Does your switchboard look like this?
Or like this?
If you have a switchboard like the first one we would highly recommend you upgrade your board. Here’s a few bullet points why:
- Re-wireable fuses are dangerous! Firstly, when you pull the fuse out, it leaves a live terminal exposed, one slip while removing or putting the fuse back in could lead to an electric shock!
- When re-wireable fuses blow, it is up to the person living at the home to install new fuse wire (unless they call us!) so the circuit will work again. A couple of issues could arise in doing this:
If they don’t know what the fuse should be rated at they may install the wrong gauge of wire. If they install a gauge too small the fuse will trip when the loading isn’t actually too much for the circuit. Although this isn’t unsafe, it can be annoying! If they install a gauge of fuse wire that is too big, if the circuit becomes over-loaded the fuse won’t trip. This can lead to cable becoming too hot, and melting. We don’t need to tell you that this is incredibly unsafe, and a fire risk!
- No fuse wire handy? Believe me people can be creative! This is not the time to do so. As mentioned above, it is so important that the correct fuse wire and rating is used for the circuit they are to be installed on. So, no copper wire and no nails!
- Frustration: We were called to a job in 2018 where a customer’s oven kept tripping the fuse. Instead of calling us first, the customer called their grandfather to come and help. He put 4x as much fuse wire in the fuse that was required! All seemed well and our customer turned her oven back on, when all of a sudden, the whole house fell into darkness! Because they put in so much fuse wire the oven fault actually blew the fuse on the street. This resulted in us finally being called. So, not only did the customer receive a bill from us, they also received one from Orion for an emergency callout to restore power to the house!
- If you own a rental property, and your tenants have an issue like above, would you feel safe knowing they may be installing the wrong size fuse wire, and putting your house at risk??
- RCD Protection: RCD protection is required on all modified or new power and lighting circuits in a residential house. RCD stands for Residual Current Device. They are a safety device that detects a difference in current between the neutral and live conductors in a circuit. If a difference is detected, they will disconnect power to the circuits they supply. They are most handy for picking up leakage current to earth, stopping electric shocks within 300ms! These are installed in all new switchboards, and switchboard upgrades.
- Future work around house: As mentioned above, RCD protection is required for modification of power and lighting circuits in a residential home. If you have a significant amount of DIY planned in the future it’s a good idea to get the switchboard upgraded first. This means all that work can be done without continual switchboard work being carried out at every point along the way.
- Easily-resetting MCB’s / RCD’s. As mentioned above about re-wireable fuses, they can be quite dangerous! When your board is upgraded to RCD and MCB protection every circuit is clearly labelled, and correctly fused to the size of the wiring supplying it. New MCBs and RCDs are also super simple to reset if one trips. Simply lift the little lever back up (on). If there is a constant fault the breaker will continue to trip, and at this point it’s time to give us a call to come and see what’s wrong!
- Finally, they look a lot nicer! Look at the two pictures above and let me know which one you’d prefer!