Modern swimming pools are reasonably energy-efficient, but their pumps, lights and automated cleaners still require a significant amount of power to function, and installing a swimming pool on your property can significantly increase your home's overall energy usage. Unfortunately, many older homes have outdated electrical infrastructure that simply cannot handle this additional power draw.

If you live in an older property and are planning to install a swimming pool, making sure your home's wiring and electrical system will be able to handle the extra demand for power is vital. You should pay particular attention to your home's switchboard because an overloaded switchboard can cause serious and potentially dangerous problems.

What is the purpose of your home's electrical switchboard?

The switchboard is essentially the junction box for your home's electrical wiring system, and all of your home's lights, HVAC systems, outlets and appliances are attached to the switchboard by their own individual circuits. When a power surge or other electrical fault occurs, the switchboard automatically cuts off power to the affected electrical systems to prevent them from being damaged.

Modern switchboards contain individual switches for each circuit, which can be turned on and off manually if you need to cut off power to specific parts of your home. However, many older switchboards contain ceramic fuses instead of actual switches, which cannot be activated and deactivated automatically. 

How can you tell if your switchboard needs to be upgraded to power a swimming pool?

If you live in an older home with an old-style ceramic fuse switchboard, your switchboard must be upgraded whether or not you actually install a pool. These outdated switchboards are no longer legal for use in homes because they provide much less safety than modern switchboards, and the fuses can cause injuries and fires when they burn out. 

If your home has a modern-style switchboard that is more than a decade old, it may also need to be upgraded to accommodate the power requirements of your new pool. Ideally, a switchboard should contain several open spaces without switches because new circuits can be connected to these spaces without the need for extensive upgrades. If your switchboard lacks any open switches, it will probably need to be upgraded.

What should you do if your home's switchboard needs to be upgraded?

Unless you have a visibly dated ceramic fuse switchboard, it can be very difficult to know for sure if your switchboard needs to be upgraded.

If you are installing a swimming pool on an older property, you should always call in a professional electrical installation contractor to test your home system and figure out if your switchboard needs upgrading. Professional electricians can also test the rest of the electrical infrastructure in your home and can replace ageing wiring and damaged underground power lines to ensure your swimming pool receives a reliable power supply.

To learn more about powering a new swimming pool, contact an electrical installation contractor in your area.