Electrical Switchboard Upgrades - Everything You Need To Know

April 22, 2021

Your electrical switchboard, or panel, is an essential component of the power distribution system in your home. This system splits up the power in your home and sends it to different circuits.When problems arise with an electrical panel, it might mean a frantic search for emergency electricians. Finding an affordable electrician near you can be a struggle when you need them right away.Looking for ‘electrician near me now’? The professionals at Randy’s Electric are always a phone call away. If electrical switchboard problems are causing you stress, give our team a call at (612) 445-6549.Continue reading if you want to learn more about your home’s electrical switchboard.

What is an Electrical Switchboard?

It’s a good idea for every homeowner to become familiar with their electrical switchboard. A problem in this crucial component and you’ll notice issues with your lights, appliances and other electronics.The electrical switchboard is the connection between the supply coming from the street and the power distribution system in your home. It is responsible for moving that power from the utility provider and relaying it through multiple circuits. Electrical switchboards can be a single panel or a combination of electrical panels and switches. Regardless of configuration, the main goal of the panel is to control the flow of power.On the electrical switchboard, you may find:

  • Safety switches
  • Circuit breakers
  • Fuses

You can find electrical switchboards in various parts of the home. You may find one in a hallway or even fitted on the front of your house. Your home's panel also plays a critical role in electrical safety. By circuiting, your switchboard can cut off the flow of electricity in the case of a problem. Circuits alone have saved many homes from electrical fires. Unfortunately, electrical panels don’t last forever. Knowing when to replace an old switchboard is essential to maintaining electrical safety.

When Should You Upgrade Your Electrical Switchboard?

Your electrical switchboard is one of the many pieces of your electrical system. Understanding when your electrical system is outdated is part of proper maintenance. You should have your panel checked by a certified electrician at least once every five years. If you have an older home, it's a wise choice to upgrade sooner rather than later. Here are some more signs it might be time for an electrical switchboard upgrade:

  • Appliances aren’t operating normally
  • Your switchboard uses fuses, not circuits
  • Buying new appliances

Finding a local electrician that can check your home’s electrical system is all you need. You should especially consider contacting an electrician if you are experiencing breakers that trip constantly. If the electrician ends up replacing the circuit, it might be a smart move to go ahead and replace the entire electrical panel. This can save you some headaches down the road.Â

Are There Risks of Using an Old Electrical Switchboard?

If you have been putting off an electrical switchboard upgrade, you could be throwing money down the drain. It can be costly to upgrade your panel. Keep in mind that this will depend on the electrician and your location. With an older switchboard you will have to deal with constant issues that require the services of an emergency electrician. Here are two major risks of using an old electrical panel:

1. Fire Hazards

One of the most important factors to consider when thinking about switchboard replacement is safety. Did you know that the natural shifting of your home can cause hazards? Even a slight movement can cause vibrations that reverberate through your electrical system.When vibrations occur, it can cause the screws holding your connections together to loosen. Even a small space between wires and screws can result in a dangerous electrical arc. Once an arc catches fire, it can quickly spread through the wall cavity of your home toward the roof.

2. Asbestos

If the fire risk isn't enough, what about your health? Often older panels are made of asbestos. If your panel is a black color and older than 20 years, it's a good sign you've got an asbestos panel in your home.Asbestos has a history of being both susceptible to fire and incredibly dangerous to your respiratory system. You can probably agree that home safety is incredibly important. If these risks are on your mind, it may be time for a full home safety electrical audit. During an audit, a certified electrician will come to your home and assess all the components in your electrical system for faults and risks.Â

Benefits of Upgrading Your Switchboard

You still may be unsure as to whether or not you need a switchboard upgrade. However, if you do decide to schedule an upgrade, you can be sure to reap enormous benefits. Here is what you can expect after installing a new switchboard:

  • Reduced fire risks: old panels can be fire hazards. Things like fuse arcs are dangerous and can cause untold damage when left unremedied.
  • Less chance of electrocution: electrical systems are dangerous, especially if you don’t know what you’re doing. Updated panels, however, will actually trip a circuit in the event of a short so that you don’t get the brunt of the electrical shock.
  • Fewer repairs: older switchboards see problems constantly. Every time they do, an electrician comes over and you get an invoice. Get ahead of costs by upgrading to a newer, more efficient electrical panel.

Another major factor that isn't as tangible as the others is peace of mind. Electrical problems are frustrating. Trying to diagnose them without the proper knowledge can only add to the pain. Upgrading your electrical switchboard means a reliable electrical system overall.Â

Finding Emergency Electricians in St. Paul, MN

Upgrading your electrical switchboard can be a big move. Not only will it save you time and money, but it can also be a huge factor when it comes to home safety. Our team at Randy’s Electric has the knowledge and expertise needed to perform proper service panel upgrades. Randy’s Electric has been servicing the St. Paul, MN area for over 20 years. We can walk you through your electrical panel upgrade or any other electrical issue you may have.So before the lights go out and you need to find an emergency ‘electrician near me now’, consider giving the team at Randy’s Electric a ring at 612-470-0914.Â