Why Outdated Switchboards Are Dangerous

Many Auckland residents don’t realise the potential hazards with their old switchboards. Old switchboards can cause big problems and safety risks, so here are some essential tips about how to manage the situation.

Older switchboards are a huge eyesore; however, the biggest problems with older switchboards are the dangers they pose to the household’s safety, insurance risks, and limitations on new wiring and renovations.

Safety Issues

Possible fire hazards: Old switchboards are notorious for their wiring abnormalities. Many of the older switchboards have wiring that simply couldn’t be approved today. This wiring can short, spark and cause fires. Connections can build up heat in switches and fuse terminals, a direct fire risk. Old insulation is another problem., iIf old insulation deteriorates, it can expose wires. Re-wiring is essential.

No residual current device (RCD)

A residual current device protects human life, as opposed to standard fuses and MCB’s which only protect the wires. The residual current device can sense if someone is getting an electical shock and disconnect the circuit quickly, preventing a serious injury. All modern switchboards and new circuits are required by law to have Residual Current Devices to protect against this hazard.


Older switchboards may contain asbestos, which was used as a standard insulation material 50-60 years ago. This is a major health hazard, and the asbestos needs to be professionally removed by an electrician or hazardous materials specialist.


Due to the hazards listed above, more and more insurance companies won’t insure homes and businesses with deficient old wiring. These old switchboards often don’t meet basic electrical safety standards. You may need a certificate of compliance and inspection to prove your switchboard meets modern standards.


Old switchboards, even those that are only 20 years old, simply aren’t designed for smart homes and modern electrical needs. The problems include both wiring needs and switchboard capacity. All new wiring must meet today’s standard in order for an electrician to complete a certificate of compliance (COC). This means even adding a new powerpoint can’t be done until you add an RCD to the switchboard, which can be difficult to do on the old switchboards.

Now the Good News

Despite all the issues with your old switchboard, the good news is that modern switchboards can be relatively easily installed and as a replacement for your existing switchboard.

The new switchboards are recessed into the wall and provide a clean and tidy finish.

A new switchboard will not only keep your family safe but also future proof your home.

Talk to your residential electricians about your old wiring, and you’ll get some expert help with upgrading your home and electrical repairs to manage any old wiring issues.

Need Residential Electrical Services in Auckland Or Onehunga?
Northern Lights Lighting & Electrical is one of the leading electrical companies in Auckland. Call us for switchboard replacements or electrical repairs in Onehunga or the Auckland region. You can contact us online or give us a call on Freephone at 0800 177 275.

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  • Avatar Douglas Rawson ★★★★★ 3 months ago
    Simply Awesome service from Northern Lights. We had quite extensive work done on our home, including rewire, new board, new main line point of entry, new earth, all light fittings, switches and power points … More replaced, new indoor and outdoor lighting installed. When quoting, John was fantastic and listened to what we wanted. He didn't try pressure us or upsell to us. He took the time to explain things and give us options that fitted our budget. The electricians who carried out the work were also fantastic. Over the 5 days, Hannes, Matt and Zio were on time, polite, professional, and tidy. Their work was top notch and their attention to detail was awesome. We also changed our mind a bit along the way and they accommodated this for us no problem. Going forward we will be using Northern Lights for any and all electrical work in the future. We really couldn't be happier! Thanks Guys!!
  • Avatar Mike Foster-Atkins ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Team arrived promptly, were thorough and professional and left everything neat and tidy afterwards. New lights look awesome.
  • Avatar Karl Crawford ★★★★★ 4 months ago
    Great, prompt and friendly service. Would recommend and use again

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