Top Tips to Consider when choosing photoelectric smoke alarms

Smoke alarms have come a long way in recent years; the old style detector is now obsolete. Your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast will be able to advise you of the best types of smoke alarms to install around our home to provide you with adequate protection for your family and possessions. The vast majority of tragedies from home fires are because the property, either didn’t have smoke detectors’ or they had been disabled because of flat or missing batteries.

There is no question about smoke alarms, saving lives, but which alarms are best suited to your particular home could be confusing. These are some of the top tips to consider when choosing a photoelectric smoke alarm:

Types of fire or smoke alarms

The main types of smoke alarms in use in Australia are the photoelectric and ionization alarms.

  • Photoelectric alarms

This type of alarms contains a photo cell and also a light beam that shines away from the cell.

These work because when the smoke enters the alarm’s test chamber, the light beam is scattered by the particles of smoke, some of these are then deflected onto the photo cell which triggers the alarm.

These types of alarms are designed to detect slow, smoky or smouldering fires, the most common fires in homes. Their biggest drawback is that insect of dust that enters the test chamber can also set them off, but regular cleaning mostly of sets this problem.

  • Ionization alarms

This type of alarm contains a minute amount of radioactive material; this reacts to particles that are emitted by fires setting off their alarms. These alarms are best for quick fires that produce little smoke, but burn very hot and quickly. The most common household fires are the slow smoldering types that emit a lot of smoke before they erupt into flame. Often ionisation alarms are slow at detecting these types of fires. They are also likely to be activated from steam or cooking fumes, so are generally not used in kitchens, laundries and bathrooms

  • Dual sensor alarms

These types of alarms give you the protection benefits of both types of alarms, but are not usually suitable in high moisture areas such as kitchens, laundries and bathrooms. Your electrician on the Gold Coast can advise you on the placing and the best type to suit your home

Other common types of alarms

  • Carbon monoxide alarms

These alarms are used mainly in homes with gas furnaces or gas central heating systems. They will detect dangerous levels of carbon monoxide a waste product formed from burning gas if your heater develops a fault and does not duct the waste carbon monoxide outside

  • Heat alarms

These were developed to detect excessive heat and are not affected by cooking fumes

 

The best solution for most homes is to use a combination of different alarms to suit your individual needs. Some smoke alarms are wired into your emergency power system, while others use batteries with up to a ten year life. But whichever type you use they all need regular testing Your electrician on The Gold Coast will give you expert advice as well as install the right smoke alarms for you, so your home and family are safe.

Top things to consider while renovating electrical wires

Whenever you are considering making any changes to your building, whether planning an extension or just upgrading the wiring in your home there are a number of things that you need to consider with the first being consulting your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast.

Your Electrician on The Gold Coast will

  • Ensure that any existing wiring is safe and that it can cope with any demands made of it such as extra load or capacity requirements
  • By law in Australia, you must be a fully licensed and qualified electrician to do any type of electrical wiring or installation
  • Many older homes electrical circuitry was not designed for the heavier loads most homes expect from their electrical systems

Your Gold Coast electrician can

  • Upgrade and renovate your existing electrical system
  • Install a new panel and safety switches
  • Run new wiring
  • Check and install ground circuits where required
  • Install new power outlets
  • Wire in any permanently wired appliances such as water heaters. Air conditioners, electric ranges furnaces and water pumps

Power upgrade

Before you start any home renovation or upgrading, consult your local electrician on the Gold Coast.

  • They will help you with sorting out requirements such as safety switches and ground fault circuit breakers to ensure your family and property are all adequately protected
  • Advise you on the correct number and location of new power outlets and calculate the additional load demand your wiring system may need to cope with
  • Advise you on the best types of additional lighting you may require, as well as the size and wattage of bulbs for the most economic coverage

Electrical Safety

There are many electrical fires each year that are directly related to old and unsafe electrical wiring. It’s vital that you have your wiring renovated to address both the functional and aesthetic aspects. Having an inadequate number of electrical outlets not only looks untidy, but has the potential to cause individual circuits to overload

Many older buildings will have wiring that may have connections and insulation that has broken down or been subject to attack by pests such as rodents who like to chew electrical cable to keep their teeth sharp. This can expose the wiring inside wall spaces and ceilings where it can not be seen, but has the potential to cause shorts and fires.

Another problem in many areas is damage from flooding or a leaky roof that has the potential to disrupt connections and the timbers that hold the wiring. Electrical fittings that have been submerged, almost always need to be replaced because of water damage. Your electrician on the Gold Coast will be able to advise you and find the best and latest cost effective replacements.

When you choose your Gold Coast electrician, ensure they will work with any other contractors you have that are making repairs or alterations to your building.

Renovating your electrical system is important if you have an older home, as it was not originally designed to cope with the heavy demands placed on it by the use of all today’s modern electrical appliances. Your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast will be happy to give you a cost-effective quote on renovating your wiring and making sure your home is safe.

Top benefits of having Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters

GFCI or ground fault circuit interrupter switches protect our homes and everyone in it from receiving electrical shocks. They work by being able to compare the very small differences in the input current from the positive or hot side with the output current on the neutral or negative side. Talk with your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast about your individual needs.

If the device detects just a few milliamps of leakage or difference, then it will shut off the power to that device. This can happen in 20 to 30 milliseconds which can save a person from serious electrical damage.

Where should a GFCI device be installed?

A GFIC device should be installed on any circuit here moisture or water is present as this moisture greatly increases the likelihood of an electric shock happening such as:

  • Kitchens or any size
  • Laundries and anywhere there is either a wash tub or clothes or washing machine
  • Utility areas where water may be used
  • Bars and service areas
  • Boathouses and bathing sheds
  • Pools, hot tubs spars and sauna’s
  • Decks and any outdoor areas including covered outdoor areas
  • Workshops, garden sheds, garages and any accessory buildings
  • Basements, crawl spaces and anywhere where water can get to

These are the top benefits of having a GFCI device installed in your home:

  • Shock prevention

The most obvious thing a GFCI device does is prevent electrocution or shocks using its inbuilt sensors. This monitors the electrical flow and instantly shuts down the power supply it a fault is detected preventing an electrical shock.

Fire Protection

A ground fault circuit interrupter does just what its name implies, it detects any electrical flow that leaves a circuit to the ground, a major cause of electrical fires. Your fuse link or circuit breaker will also do this, but having your electrical circuits protected by GFCI devices you will enjoy peace of mind knowing and never having to worry about having an electrical fire in your home.

Prevents Damage to Appliances

Many electrical appliances are used constantly so over time they suffer a reasonable amount of wear and tear. This is not only on the outside, but can extend to the internal wiring where the electrical insulation is prone to breaking down. This can cause a small amount of electricity to leak into the appliance and escape.

If the appliance outer area is made from a non-conductive material such as plastic, you’re unlikely to get a shock as you would if it was made from metal, but this leakage will begin to damage that appliance. One of the main reasons that a computer hard drive can fail is directly related to this issue of electrical current leakage

Having a GFCI device installed on the circuit will mean any electrical leak will be detected immediately and the circuit shutdown so no damage can occur, preventing the loose of any important information stored there.

Your electrician on the Gold Coast is the person you should contact to find out about having GFCI devices installed on your electrical circuits to protect your family, home and all your appliances. They will completely eliminate the worry of electrical shocks and fires in your home.

Benefits of having Knob and tube wiring in your home

If you have an older style home it may have been wired using knob and tube wiring. Talk with your local electrician on the Gold Coast about the condition of the wiring. This is a form of wiring that used porcelain knobs and tubes to insulate the wires around your home.

This form of wiring, although not used anymore in Australia had some benefits to the consumer. Mainly that it was much cheaper to purchase and install than any other types of wiring systems before the 1950’s. The wires were installed under floors, in ceilings and in the lining of walls where they were not accessible or posed a danger of electrocution.

This system worked well for loads of up to 10amps as it kept the wires cool as the heat generated as the current passed through dissipated quickly.

Labour

When used (Pre 1950) labour costs were much lower than the present day and the most expensive part of any job was the materials. Once the labour cost increased to the stage where today it is much more than the normal material costs, as installing knob and tube wiring is very labour intensive it became much less popular and eventually stopped being used.

Porcelain

Porcelain insulators are extremely resilient with a very long lifespan that provides excellent insulation protection. The porcelain knobs help prevent the wires from being over tensioned when they are installed, allowing the wires to remain trouble free for a long time.

Disadvantages of Knob and Tube Wiring

There are only two wires the phase, hot wire or positive and the neutral. In the 1960’s the third wire, a ground wire was introduced for safety. This ground wire protects lives and property from surges and overloaded circuits.

Insulation

The knob and lube system requires that the wires are not covered with any type of material such as insulation or in the case of pests, having nests built or stacked around them so they are not able to cool down adequately in the air.

The natural rubber insulation on the wires over time breaks down and no longer provides adequate protection, allowing to the possibility of electric shocks and short circuits

Increased Power Usage

The power needs of homes and other building has dramatically changed since knob and tube wiring was used. Most of these types of circuits were used for lighting as there were few electrical appliances. A 10 amp knob and tube wiring with a 60amp electrical system is just not able to cope with the demands of a modern home. Ask your friendly electrician on the Gold Coast to check your home and the wiring.

Most homes today require between a 150 to 250 amps service capacity and if your home still has knob and tube wiring it was probably modified improperly and poses a fire of electrical threat.

Your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast can advise you on the best way to ensure your home is safe.

Talk with your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast about your home’s wiring if the house was built before the 1960’s to ensure it’s safe as there are really no benefits to keeping the old knob and tube wiring apart from saving replacement costs

Signs which show your home needs electrical maintainence

Everyone likes to and should always feel safe in their home, with many of the possible dangers that could occur being very obvious as they can be seen, but electricity is invisible and silent. Ensuring your home electrics is well maintained and safe is vital, so call your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast if there is any doubt about your home electrics or if you haven’t had them checked within a few years. Your family and property safety requires regular maintenance of your whole electrical system and in older homes a system update may be necessary to ensure you’re compliant with local and government regulations.

It’s important for everyone’s safety to regularly look for signs of possible electrical problems. The following are signs that show your home needs electrical maintenance from your local electrician on the Gold Coast:

Smells and or Sparks at Power Outlets

If you detect a strange or funny smell in your home like burnt plastic, you need to check all your electrical fittings and outlets including the lights. If any part of the electrical fitting is discoloured or distorted it’s a sign they have over heated and they need to be checked by a qualified electrician on the Gold Coast.

When you turn on some outlets you may see sparks or they might feel warm or hot when you touch them after they have operated for a while. These are sure signs that you need to have them properly checked.

Buzzing Sounds

Apart from the sound of the moving parts like fans or motors in your electrical appliances, your electrical system should be completely silent. Some light switches give a slight click when operated, this is normal unless they start doing this when they get older.

Tingling Sensations

You should never feel any type of tingling sensation from your electric wires switcher or other fittings. Some appliances such as refrigerators and air conditioners give a noticeable vibration when working, but never a tingling sensation if working correctly.

If you feel any sensation from your electrical system have it checked straight away by your local electrician on the Gold Coast.

Flickering Lights

If any of your lights flicker, it’s a sign that that circuit is overloaded or not working correctly. It’s important to check the connections and find the reason for the lights to flicker. Another telltale sign of a problem is if your lights become dimmer, both these signs require that your home electrics are checked properly.

Frequent Flipping Out Circuit Breakers or Safety Switches

Circuit breakers are there to protect your equipment such as appliances and fittings. Safety switches are there preventing the possibility of electrical shock. If either of these flip out you need to discover the reason and rectify the problem, usually it requires the help of your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast who will quickly and cost effectively rectify the problem keeping your family and property safe.

Whenever you notice an unusual smell of burnt plastic, feel any sensation from any electrical outlets or fittings, the light flicker or grow dimmer, it’s time to call your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast to have your  electrical system checked as these are possible signs that your electrical system is dangerous.

Top Reasons why we need Safety switches in homes

Your home is a place you should feel completely safe from the environment and the perils of the world. Having safety switches installed on all your electrical circuitry by your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast is a vital step in protecting your family’s lives. Most homes now have circuit breakers that are designed to protect property and appliances, but don’t help to save lives. They work or are triggered by surges in the power that can be caused by lightning strikes and fluctuations around the electrical grid.

Your safety switches monitor the electrical flow through your home’s circuitry and when it detects a power leak, it’s triggered with a goal of protecting life by preventing electrocution.

By law, you need to have safety switches installed on your primary circuit

All new homes now have a safety switch fitted to their power circuit and circuit breakers on the other circuits. Many people think they are therefore protected as they don’t understand the very real differences between safety switches and circuit breakers. The Queensland government is now advising all property owners to have safety switches installed on all their power circuits to ensure your family is properly protected.

Often electrical sub-circuits such as air conditioners, wired in wall ovens, stoves, pool pumps and lighting, hot water systems, ceiling fans, security cameras and general lighting have no personal anti electric shock protection.

Safety Switches and Circuit Breakers

If you have any doubt about whether your home electrical circuits are adequately protected, talk with your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast. They will quickly advise you and give you a quote on installing the right type of safety switches as all circuits must have both circuit breakers and safety switches as a total line of defense for your family. This will ensure the protection of your family’s lives, equipment and property in your home.

Test your Safety Switches

Home owners can test their safety switches as the safety switches are provided with a test button so you can very quickly test that they are working properly.

Test a safety switch, with your lights and appliances turned on, press the test button and see which circuits are turned off. If there is no change and no circuits are turned off or some of your circuits don’t get turned off when testing, you are not protected, so need to talk with your friendly local Gold Coast electrician and have them check your safety switches and circuits.

If your safety switches keep tripping off, it’s a sign that one or more of your circuits or appliances are malfunctioning or damaged. It’s important that the cause is discovered, so unplug the different appliances and try the circuit again until you discover the cause or have your electrician check it for you. This is for your family’s safety and your peace of mind.

Safety switches should not be confused with circuit breakers, they are both similar as they are to protect from power failures, but safety switches protect lives, while circuit breakers protect equipment and property. Your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast will be able to help and advice you about having the proper safety switches installed on all your circuits.

Top Tips to choose the right wire for your Electrical appliances

With all wiring even on electrical appliances, you need to have your electrician on the Gold Coast make any repairs or changes by law. If you want to take a look yourself to see what may be wrong, then first make sure the appliance is completely disconnected from the mains supply and understand that you must have your local electrician on the Gold Coast check it for you before you plug it back in.

In Australia, there are two separate colour coding systems, one that is used for installation, wiring and one for equipment wiring.

Equipment wiring includes power cords and extension cords

The colour codes for equipment wiring are:

The new code for Single Phase

Active – Brown                which used to be called positive and was Red

Neutral –light Blue         which used to be called negative and was Black

Earth –Green/yellow……which used to be called ground or earth Green

The new code for Multiphase

Phase no. 1 – Brown.        This used to be coloured Red

Phase no. 2 – Black.          This used to be coloured White

Phase no 3 – Grey.            This used to be coloured Dark Blue

Neutral – Light Blue.        This used to be coloured Black

Earth – Green/Yellow.      This used to be coloured Green

Having the right size or amp rated wire

Whenever a repair extension or alteration is made to any electrical circuitry and that includes the circuits in any appliance, your electrician on the Gold Coast will tell you that the wires must be of a size and amp bearing capacity or greater to enable them to be able to cope with any load placed on them. They also have to match and be properly sized with the amperage rating of the circuit breaker that controls the circuit they will be connected to.

The outer coating of all electrical wire is labeled with a colour code as well as the types and gauges of the wire. This makes it easy to tell the different wires and where to use them

Knowing which type of wire should be used in any given situation, is equally important as knowing the correct gauge, amperage capacity and the maximum load of wattage of the wire you choose to use.

The following is a guide to electrical wire and some of their applications

18 gauge       10 Amps used for lamp cords and low voltage lighting

16 gauge       13 Amps for light extension cords

14 gauge       15 Amps for lamps, light fixtures and lighting circuits

12 gauge       20 Amps receptacles, kitchen appliances, fans and sump pumps

10 gauge       30 Amps for air conditioners, clothes dryers, built in ovens small water heaters

8 gauge         45 Amps for cooktops and electric ranges

6 gauge          60 Amps for large heaters and air conditioners

4 gauge          80 Amps for large electric heaters, furnaces and Sub panels

2 gauge         100 Amps for Service and Sub Panels

1/0 gauge      150 Amps for Service Entrance

2/0 gauge      200 Amps got Service Entrance

 

Whenever there are any electrical repairs to be carried out, by law, apart from changing a light bulb or fuse wire, it must be done by a registered and qualified electrician on the Gold Coast. You can only look at the wiring on your own appliances.

5 Tips to choose the right circuit breakers for your home

A home electrical system is fitted with safety features such as circuit breakers, switching devices that are either automatically or manually controlled to protect your power system. If you do not have an electrical circuit breaker you are open to a high risk of electrical shocks, electrocution and electrical fires. Ask your local electrician on The Gold Coast to check your home electrical system to ensure it’s safe.

These five tips will help you chose the right circuit breakers for your home

  1. Main circuit breaker panel

Your electricity supply comes from your utility company and is fed through a meter to determine the amount of power you use and work out your power bill. It then goes to your breaker panel. Your electrician on the Gold Coast will help you chose the right size breaker panel to suit your home and the number of circuits you require.

  1. Choosing the number of breaker switches required

You will need a breaker switch for every circuit of wiring around your home. Normally the different circuits are divided into areas and usage. There would be at least one internal lighting circuit and one external circuit.

The water heater is usually on an individual circuit, as are heavy use appliances such as air, conditioners, home furnaces, swimming pools, pumps and saunas.

Often there is a circuit for the kitchen, a separate circuit for bedrooms, another for the home office and one in the laundry. Garage and out building either have a separate breaker switch or their own breaker board depending on the circuits required in each area.

  1. Deciding on the amperage capacity of each circuit breaker

Most circuit breaker panels used in homes are rated to take 100 to 150 amps.

The individual breaker switches are rated for the maximum amount of amperage they will be expected to handle at one time. Consult your electrician on The Gold Coast to determine the ratings required for each circuit or check each appliance. They will have a panel that gives their capacity and amp usage. It’s important to understand that often when some appliances start, they required much more power than when running. For example fridges, freezers, appliances with motors and even florescent lights use more power when starting to give an initial boost

  1. Consider the types of breaker switches required

Single pole circuit breakers are normally used for lighting with ratings of between 10 to 20 amps. Double pole circuit breakers are used for water heaters and heavy duty appliances.

  1. Efficiency

Circuit breakers are normally operated at a maximum of up to 80% of their stated capacity. When calculating the size and capacity of your system, add up all the maximum loadings of every appliance you use in your home to find the right breaker board to use. Then add up all the fittings and appliances you expect to use in each circuit, giving a 20% safety margin to find the right sized breaker switch for each circuit.

Your electrician on The Gold Coast is specially trained to be able to quickly access your current wiring circuitry and will be able to advise you on your safety requirements. The main consideration is to ensure you have the right circuit breakers.

How Smoke Alarms can prevent your home from a massive fire

Home fires can be devastating and can happen quickly without warning. Often fires break out when the inhabitants are sleeping and often it’s too late to put them out, but with a properly installed smoke alarm from you electrician in Tweed Heads installed in all critical areas, you can protect yourself and family from massive fires.

Always insist on Quality Fire Alarms

Smoke alarms and detectors are an essential investment in every home, The difference in a cheap bargain priced smoke alarm and a high quality one installed by your local electrician in Tweed Heads is a very small price to pay to help guarantee your family’s safety.

Smoke alarms come with their own batteries or can be connected to your power supply and backup emergency system in case of a power failure

The Three Common Types of Smoke Alarm

The most common types of smoke detectors are:

  1. An Ionization Alarm

These are designed to detect big open flames

  1. Photoelectric Smoke Alarm

These are designed to detect smoke or a smoldering fire before the large flames start

  1. Dual Sensor Alarm

These are a combination of both an ionization alarm and a photoelectric alarm and will detect all types of fires.

It’s vital to have both types of alarms or dual sensor alarms placed in multiple and strategic sites around your home.

Installing Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms must be placed in central areas as having an alarm at one end of your home may not detect a fire or smoke until it’s too late. As smoke and heat rise rapidly they are normally placed on the ceiling or high up on walls

Don’t Have a Fire Alarm placed

  • Near a window
  • Above a stove or near a fireplace
  • On the ceiling beside a wall or on a wall beside the ceiling, place them in central positions
  • Above doorways or large windows
  • Near heating ducts or ventilation shafts

Your local electrician in Tweed Heads is experienced and qualified to install fire alarms and smoke detectors in the correct locations.

Maintaining Smoke Alarms

Smoke alarms need to be tested regularly; it’s advisable to do it monthly. A good idea is to make a point of checking them every time you pay your power bill

It’s also important to keep them clean and dust free. A vacuum cleaner is ideal for ensuring that the air inside your home can flow around the device so you get an early warning of any fire to avoid a massive fire.

Although most homes now have smoke detectors or fire alarms, it has been found that over half of these devices do not work because of missing or flat batteries. Another problem is having them installed in inappropriate places.

When smoke alarms are not working, they can’t save lives so for a little price, you can have peace of mind and a safety net for your family.

If your home is not protected by having the appropriate fire/smoke alarm systems installed contact your local electrician in Tweed Heads he can expertly and quickly install a very effective system to protect your home from a massive fire if a fire starts. This is because you have time to act and put it out.

How Malfunctioning Electrical Appliances Can Affect Your Home Electricity

The age of the appliance is upon us, unfortunately, sometimes they wear out or start to show signs of disrepair. Most people consider that when this happens the problems are confined to that particular malfunctioning appliance, but this is not necessarily correct, in fact, the faulty appliance can in some instances cause power surges through your home’s electrical system affecting other circuits and other appliances. If you have a faulty appliance, unplug it and have it checked by or repaired by your local electrician on the Gold Coast or replace it before it causes any damage.

So What Can Happen

Installed in your fuse box or power board are circuit breakers for each wiring circuit that runs around your home. When an appliance malfunctions, often it will fizzle and send a burst of electricity around your electrical circuit. This will cause the circuit breaker to trip out and close the circuit. Often this is the first indication you have that an appliance is malfunctioning.

When a circuit breaker trips out it is important to discover the reason, it may be that too many appliances are operating at once on that circuit or that one of them has malfunctioned.

You should not just reset the circuit breaker and carry on as this can create further opportunities for electrical damage to your electrical system

Potential Problems

There are three main issues that can happen if you ignore the warning of a circuit breaker tripping out or have a malfunctioning appliance, physical damage, surge damage and a fire hazard.

Physical Damage

Most people use a surge protector with their computer equipment and TV or even have a complete home surge protection system installed to protect all the microprocessors now found in most appliances. But these are designed to protect from external power surges such as lightning strikes and the effects of power outages and the returning surge that can be created.

These large surges can heat up electrical components and cause them to deform or melt as well as give of a burnt smell especially delicate connections in light fittings and outlets.

Surge Damage

A faulty appliance causes an internal surge as can a refrigerator or air conditioner that normally uses extra energy while initially turning on and at the start of each cycle. These surges happen often through a household electrical system which is one reason that you have different circuits around the home. These small surges happen regularly every day, but faulty appliances can create larger damaging surges that affect your microprocessor based electronics and reduce their working life or they can cause permanent damage instantly.

If this happens, call your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast to make repairs and find the cause.

Fire Damage

In some instances when an appliance malfunctions, it can cause sparks or get so hot it causes a fire. Often this is very small, but it can quickly spread to ignite insulation or any combustible material around such as curtains, wallpaper and dry timber framing.

Your best defense against faulty appliances is replacing your old inexpensive ones regularly and having your more expensive items checked periodically by your local electrician on the Gold Coast, use working smoke detectors and have accessible fire extinguishers available.