If you’ve ever seen a switchboard that just looks super messy, you’re not alone. There’s even a name among the electrical industry for it: switchboard spaghetti.
Switchboard spaghetti (or a spaghetti junction) refers to electrical cables, wires and leads being arranged messily in an electrical switchboard powering a property. More rarely, it can refer to using a powerboard to plug in multiple appliances, or any other cases of far too many messy wires and cords.
Electricians hate switchboard spaghetti because it usually indicates that an untrained or slack tradesperson completed the job, rushed the work and took no pride or care.
This is an example of switchboard spaghetti:
Sure, there are times where a huge mix of cords and cables can’t be avoided, but where possible, electrical wiring best practices should be followed and cables connected and clipped neatly. This is not only neater, but it makes any future fixes or additions easier.
Not only is a mess of cords and cables unappealing to the eye, but it can also be dangerous.
Any major issues can put the property at increased risk of wires overheating, short circuits and even fire.
Some of the other risks include:
- Electricity is dangerous, even when a trained electrician is working with it. A mix of wires is more likely to end in a workplace accident if there are any issues with connections or age.
- If cables are frayed or broken it’s more difficult to identify possibly breakages or parts that aren’t correctly connected.
- If electrical cables are mixed up and placed incorrectly, it’s also possible that incorrect conduit is being used.
- Poorly placed electrical cables may force the door of the switchboard open, allowing insects and vermin to enter and further damage the switchboard.
- Exposed cabling in the weather will also increase the risk of rapid deterioration near the switchboard, which is also a problem.
- Often a switchboard in this state will lead to unsealed cable entries periodically, inviting vermin into the switchboard.
Here’s an example of a neat and well wired switchboard:
If you’ve got a case of switchboard spaghetti and have concerns that it may be a safety hazard, make sure you contact a qualified electrician to do a safety check and fix any issues.
Peter is a Licensed Electrician and the Director of Proven Energy, a Clean Energy Council Approved Solar Retailer. After working in the industry, Peter’s interest in renewable energy lead him to found the company in 2012, offering honest and reliable solar system supply and installation for residential, commercial, off-grid and agricultural properties. Peter is a CEC Accredited Installer. Electrical Contractors Lic No. 74650