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If you ask most people, they don’t know all that much about their home’s electricity switchboard beyond where it is and how to switch it all off in an emergency. But as it’s the first point your property’s electricity supply meets after being supplied by the interconnected community supply, otherwise known as ‘the grid’, there’s probably a little more you should know about how to use that switchboard and what it all really means and does.

Why should you care? Well, as you definitely care about your family’s safety, the first thing to know is that the power switch box is actually all about safety. Namely, it’s how you get that supply of potentially deadly electricity to your power points, fixtures and appliances without worrying that the house switchboard has been neglected and left in an unsafe state – which could also open you up to much more serious repairs down the line.

Here at our top rated electrical company, Static Electrics, we love to break down these topics into bite-sized explanatory pieces that demystify electrical topics that our competitors often like to keep a mystery. We have a lot more respect for our loyal clients than that, so here are the 5 main things you need to know about your home or property’s main switchboard:

1. What does it look like?

All homes don’t look alike, and the same goes for the various house switchboard configurations. For instance, you may find the meter, and you may not. If the meter is there, it could be an old one – or it could be a modern electronic one. You may find fuses, or you may see circuit breakers, or you may see a hodge-podge of new and old technologies. What we certainly hope those various power switch boxes do have in common, however, is a safety switch.

Related reading: What Is The Difference Between A Safety Switch And A Circuit Breaker?

2. Is every main switchboard alike?

As we hope the answer above illustrates, the answer is clearly no. For a subdivision, for instance, the metering point may be shared by all the properties, with a switchboard per house. What will definitely be true, though, is that the energy supplier personnel will head to your meter to take the reading for your bill, while the switchboard itself regulates a building’s various electrical circuits.

3. What does the house switchboard do?

Think of your home as the body, and the main switchboard as its heart and brain. The main power supply from the street comes in to the various circuits, circuit breakers and fuses and direct the power in a safe and efficient way to the various appliances, fixtures and power points around your home. You may find certain fixtures, like your hot water or air conditioner, on circuits all of their own, while other circuits are zoned – like bedroom lights versus kitchen-living area lighting. Flick just one of those circuits off, and power will no longer go to that circuit alone. Switch everything off with the main switch, and take comfort in your RCD safety switch that will detect a fault and automatically shut the system down.

4. Do I need to perform maintenance?

It’s a good idea to test the safety switch and those individual circuit switches every now and then – perhaps every few months to half-yearly. Once a year, though, it’s a good idea to get the best local electrician to your place to properly test and time the RCD feature – because the tiniest fraction of a second counts when it comes to deadly electricity and your family. Other than that, a decent visual check quite regularly is a great idea, if only to see if pests aren’t making themselves too comfy in there.

Related reading: 5 Top Tips To Improving Electrical Safety In Your Home

5. Is my power switch box out of date?

It’s a great thing that there is such a difference between those old-fashioned mechanical meters and fuses, and the super-safe and modern electrical main switchboard setups of today. But that doesn’t mean your old switchboard is useless and unsafe – but it could well be that it’s still due for a timely electrical switchboard upgrade. That’s especially the case if you have doubts about safety switches, or if your home’s power demands of today can no longer keep up with the infrastructure – and those old, smaller circuits – of yesterday. At any rate, today is the perfect time to get that checked out.

Learn how to use a switchboard with our help

Are you 100% sure you know how to use your switchboard – and whether it’s still appropriate for your property, your electricity demands, and the needs of tomorrow? Static Electrics is your local, family-operated and friendly electrical, air conditioning and solar system repair experts business covering all suburbs across the Sunshine Coast, Moreton Bay, Redlands and Brisbane, so why not give us a call today?