Do your lights tend to flicker when you’re trying to read? Do your fuses blow on a regular basis? If things like this are happening in your house, you’re living with an outdated switchboard.
At the end of the 19th century, it wouldn’t have mattered much. In those days, gas lamps provided light to most homes while iceboxes kept the food cold. When electrical switchboards did come into existence, stresses on them were light. People did not have washers, dryers or air conditioners, and early electric light bulbs made few demands.
Into the Modern Era
Unfortunately, the switchboards in many older homes haven’t seen an upgrade in decades. Some still contain ceramic or porcelain fuses. They probably have no safety features, and they almost certainly lack the capacity required to power today’s appliances.
The Dangers of an Outdated Switchboard
Outdated switchboards are more than just a nuisance. When subjected to stresses for which they were never designed, they tend to short-circuit. Their fuses can easily catch fire. There is also a good chance that anyone dealing with them could suffer an electric shock.
How Can an Updated Switchboard Help?
Modern electric switchboards have circuit breakers, not fuses. In the case of an overload, the flip of a switch will reset them. With no exposed wires in evidence, the risk of fire and electric shock is small.
How Does a Circuit Breaker Work?
A circuit breaker literally breaks the circuit if excessive current flows through. This prevents the appliance that caused the problem from overheating and causing an electrical fire. Once the responsible appliance is unplugged, a simple flip of the switch will reset the circuit.
What is the Safety Switch?
A safety switch monitors the current as it flows through all the circuits. If it detects a leak from a broken switch or wire, it automatically shuts off the electricity to protect you and your family members from potential electrocution. It’s a good idea to press the test button on your safety switch periodically to ensure that it is working correctly.
When It’s Time for an Upgrade?
An outdated switchboard can pose serious hazards. If yours is past its prime, your home and family could be in danger. Fortunately, a simple inspection by a qualified electrician can make this determination. It’s a small investment in time and money, but it can yield big dividends in safety for your family and peace of mind for you.