How to Keep Your Home Safe
An electrical switchboard is like the beating heart of your home. It’s responsible for directing power throughout a house with dependable, safe performance. However, a switchboard poses a massive safety risk if there is any damage.
Ageing switchboards and associated home wiring can break down over time. Safety precautions, which were once the standard, are now outdated and non compliant with new builds and renovations. Meanwhile, there’s always a chance of external factors which could lead to injury, fire, or even death.
When something does go wrong, Mr Emergency recommends you never handle wiring yourself. If you think something looks dodgy, call your local electrician. They will thoroughly investigate your switchboard, wiring and all associated parts. And if any issues are found, you can relax, knowing everything is in safe hands.
Electrical Switchboard Checklist
This is what your electrician will typically look at to ensure there is proper electrical switchboard safety in your home.
Exposed Live Wires
Direct contact with exposed wiring can cause an electrical current to flow through a person’s body. Electrical shock, burns, and even death, is all a potential outcome. And although the last might sound like an exaggeration, exposed live wires are no joke.
Your electrician will address any exposed wires instantly, especially if they are on outdated products such as rewireable fuses. Rewireable fuses contain exposed wiring and are well beyond their use by date. They have been linked to numerous cases of household fires and injury.
Rats, mice, possums, and lizards can be all a nightmare when it comes to electrical safety. Switchboard enclosures are an enticing safe haven for nests, although it can often end badly for little critters! Even spiders might be at risk.
It’s important to maintain a clean area around the switchboard so vermin and other small animals can’t nestle in.
Although the actual wires may not be exposed, kinks in wiring can lead to electrical resistance and unwanted heat. Too much heat and your home is at risk of an electrical fire. Even extension cords or appliance cables need to be monitored for damage as they can be easily crushed or twisted.
Outdated Electrical Equipment
Between outdated power boards, old appliances or aged safety switches and circuit breakers, there’s plenty of electrical equipment which could be ready for retirement. Some products may have been recalled while others may just not meet modern standards. Homeowners are not expected to keep up with all the rules, but an electrician is. Call a local expert so you can be sure is up to standard.
Faulty Electrical Circuits
Electrical circuits are typically divided up in a house to provide additional protection and separation in case something goes wrong. For example, lighting, powerpoints, ovens and heating & cooling are usually on individual circuits. Therefore, if a fuse is blown or a safety switch is tripped, isolating the fault is simplified.
Any imperfections in a switchboard enclosure can lead to electrical safety risks. Water damage is perhaps the biggest threat, as an electrical fire could spark. Rust or corrosion is a clear sign something is wrong, and your switchboard could be in harm’s way. Maintain any hinges, too, and keep the surrounding area secure for all weather conditions.
No Safety Switches
When someone comes in contact with a live current, a safety switch is tripped, and the power shuts off within milliseconds. That’s faster than you can blink. RCD safety switches or RCBOs have been a legal requirement in all homes since 2019.
However, many old properties do not have safety switches installed on switchboards. New builds and renovated properties feature appropriate safety switches, while owners must ensure rental properties are legally protected. Meanwhile, if you purchase a new home, you have three months to install RCD safety switches. And remember, if you’re in doubt about your home and any electrical regulations, call Mr Emergency.