard, which the electrical utility may directly power to ensure safety. 

Local electric utility companies may have required specifications and standards for these components. 

You can find service entrance switchboards at the point where routed power is routed directly to panelboards and massive electrical loads. The power is then distributed to smaller branch circuits to supply smaller loads with electricity. 

Large industrial or commercial facilities generate electricity from an upstream circuit breaker within a switchgear assembly to power the switchboard. You can ensure adequate power distribution inside your facility through this configuration.

Difference Between Switchboards and Panelboards

You may get confused with switchboards and panelboards. However, remember that they serve different purposes.

Switchboards can manage higher fault currents than panelboards and load centres. You can install them on the floor; they are deeper than panelboards at 18” deep. These components are typically rated for up to 600V. They can be used in industrial and commercial settings requiring larger and higher loads. 

On the other hand, panel boards are less expensive and smaller than switchboards. They handle secondary power distribution, especially in homes, and serve specific areas or circuits within a building.

Types of Switchboards 

Australia’s current standard for main switchboards is AS/NZS 61439, derived from the International IEC series. It helps address portability requirements between Australia and international suppliers. 

You will need to choose which type of switchboard fits your property. There are various types of switchboards, each addressing specific requirements and applications:

Modular switchboard systems

Buildings are built differently, with distinct characteristics and specific requirements. Appropriate equipment for individual needs should be one of your key priorities to ensure safety within your property.

When it comes to electrical switchboards, modular switchboard systems may be your best option when expanding your system’s capacity due to their flexibility, safety, and dependability. 

It provides a reasonably straightforward and prompt scaling solution and setup.

Mechanical services switchboard

Mechanical services switchboards (MSSB) are superior to modular switchboards when dealing with critical functions where downtime could lead to accidents.

They provide increased reliability and prompt circuit control. For instance, air conditioners, alarm systems and water heaters require a consistent and dependable electrical supply. Hence, we recommend using dedicated switchboards for various critical mechanical services.

Mechanical services switchboards in your home or building can be made from high-quality materials and efficiently regulate all electrical systems operating simultaneously.

What Happens When a Switchboard is Damaged?

Like any other equipment, switchboards are susceptible to wear and tear and damage due to various factors, including age, environmental conditions, and electrical failures. 

Damage to a switchboard can result in considerable risks, demonstrating the significance of routine inspections and maintenance.

The following can happen if your switchboard gets damaged:

  • Power outages
  • Increased risk of electric shock
  • Electrical fire
  • Electrical system failure

Remember that only qualified individuals with complete knowledge of electrical circuits should handle malfunctioning electrical switchboards.

If you have any doubts, trusting the experts to inspect your switchboard is your best option to avoid various electrical switchboard hazards and accidents.

When is the Best Time to Upgrade My Switchboard?

Upgrading your switchboard is a preventative measure to avoid electrical catastrophes and ensure an uninterrupted flow of electricity through your building.

Here are several reasons for upgrading your electrical switchboards: 

  • Tripping fuse or circuit breaking due to using many appliances at once.
  • You have an outdated switchboard with ceramic fuses.
  • Random flickering lights throughout the home.
  • Frequent short circuits.
  • Weird buzzing noises coming from the main switchboard.
  • Blown fuses.
  • Overheating due to overloading.
  • You want to add more power outlets to your home.
  • You need to install larger electrical equipment with higher power usage.

Switchboards must cope with the changing needs of the electrical industry as the world continuously produces larger and better products. Such flexibility and improvement ensure safety from electrical switchboard hazards such as electrical shock and fires.

Finally, understanding electrical switchboards is crucial for anyone in charge of a building’s electrical system. You must distinguish switchboards from panelboards, know how they work and learn some home electrical switchboard safety tips. Moreover, it is equally important to ensure proactive maintenance and safety when dealing with switchboards. Don’t wait for issues to hamper your day; take immediate action to safeguard your electrical supply.  

At Local Electrician Sydney, we can swiftly repair and upgrade your electrical switchboards. Our licensed level 2 electricians can handle even the toughest electrical jobs.

We can recommend the best ways to deal with your switchboard issues promptly and efficiently. Your electrical switchboard may need immediate attention if you frequently experience tripped circuits, blown fuses, or flickering lights.

Whether for your home or business, paying attention to the early warning signs of electrical switchboard failure is essential to resolve the issue before it’s too late. If you have an older model, contact our local electricians to upgrade your switchboard and bring it up to date to comply with the latest Australian Standards.

You can’t go wrong with Local Electrician Sydney. Contact us anytime for your electrical safety concerns. We are within your reach around the clock!