Every modern switchboard should have six primary components. These are essential for safe and effective operations.
Switchboard Enclosure- The enclosure will usually be made of metal or plastic and will keep the protective devices safe. The electrical circuits start there before sending current through the cables and into the rest of the building.
Main Switch- This switch can turn off power to the rest of the building by isolating the electrical supply. This is sometimes necessary for maintenance on the electrical system. The main switch also protects the main cables from overloading and trips when the cables are pulling in excessive current.
Circuit Breakers- These breakers also protect from overloading, but they serve the cables. They keep cables from overheating and starting fires, which can sometimes happen if there are too many appliances activated simultaneously or when a cable is damaged or flooded.
Safety Switches (RCDs)- Also known as Residual Current Devices, these safety switches are able to keep current from passing on to animals and people. If your switchboard doesn’t have a safety switch, then it lacks any kind of protection against electrical shock for anyone or anything.
These can trip if your electrical system is leaking power. This happens when electrical current starts to flow through a person. Safety switch protection is required by law for all residential circuits.
RCBOs- This combination device includes a circuit breaker and an RCD. Together, they work to prevent electrical shocks and circuit overload. If you only have a standard circuit, you can upgrade that with an RCBO. That change will give you greater protection and clear up some space in the switchboard.
Connection to an Earth Electrode- This component goes outside your home, and it has a connecting wire that goes straight to the switchboard, so it’s still considered a switchboard component. It gives your electrical system grounding to ensure that all of your home electrical equipment is kept safe.
Any older home built in 1990 or before will use a different kind of grounding called an equipotential bond. This joins the grounding component to metal plumbing inside the home and runs underground. You may want to replace an equipotential bond, however, if that is what your home has. Your plumber could accidentally disrupt the grounding when replacing or repairing pipes. Since plumbers don’t use electrical testing equipment, they won’t know when they are causing a power disruption or creating electrical safety issues.
You can have us upgrade the switchboard for you, giving you a modern grounding system that protects you from electrical shock and that will prove more reliable than the older system.
If you would like to know more about which components your switchboard should have and how to upgrade yours, please give us a call. We would be happy to discuss options with you and talk about the next step you need to take to make your home and electrical system safe for you and your family.