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Fuse Box/Switchboard Replacement Cost

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  1. #1
    Apprentice (new member)
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    Default Fuse Box/Switchboard Replacement Cost

    We have bought an old house, probably 50 years if not older. The Fuse Box is old and needs replacing. We have no earthing wires in the house (so my husband tells me).
    He is away for 6 months and I am in the process of getting quotes. As a woman, i feel i will be taken advantage of. Can anyone tell me how much, average, it should cost for an electrician to upgrade a fuse box (and if necessary re-wire the house). It is only a small 3 br 1 bath house.

    Your advice is much appreciated

  2. #2
    Senior Member
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    It probably varies depending on the area, but I think $600-800 for just the fuse box & switchboard replacement, and somewhere averaging $6k for full rewire of the house ( including the fuse box business in that).

    I had a 50-60yo 3 bed + 1 bath fully rewired with extra points put in, new fuse box and the like for $5700. One of the other quotes I got was for $5800 sans fusebox & switchboard, can't remember the others but they all averaged the $6k mark give or take.

    Hope that helps. Just get any quotes in writing, and try and make it seem like you know what you want. :P

    Best of luck.

  3. #3
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    from a sparkie to you.
    I seriously doubt you have no earth wires in your house in a big way, most likely your lights do not but thats it and legal and safe.
    the lights only need an earth when you start changing things but you should get a sparkie to run some around anywhere its needed like any metal fittings.

    As far as your switchboard is concerned.
    Use a larger company not a one man band firstly there prices are set per hour and transparent and competitive, sure they might seem slightly more expensive up front and probably wont be willing to quote the job but this is a good thing heres why.
    *They must compete with all the other larger company's around.
    *They have everything they need in the van they dont need to drive to the wholesaler/snack bar every time they come to pick up "something" ( a pie)
    *They have a reputation to protect.
    *The guy doing the job gets probably no more than 30-35 per hour and is going to make the same that day whether he is at your place or not so unlike a quoted contractor he has an incentive to do a good job because his next job might be in a roof space somewhere not out in the sun.
    *They have much better insurance policys and the regulators pay much closer attention so they have to be transparent.
    *You will definately get certifcates and you can hound the company if they dont do the right thing they cannot turn off there phone because the worker is accountable to a boss.

    That said the prices are often highly inflated to cover the higher overheads so if your trying to save some money it will pay to get someone out to asses the job possibly while there to run the earthing for the lights and write down exactly what breakers you will need including ratings and what type of inclosure you will need.
    take this list to a wholesaler and buy the stuff yourself you can get wholesale prices if you shop around especialy online. All parts should come in under $300 and i sell one braker/rcd for $165 and you need at least two plus loads more stuff.

    Is the board inside the house or out?

  4. #4
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    The Fuse Box is outside.

    I am getting some quotes this afternoon, so i will know how much i am in for.

  5. #5
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    we had our house rewired + new switchboard + meter move + extension done. house is 4BR weatherboard, ~50 years old, cost was around $8500 including all the additions.

    broken down costs, i think the switchboard costs was around $900 (single phase), rewiring was around $4500 and as a result of our renovation effectively changed every wall switch and power outlet which took it up to the final cost.

    much happyness with the result. crawling through a ceiling space with the old vulcanized rubber cables which you knew to be brittle was a hazard to say the least.

  6. #6
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    I have a 90yr old house, I wanted to move the switch box from next to the front door to down the side of the house, for cosmetic reasons plus the wiring was very old. That cost me $2000, which included:

    - New switchboard + equipment + box
    - Box cut into wall
    - All cables rejoined to other side of the house
    - Added 2 new circuits
    - Connected 3 phase

    Just to give you an idea, I had other quotes around $2500.

  7. #7
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    My electrician quoted me $700 for a switchboard replacement and he would have been happy to do it but just recently he suggested it wouldn't be worth it unless I rewired the house. I hadn't realised it would be about $6k but I can see why - it would be such a PITA to do and they'd be there days pulling wires (and potentially losing them?!) and crawling around under and over the house.

    My long term intention will be to extend the house and re-roof so that old and new match so that seems a better time to do it when I have access to the ceiling - may not be lots cheaper but would be an easier job. But in the shorter term I am interested in putting in a solar PV system and I wonder whether that might force a new switchboard?

  8. #8
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    Well, i had 2 electricians tell me 2 different things. So now i am even more confused.
    The first electrician seemed quite interested and keen. He had his apprentice there as well. He told me that the WHOLE box would need to be replaced as it is too high (apparently has to be less that 2m). It is also on chip board which to me doesn't look that bad but he said it would need to be replaced. So he said it may cost up to $1800, but thankfully the house doesn't need rewiring. He also said it would need an inspection.
    The next electrician said $600 to replace, plus $160 if i wanted a certificate. I asked if the box needed to be replaced and he said no. I asked if it was too high and he said no. I asked if it is a requirement by law to have it inspected and he said no, the work they will do will be up to code so i don't need an inspection.

    CONFUSING!!!!!

  9. #9
    Sparkwah
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    Give the second guy a miss, asking extra for a certificate is illegal, he must provide one and it would be in the quote anyway at about $50-75.
    The main switch must be under 2 m
    As the main switch will be upgraded as well you will need an inspection at about $90
    If the consumer mains are old they might need an upgrade depending on load requirements but only when you need it.
    Is the fuse box in the meter box?
    PM me if you want any extra info.
    It's better to be dead and cool than alive and uncool

  10. #10
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    Hi Tahlia,

    Another woman here, dont let the sparky's give you a hard time, ask heaps of questions because they can usually tell if you know what youre talking about or not...

    We had our whole fuse box/meter box re-done including instaling a safety switch and new mains form the house to the street which required a truck from the power company which cost more. Just be aware that for a new meter your power company will prob bill you also (something my sparky never told me)..

    We paid about $1000 for it all... Just get a few quotes and good luck!

  11. #11
    ab1
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    Hi Tahlia,

    I am a licenced electrician. I work for myself.

    Some things to help you out.

    1. The electrician must provide you with a certificate of electrical safety for the works

    2. The switchboard must be inspected by a licenced electrical inspector.

    3. When replacing a switchboard, the main switch can be above 2m. I think the maximum is 2.2m. It's only the installation of new that the 2m rule is applied.

    4. The switchboard can be mounted on chipboard. The concern would be the timber is flamable, however, it is a requirement the switchboard be made fire proof through filling any external holes and incoming conduits with fire rated silicon during installation

    5. Like anything, it's the luck of the draw. You can get a good tradesman and a bad one. That is why recomendations from someone you know is always best. I see many very poor switchboard installations. I saw an installation the other day where a new switchboard had been installed and they had used 8 different brands of circuit breakers on an 11 circuit breaker board!! I would stay away from anyone that offers certificates and inspections as optional. If you contact Energy Safe Victoria, they can set you very straight on that matter.

    6. As a guide, we generall quote from $660 to $990 depending on the amount of circuits for single phase switchboards.

    7. I would not recommend purchasing the materials yourself. If others are like me, they get used to a specific brand and find it slower to do the job. I also find it harder to do a good job on different switchboards and not to mention, we are in the business of making money and you will probably pay the same either way, maybe more.

    Hope this helps and good luck.

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