If it’s not broke, don’t fix it, right? Wrong!
Older style switchboards are potentially dangerous even if they still work. As the years go on people start adding extensions, more electrical appliances and air conditioners. The older style switchboards were only designed to operate a few lights, power points and an oven. Just think of the amount of technology and power you have in your home or business today! Electrical fires can start from a faulty switchboard. Replacing an old fuse with a safety switch might just be one of the most important decisions you can make.
A switchboard upgrade involves changing over circuit breakers and fuses to RCD safety switches. RCD stands for Residual Current Device which is more sensitive circuit breaker which is now the standard in new builds. If you have had your house worked on in the last 5 – 10 years, it would would have likely been fitted with a RCD circuit breaker.
The benefit of having a RCD circuit breaker is that they are way safer, tripping out power in 0.3 of a second if a foreign object comes into contact with a powerpoint or an appliance faults in any way. Take the classic example of someone sticking a knife in a toaster, with the old circuit boards the power wouldn’t stop flowing, but with the RCD circuit breakers, the power would stop in 0.3 of a second preventing cardiac arrest from electric shock. If a kitchen appliance such as a kettle or a toaster had a fault in it, the RCD circuit breaker would detect the fault and trip out the power before an accident could occur. A RCD is really a fail safe that should be in every home and business.
Business owners need to ensure they have RCD circuit boards as they are required by law. RCD circuit boards are especially important for any commercial kitchen or premises that uses a lot of water as RCD circuit board are more sensitive to anything accidentally coming in contact with powerpoints resulting in a 0.3 second power trip. If a business is caught doing any electrical work to their premises and not upgrading an old switchboard to RCD, they could be fined or have their business license taken away.
To know if your switchboard requires upgrades you can compare the below photos to see the difference between a switchboard that is old and in need of updating and a switchboard that is fitted with an RCD.