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New safety standards ensure you and your family stay protected from electrical shorts

In 2018, Standards Australia updated its wiring rules, last set out in 2007. The purpose of the new regulations is to enhance safety for homeowners and their families, reducing the risks below those of the previous standards. The new AS/NZS 3000 rules make over two hundred changes and cover everything from best practices, safeguards, and electrical installations.

The AS/NZS 3000 Rule Updates For Switchboards

Like most families, you probably have a switchboard in your home. The purpose of a switchboard is to allow you to control the different circuits in your house and instantaneously cut the electricity supply in the event of a short.

The new AS/NZS 3000 rules update the requirements switchboard installation in several ways.

The first new requirement is that all newly-installed switchboards are at least 0.6m from all adjoining walls so that you’re able to access all the panels easily. In the past, homeowners and electricians had issues gaining access to switchboards for servicing and updates.

The new switchboard standards also demand that there must be at least two emergency paths that are spaced apart. Regulations state that installed switchboards should have rated circuits with capacities of at least 800A per phase or more than three metres in length.

There are new circuit breaker requirements too. If you alter a switchboard, the new rules state that you should fit residual current devices (RCDs) to final circuits. The standard also recommends that you should add RCDs to your outlets on existing circuits.

If you decide that you need to replace all of the circuit protection on your switchboard, the AS/NZS 3000 says that you need to fit RCD protection on all newly installed sub-circuits instead of just at a higher level.

There is a range of other minor changes to the rules too, but they all have a similar objective: to improve the safety of electrical appliances throughout Australia, including in the domestic environment.

Why Do The New AS/NZS 3000 Rules Matter To You?

The Standards Australia update applies across all premises in the country, including the Central Coast NSW. It is essential for homeowners in several ways as follows.

Reducing The Risk Of Fires

The previous standards were effective in reducing electrical hazards in domestic settings, but with improving safety thresholds and more experience, there was a need to update them. Things like fitting individual RCDs to each subcircuit, for example, offers homeowners with an additional layer of protection on new installations, helping to make the home environment even safer than before.

Risks from electricity are not negligible. It’s a real hazard. Electrical issues can lead to severe consequences, including damage to property and death. Electrons passing through wires contain a vast quantity of energy that, if misdirected, can cause untold damage.

When a circuit “shorts,” all of the energy has to go somewhere. If it can’t go into powering an appliance, it’ll convert to heat, eventually heating the wires themselves and causing them to melt. Because so much energy is involved, shorts can cause the surrounding material to catch fire (such as wire casing), leading to dangerous situations. A faulty switchboard, or one that doesn’t have RCDs on each subcircuit, can develop potentially hazardous shorts.

Electrical fires are one of the most dangerous and challenging to put out. The risk to both property and life is high. The Australian Wiring Rules, however, put in place measures designed to cut the risk of fire and protect you. The new regulations for servicing, updating and installing switchboards reduce the risk substantially if implemented correctly.

Reduce Risk Of Electric Shocks

Electrical systems also pose the risk of electric shock. Electrocution at mains levels of energy can be fatal. The purpose of RCDs is to prevent this from happening by cutting the power supply to any outlet in your home the moment that it detects what it thinks is a short.

Your body isn’t a particularly good conductor of electricity. Thus, when electricity travels through it, it creates resistance in the circuit. The RCD can detect this resistance in a microscopic fraction of a second and cause a fault before a large number of electrons have had the chance to deposit their energy into your body. It’s a way of protecting both you and your family. With the new regulations in place, you can upgrade to the RCDs on your switchboard and get more comprehensive systems.

Worn Out Wiring

Whilst many new homes are popping up on the Central Coast will be built with the new standards in mind, there are still thousands in existence where worn out wiring is an issue in older homes. The sheath that surrounds wires is only designed to last for a limited length of time. Over the years, it can decay, leading to the risk of fire. The problem with worn-out wiring is that you don’t always see it. Often it’s encased behind in the switchboard out of sight, allowing it to degrade without anyone noticing.

Worn out wiring in the switchboard is particularly dangerous because of the sheer concentration of flammable materials. The new regulations help to protect homeowners by putting in place standards for new wiring. You can hire a professional who will swap out the old wiring and replace it with new wires that do not pose a fire hazard.

How The Recent Changes Affect The Smart Home

As technology advances, the type of energy demand in homes is changing. The new rules are specifically designed to cater to electrical switchboard upgrades suitable for these new environments.

Electric cars, for instance, require a large amount of energy to make them work. Many modern homes will soon have electrical car chargers built into the existing circuitry. Upgrading your switchboard under the new rules ensures that your wiring remains safe, even as you place new demands on it.

Upgrading your switchboard should also be part of the backbone of any smart home changes that you make. If you want to install new wiring, for instance for integrated speakers and even powered smoke alarms, it makes sense to upgrade the switchboard so that it complies with the latest regulations.

Keeping your family safe is one of your top priorities. By upgrading your switchboard to comply with AS/NZS 3000 with the help of Impact Electrical, your local Central Coast electrician, you can reduce the risk of shocks and fires, and prepare your home for the future. Combine that with our price promise and lifetime guarantee, you'll know you and your family are in safe hands.

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