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Electrical Switchboard Upgrade: When Is the Right Time for a Replacement?

Much like every component of your home, switchboards occasionally require an update, often known as a switchboard upgrade.

  • Are you noticing issues with your home’s electricity?
  • Do you still use old fuses or plug-in circuit breakers?
  • Has an electrician or another professional recommended a switchboard upgrade?
  • Do you reside in a house that was constructed over 30 years ago, where older switchboards might not be equipped with electrical safety switches?

Installing a new switchboard can significantly decrease the risk of electrical fires and offers numerous advantages, including enhanced electrical safety in your residents.

Switchboard Upgrade

If you’re worried and curious about the potential issues with your electrical switchboard, continue reading this article to discover the indicators that it’s time for a new switchboard, the risks associated with an outdated switchboard, and the potential costs of an upgrade.

Should you have any further inquiries, feel free to contact ASW Electrical at 0450 440 569. We offer switchboard upgrade services and guidance for homeowners, landlords, and commercial property owners.


Your home’s switchboard serves as the pivotal point for electricity distribution, channelling power from your electricity provider to the circuits that feed your lighting, outlets, appliances, air-conditioning, and pool. Essentially, it acts as the master control for turning your home’s power on and off.

Often referred to as a fuse box, metre box, breaker box, or electrical box, recognizing the vital role of your switchboard underscores the importance of maintaining its safety and compliance.


With the rise in household power usage due to an array of electrical appliances, smart home innovations, and various gadgets, the need for electrical integrity and personal safety awareness among homeowners, landlords, and tenants has never been greater. In response, Australian Electrical Safety Standards have evolved to bolster home and electrician safety alike.

The risks posed by an outdated switchboard cannot be overstated – obsolete fuses and circuit breakers have led to numerous electrical fires, and the absence of modern safety switches could leave your family vulnerable to electric shocks.

Switchboard Upgrade


Typically, your switchboard is enclosed in a steel box located at the front of your property. It features a panel of switches that distribute power throughout your property, and there might be a subpanel dedicated to a specific area of your home.

This panel consists of circuit breakers, each operated by an ON/OFF lever, usually labelled to show the area of the house they control. If your switchboard includes safety switches, they’ll resemble a regular switch but with a button marked ‘TEST’ or ‘T’.

For homeowners, rental property owners, or commercial property owners, understanding these basics about your switchboard’s interior and functionality is essential. However, for installations, replacements of circuit breakers, safety switches, or switchboard upgrades, hiring a licensed electrician in Brisbane is mandatory.


Your switchboard may show clear or less noticeable signs of strain, and certain actions, like renovating or selling your home, may legally necessitate a switchboard upgrade. Here are common indicators that it’s time for an upgrade.

Switchboard Upgrade

Frequent System Faults and Power Outages

Obvious signs include frequent tripping of circuit breakers, resulting in power loss to parts of your home, flickering lights, or appliances short-circuiting due to excessive electrical current flow. An electrician in Brisbane can determine if a switchboard upgrade is necessary to resolve these issues.

Absence of a Safety Switch

A safety switch, or RCD, shuts off power within 0.03 seconds to prevent electric shock in case of a short circuit or appliance fault. If your switchboard lacks a safety switch, it’s crucial for the safety of your household to consider an upgrade, even if not legally required yet.

Outdated Fuses

Homes in older areas that haven’t been updated might still use ceramic fuses, indicating an aged electrical system at risk. Such old switchboards and fuses significantly increase the risk of house fires. Upgrading your switchboard should be a priority.

Upgrading Appliances

Did you recently upgrade any electrical appliances in your home? Consider if you’ve added any of the following: A new washing machine or dryer, new oven, bigger TV or surround sound system, heat lamps or towel heaters in your bathroom, upgraded hot water system

ducted air conditioning or several new split systems, enhanced lighting, including pendant lights or outdoor lighting

Installing any of these devices could significantly increase the demand on your electrical circuits, potentially pushing your switchboard beyond its capacity. This might lead to the switchboard overheating, causing frequent power outages, tripping circuits, and, in severe cases, fires.
The need for a switchboard upgrade often accumulates gradually as your home’s electrical demands grow. Only a qualified electrician Brisbane can accurately assess your needs and recommend the appropriate upgrades.

Switchboard Upgrade


The original design of your switchboard was to meet the electrical demands of your house as it was built. Renovations, including room additions that incorporate extra lighting, power points, and appliances, can significantly increase the complexity and demand on your switchboard.

Moreover, safety regulations introduced in 2018 require the installation of adequate safety switches during major home renovations. These switches, which are integrated into your switchboard, may necessitate an upgrade to meet these new standards.


The cost of switchboard equipment varies widely, depending on your home or business’s specific requirements. Factors influencing the price of your upgrade include:

  • Presence of asbestos materials in the old board
  • Location of the current switchboard
  • Number of circuits needed for the property
  • Necessity to replace the entire metre box
  • Requirement to relocate metres to a spot accessible as per Energex guidelines

For further guidance or a quotation on upgrading your electrical switchboard, we’re here to assist. Reach out to ASW Electrical, the professional electrician in Brisbane with 25+ years of experience at 0450 440 569

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