Your home or business is growing and you’ve outgrown your old switchboard. You need to find a new system that can handle your current and future needs. But do you know what to look for in a switchboard upgrade? In this blog post, we will discuss the important factors you need to consider when performing a switchboard upgrade and whether or not a new switchboard installation will be required. We’ll also provide some tips on how to choose the right system. So if you’re ready to make the switch, read on!

Do I need to upgrade my switchboard?

Household energy use will continue to grow as technology improves. As a result, Australians now have more household appliances than ever before, which necessitates an increase in energy consumption. Old switchboards, such as ceramic and porcelain fuses, are no longer able to keep up with the ever-increasing electricity demand.

Australia’s energy safety standards are updated on a regular basis to guarantee that our country’s switchboards are secure and function effectively. A switchboard upgrade must be completed as per Australian Wiring Rules AS3000:2018 if:

  • You have recently received an electrical defect notice.
  • You are looking to install new powerpoints throughout your home or business.
  • You are installing major electrical appliances such as a heated pool, air conditioning or large irrigation pumps.

A switchboard upgrade should be completed if:

  • You have flickering lights.
  • You have appliances that short circuit, or your circuit breakers trip on a regular basis.
  • Your fuses blow or your power supply struggles when you have too many appliances on at once.
  • There are audible buzzing noises coming from your current switchboard.
  • Your existing switchboard is quite old, especially if it contains ceramic fuses.
  • You have an old panel and want to have a lower fire risk.

Within New South Wales, it is now required by law to install safety switches on any new construction or electrical improvements. This is because of the security and protection they provide your house or business, as well as your family or employees.

Did you know that an outdated switchboard can affect your home and property insurance claim should there be an electrical fire in the property? There is no better reason to upgrade.

Want a quote on a switchboard upgrade?

Give Finnley Electrical in Sydney a call today on 02 8605 4974

Ceramic Fuses

A word of warning about Ceramic Fuses

Porcelain fuses, also known as ceramic fuses, were extensively utilized in Australian homes starting in the late 1990s as a safety precaution. When the ceramic’s fuse wire overheats, they merely trip the power. If your home is more than 25 years old and you have yet to replace your switchboard, it’s likely that ceramic fuses are still in place and a switchboard upgrade should be considered.

Ceramic fuses are now deemed a residential fire hazard by Wiring Standards Australia and are required to be disconnected and replaced with individual safety switch/circuit breaker combination type modules.

The main reason why ceramic fuses are no longer safe is that they are unable to handle the increased demands for electricity. They are also prone to breaking, which can cause an electrical fire. If you have ceramic fuses in your switchboard, it is important to have them replaced as soon as possible by a qualified electrician.

A switchboard upgrade may seem like a daunting electrical job, but it is necessary if you want to ensure the safety of your home or business.

What should I look for in a switchboard upgrade?

When contemplating a switchboard upgrade, there are several factors you need to consider. The most important of these are the following:

  • Capacity: How many circuits does the new switchboard upgrade need to support?
  • Voltage and amperage: What voltage and amperage do your devices require?
  • Number of spaces: How many spaces does the new switchboard need to have?
  • Dimensions: What are the dimensions of the new switchboard?
  • Enclosure: What type of enclosure does the new switchboard need to have?

These are just a few of the factors you’ll need to consider when upgrading your switchboard. Be sure to consult with a qualified electrician to determine which system is right for your needs.

Where do I start the process of finding new switchboards?

There are a few different ways to start the process of finding new switchboards. One way is to consult with an electrician or other qualified professional. They will be able to help you determine which system is right for your needs. Another way is to research online. This can be a great way to compare products and prices. Be sure to read reviews before making your final decision.

Once you’ve decided on a new switchboard, the next step is a professional switchboard installation. This is best done by a qualified electrician. They will be able to ensure that the system is installed correctly and that it meets all local code requirements.

Upgrading your switchboard can be a big project, but it’s important to do it right. By considering the factors mentioned above, you can be sure that you’re making a wise investment in your home or business.

Types of switchboards: what is best suited to my home or business?

There are a few different types of switchboards available on the market. The most common are air-insulated, cast resin, and metal-enclosed. Air-insulated switchboards are typically the most economical option. They’re also easy to install and maintain. Cast resin switchboards offer superior protection against fire and moisture. They’re also more durable than air-insulated switchboards. Metal-enclosed switchboards are the most expensive option, but they offer the best protection against electrical and mechanical damage.

Which type of electrical switchboard is best suited to your home or business? That depends on your individual needs and budget. Be sure to consult with a qualified professional to find the best option for you.

How much space do I need on my current system to accommodate future growth?

When performing a switchboard upgrade, it’s important to consider how much space you’ll need for future growth. Many of the newer switchboards offer more circuit capacity than what was available in the old switchboard equipment, not to mention they are more compatible with a wider range of other equipment such as circuit breakers and necessary safety switches. This means that you can grow into them over time. If you’re not sure how much space you’ll need, consult with a qualified professional. They will be able to help you determine the best option for your needs.

3 Phase Switchboard Upgrade

If your home has a lot of electricity requirements and many appliances, you’ll need a three-phase switchboard. These switchboards have three sets of live wires, each carrying a different voltage. This allows for higher capacity and greater efficiency. Three-phase switchboards are typically more expensive than single-phase switchboards, but they’re worth the investment if you have high electricity needs.

How much does a new switchboard upgrade cost?

A switchboard upgrade cost varies depending on the type of system you choose. Air-insulated switchboards are typically the most economical option, while metal-enclosed switchboards are the most expensive. Cast resin switchboards fall in between these two options in terms of price.

The following are the estimated expenses for a Sydney electrical switchboard upgrade, according to numerous client requests.

  • The cost of a basic fuse box upgrade is between $800 and $1900.
  • If your home’s mains need to be replaced, if cabling is needed for the installation of new appliances, or if you require a new switchboard, this will cost between $2000 and $4000.
  • If you want to upgrade your 3-phase switchboard, this will set you back anywhere from $3000 to $4500.
  • If you want to upgrade other items such as a circuit breaker, safety switch or RCD at the same time, this will naturally affect the cost as well.

*These are approximate averages.

Although the local electrician who performs the upgrade will charge differently, it’s critical to note that various charges apply. These are, however, the current approximate costs in Sydney based on our consultation with numerous local electricians. If an electrician charges below this range, it’s because he or she isn’t fully qualified. The cost of additional steps such as mains upgrades, cabling for new appliances, and replacing your switchboard will be extra.

As you can see, the cost of upgrading your switchboard can vary depending on the type of system you choose and the extent of the work required. Be sure to consult with a qualified professional to get an accurate estimate for your particular situation and ensure they are knowledgable of the Low-voltage switchgear and controlgear assemblies General rules AS/NZS 61439.1:2016.

Want a quote on a switchboard upgrade?

Give Finnley Electrical in Sydney a call today on 02 8605 4974

How long does a switchboard upgrade take?

If you need a switchboard upgrade you are probably wondering about the length of time it takes for a switchboard upgrade to be completed. It depends on the type of system you choose and the extent of the work required. Air-insulated switchboards are typically the easiest to install, while metal-enclosed switchboards are typically the most difficult. Cast resin switchboards fall in between these two options. If there is a need for extensive electrical wiring upgrades that can also affect the time it will take.

If you’re just upgrading your fuse box, the job can usually be done in a day. If you’re replacing your switchboard, the job will take longer. The average time for a switchboard replacement is three to five hours. A typical upgrade process involves:

  • Turning off the power to be building.
  • Removal of any old protection equipment and fuses.
  • To house the new RCD switches and circuit breakers, a eight to twelve pole enclosure will be installed.
  • Existing circuits will be connected to the new circuit breakers and safety switches.
  • To ensure the upmost safety protection, the grounding system be thoroughly inspected to ensure it is in fully functional condition.
  • An extensive series of electrical tests will be conducted throughout the entire process to ensure all components function as required.
Asbestos Millboard

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Asbestos Panel Replacement

Older houses built before 2004 and over 25 years old might have an asbestos panel in their electrical switchboards. If your home has asbestos panels, they will need to be removed and replaced with a new non-asbestos panel. Asbestos is a highly dangerous substance that must be dealt with by a certified local electrician in accordance with the Work Health and Safety Act 2017 in NSW. Working on switchboard asbestos removal is only a Level 2 Electrician duty in Australia, and it is more dangerous than what normal electricians can accomplish.

Once the old asbestos panels have been removed, the local electrician will install a new weatherproof box that will house the circuit breakers and safety switches.

Upgrading your Consumer Mains

The consumer main is the connection between street wires and buildings, and it may need to be upgraded if there are problems or increasing energy requirements. Your switchboard can be linked to your consumer mains through overhead power poles or subterranean cables.

Australian houses built prior to 2010 usually had a 6mm consumer main which can supply approx. 40 amps of electricity.

If you have many electrical appliances in your home, such as air conditioning, multiple fridges, cooking appliances, hot water systems, pool pumps, and intend to add more in the near future, there’s a good chance your existing system won’t be able to handle the higher power demand. Because consumer mains are so advanced, a Level 2 Electrician is necessary to work with them.

Typically, we convert home mains to 16mm cables that can handle up to 70 amps of electricity. If a consumer main fault is detected by Ausgrid, Essential Energy or Endeavour Energy, you will be sent an electrical defect notice requiring that it be fixed within 21 days.

Upgrading the cables in a switchboard

Some switchboards contain old and dangerous cables that should be upgraded. As a guide, the cables in a switchboard should be checked every five years and upgraded if necessary.

Cables that are exposed and not contained in conduit or some other form of protection can be dangerous. If these cables come into contact with something sharp, they could easily be cut, exposing the live wires inside.

If you have any doubts about the condition of the cables in your switchboard, it’s best to have them checked by a professional.
Endeavour Energy, Ausgrid, and Essential Energy all require that any electrical work be carried out by a licensed electrician. In most cases, you’ll need to get a permit from your energy provider before starting any work on your switchboard.

You should also check with your local council to see if they have any requirements or restrictions in place regarding switchboard upgrades.

Circuit Breakers, Safety Switches and RCDs

A switchboard can have several safety gadgets put in to protect both your electrical systems and your family from electrocution. A fuse will break the electrical current if an appliance generates too much electricity flow. A circuit breaker is a resettable fuse that trips switches when it detects a higher than usual current flowing through it. It’s primarily intended to safeguard electrical equipment from harm. An RCD (basically a safety switch)adds another layer of protection because it is designed to protect people from electrocution hazards.


It’s important to keep your switchboard up-to-date with the latest safety standards, and if you’re unsure whether or not your home needs an upgrade, it’s best to consult a professional. A switchboard upgrade can help prevent an electrical fire, stop flickering lights, ensure your appliances are running at peak performance, and meet all of the necessary safety requirements put in place by your energy provider.

If you’re in the market for a switchboard upgrade, speak to a local and licensed Electrician from Finnley Electrical today for a fast quote! We offer great service and a wide range of services and we can have a local electrician help get your home up to code in no time. It doesn’t matter if you need new electrical circuits, electrical wiring or any other electrical upgrades related to your home electrical system, we are here to help, give us a call today.

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