Switchboards or electrical panels serve as the primary protection mechanism of a household from electrical failures. Homeowners should be familiar with how they function and their practical uses to know the right steps to take in cases of emergencies such as power overloads and short circuits.
What is a key switchboard?
This electrical system is a central hub for electricity. It acts as the main power supply that distributes energy to various electrical outlets, home appliances, devices, and smart integrations. The switchboard consists of circuit breakers that are designed to detect electrical failures and power overloads and automatically shut off to prevent electrocution and fire.
A typical switchboard for homes only has a main switch that controls the electricity for the entire home’s electrical system. Today, electrical panels are more sophisticated and organized with multiple switches to control the distribution of electricity to the different areas or rooms of the house.
Modern switchboards are made from metal or plastic. They have labels to easily identify which flow of electricity they control. The main switch, also known as the main disconnect or main isolator, has the label “main switch” and is designed to cut off electrical supply to the entire household.
How does the key switchboard work for homes?
- Source of power supply: The switchboard is located in the area of the home where the power lines from the utility companies are routed, typically near the main door, back door, basements, utility rooms, or garages. The switchboard is the electrical device that distributes power to the entire house from the utility companies. Because the switchboard is the receiver of electrical supply distributed throughout the house, it must be installed in convenient and accessible locations.
- Control power: The switchboard consists of multiple switches known as circuit breakers. These circuit breakers control the power supply to a specific area or room of the house. They can turn off the electrical flow to a specific power outlet while leaving the rest of the electric flow undisturbed. The switchboard also helps in balancing loads or distribution of electricity to home appliances and devices to avoid overpowering them.
- Allocate specific circuit breakers: One of the primary reasons for having a switchboard is to simplify the identification and isolation of faulty circuits when necessary. Over time, the home’s electrical wiring will wear and tear and require electrical repair or replacement. The circuit breakers help to quickly identify the source of the issue and resolve it without causing problems to other electrical systems.
- Compatibility with smart home integrations or other electrical advancements: The switchboards are designed for the protection of the home and its residents. So, they are also designed to accommodate home integrations such as GFCI outlet installation and other smart devices. As electrical requirements change or new devices are added to your home, the electrical panel offers flexibility to accommodate the electrical upgrades.
What components can be found inside a home electrical panel or switchboard?
Switchboards, or electrical panels, is an enclosure that holds three main components. These are the circuit breakers, safety switches, and fuses. The fuses are common to traditional or older electrical panels and act to prevent excessive current from damaging the electrical wires and appliances. A blown fuse should be replaced immediately to restore the power to your home.
Today, advanced technologies have transitioned electrical panels from using fuses to employing circuit breakers and safety switches. The circuit breaker is the device responsible for automatically shutting off the power supply in case there is an overload or short circuit due to faulty electrical wiring. Safety switches, however, are components that can be found in more modern electrical panels and function to detect imbalances in the electrical flow and automatically turn off to protect against electric shock.
Are you renovating a home that has outdated electrical systems? ElectriCall may be able to help you upgrade the home. ElectriCall is a licensed Arvada electrical company with expert local residential electricians ready to upgrade your switchboard with modern components.
Why is it important for homeowners to understand key switchboards and their functions?
- Increase electrical safety: Being the primary safety device for your home, it is important to know how switchboards work to quickly respond to electrical issues. The switchboard is also extremely vital during a power outage. When electricity suddenly cuts off due to natural disasters and extreme weather, you can turn off the circuit breakers to prevent a power surge when the supply is restored. The switchboard also helps minimize the risk of fire due to overloading or turning on appliances simultaneously.
- Troubleshoot simple electrical issues when needed: Knowing the functionality of switchboards allows homeowners to conduct DIY electrical repairs that do not need the assistance of a professional Arvada electrician. Homeowners will know how to identify electrical problems, perform simple tests, isolate the issues, or call for expert home electrical repair services.
- Be prepared for emergencies: Emergencies also occur from accidents or natural disasters, and when these kinds of emergencies occur, you might have to quickly turn off the power supply to your entire home. Being familiar with the electrical panel and switches will allow you to disconnect the electricity safely when it is needed.
- Understand the do’s and don’ts when doing home improvements: Knowing the proper routing for electrical wires is crucial when renovating your home or building an addition to it. Home wiring and rewiring can be complex, so knowing the basics will help you determine whether the electrical contractors you hired know what they are doing.
- Manage your energy consumption. Another reason for homeowners to understand their home electrical panels is so that they can be more mindful of their resource consumption. By knowing how the switchboard works, you can take steps to improve your home’s energy efficiency by installing smart home integrations, safety devices, solar energy, and more!
How can Arvada homeowners perform basic maintenance to their home switchboard or electrical panel?
Homeowners can visually inspect the switchboard for signs of loose wires, discolorations, burnt marks, or damage to components, and can clean the area and remove debris, dirt, or other flammable materials near the electrical panel. Tightening loose connections is another basic maintenance that homeowners can do to prevent connections from overheating or arcing.
Electrical maintenance such as maintaining switchboards also requires an understanding of basic tools. Keep handy tools like screwdrivers, a multimeter for measuring voltage and current, electrical tape, and wire strippers. Your safety is always a top priority, so make sure to understand the switchboard, its functions, and the risks of DIY electrical work.
The Bottom Line
Overall, having a basic understanding of your home’s key switchboard and its practical uses helps you become a more responsible homeowner. Proactively seeking knowledge about your home’s electrical components allows you to deal with electrical issues more confidently.
However, it is also worth remembering that DIY electrical work may not always be the best solution. Electricity can be dangerous and cause accidents, loss of property, or fatalities. When it comes to regular electrical repair, electrical installation, or maintenance services, seek the assistance of a professional electrician nearby.
For complex electrical troubleshooting that involves your home electrical wiring or repairing circuit breakers, contact ElectriCall. Our qualified Arvada local residential electricians can provide excellent home electrical repair services that will give homeowners comfort and peace of mind.