5 Signs That Your Electrical Switchboard Needs a Repair or Replacement

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Ever thought about the central powerhouse of electricity in your home? An electrical switchboard is what you call it, and it controls power distribution in your home. Yet, the high demand for modern technology puts more strain and causes more deterioration on these switchboards. 

This emphasizes the significance of recognizing when it is due for a fix or an upgrade. Therefore, if you are contemplating the life of your electrical switchboard, continue reading.

5 Signs That Your Electrical Switchboard Needs a Repair or Replacement

There are signs that show your electrical switchboard needs replacing or urgent repair. These issues typically include flickering lights, old switchboards, problems with your circuit breakers, and an electrical box that smells odd or gets hot.

1. Circuit Breaker Failure

A circuit breaker is like a safety guard for your electricity. It stops the flow of electricity if it gets too strong. But sometimes, a circuit breaker can stop working properly. This means it might not stop the electricity when it should. Luckily, if a circuit breaker fails, you usually do not have to change the whole electrical switchboard.

2. Circuit Breaker Keeps Tripping

Frequent tripping of the circuit breaker could be an indication of a problem with the breaker, faulty home wiring, or the fuse box. In such a situation, resetting the breaker usually resolves the issue. If the breaker keeps tripping often, you might need to inspect it thoroughly to find out the main issue.

3. Dimming or Flickering Lights

If your lights start flickering or getting dim when you use an appliance, it means you might not have enough power for what you are using. And if your appliances seem slow, it could be a sign that you need to replace your fuse box.

4. Outdated Electrical Switchboard Layout

Old electrical switchboards use fuses, not circuit breakers, which are less safe for you and your home. Fuses can only handle an electricity overload once because they usually melt to stop it.

In the past, older homes had equipment of just 60 or 100 amperage, which is much lower than what modern homes use. To make things safer and have more power, safely switch from fuses to circuit breakers by changing the switchboard.

5. Warm Electrical Switchboard or a Slight Burning Smell

If you notice that your fuse box is emitting heat or a burning odor, it is likely that a serious issue is at play. Both of these symptoms indicate that something inside the box is burning. Charring is a telltale sign of fire, while rust is a common indication of water damage. Either of these factors can cause a peculiar burning odor.

If your electrical switchboard feels warm or smells like something is burning, you should immediately seek assistance from an emergency electrician.

What Are the Steps to Repair Electrical Service Switchboard?

1. Find the Tripped Circuit Breaker

  • Examine each circuit breaker in the service switchboard.
  • Look for one with the switch leaning towards the off position or a red button that can pop out if tripped.
  • Identify the tripped breaker and consult the circuit index inside the switchboard.
  • Determine which circuit the breaker controls.
  • Make sure you turn off or unplug everything on this circuit.
  • Reset the circuit breaker switch or button.
  • If it immediately trips again, there may be an issue with the circuit’s wiring; seek help from an electrician.
  • Test the circuit by re-plugging appliances or turning on lights connected to it.
  • If the breaker trips again, the problem likely lies in a specific device.
  • If not, everything is likely functioning correctly.
electrician repairing an electrical panel

2. Replace an Electrical Service Switchboard Screw-In Fuse

  • Inspect the fuse for visible damage. 
  • For screw-in types, check the glass to see if the metal strip inside is whole. 
  • If it is broken, it must be swapped out. 
  • A completely fractured strip indicates an overload of electricity.
  • A darkened fuse window signifies a short circuit, often caused by wires touching or a wire making contact with metal.
  • If you find a blown fuse, remove it and substitute it with one of the exact same amperage (15, 20, or 30 amps).

3. Replace an Electrical Service Switchboard Cartridge Fuse

  • First, switch off the power.
  • Use a fuse puller to carefully take out the cartridge fuse.
  • Test the fuse with a multimeter set to measure resistance. If it shows low resistance (meaning it has continuity), it is still good. If not, it is blown.
  • Put in a new fuse that matches the old one exactly.

4. Test an Electrical Service Switchboard Circuit Breaker

  • Use a multimeter to check if the breaker has power. Touch the prongs to the breaker’s terminal screw and a ground. If there is no power, the breaker is faulty and needs to be replaced.
  • Turn off the main switch or circuit breaker. Remove the cover from the switchboard.
  • Loosen the screws holding the damaged breaker and pull it out. Identify and disconnect the wires connected to it.
  • Get a new circuit breaker with the exact amperage (15, 20, or 30 amps). Attach the wires to the new breaker. Install and secure the replacement breaker. Some snap in, while others need screw fasteners.
  • Restore power and test the circuit to make sure it is working properly.


In conclusion, the electrical switchboard is a crucial component that controls power distribution in your home. Recognize signs of electrical switchboard problems like flickering lights, circuit breaker issues, outdated design, and burning smell.

If you encounter any of these signs, we recommend seeking assistance from a licensed electrician. If you are in Sydney, you can hire a local electrician to stay safe and comply with local codes.


What Is the Difference Between a Fuse Box and a Circuit Breaker Switchboard?

A fuse box uses fuses to protect circuits. When a circuit overloads, the fuse wire melts, interrupting the flow of electricity. A circuit breaker, on the other hand, uses breakers that can be reset after they trip.

Can You Install a New Electrical Panel by Yourself?

No, you should definitely hire a licensed electrician for any electrical switchboard installation or upgrades. They possess the correct licensing and insurance to ensure they do it safely and in adherence with Australian Standards.

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Rami Alcheikh
Rami Alcheikh

In Sydney Electrical Service, Rami works on the content team. He is passionate about sharing tips that can help make your electrical projects easier.

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