Precautions you should take while using Electric Blankets

Even in the semi tropics on the Gold Coast it can get very cold at night, especially when the wind blows up from the Deep South and across the interior. This is when winter accessories like electric blankets come out. Here are some tips on their safe use from your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast:

Over the years electric blankets have greatly improved and now you can get an electric under blanket or an electric over blanket, but as they both use electricity there are some concerns. As long as you observe a few basic safety rules you can safely enjoy a heated bed.

  • Only use an over electric blanket on top, never sleep on this type of electric blanket as they are threaded with electric coils that could be damaged
  • Only use an electric under blanket under you, they are designed to be flat against the mattress and usually come with straps to keep them in place, they should not be folded or wrapped around the body as they could be damaged
  • Make sure that there are no heavy objects on your electric blanket when it’s in use as this can cause a heat buildup in that area
  • Use your electric blanket to warm your bed and then when you enter the bed turn it off
  • Check your electric blanket to be sure it has an auto turn-off feature in case it overheats
  • Never place the electric cord of your electric blanket between your mattress and the base of the bed or box spring as the cord could heat up and become a fire hazard
  • It’s nice to have a warm place for pets to sleep, but get them a special pet electric blanket as they could easily bite or scratch a hole in yours, damaging it and its internal wiring stopping it from working properly or becoming a fire hazard

Cleaning Your Electric Blanket

It is very important to follow the manufacture’s instruction when washing an electric blanket. Some types are washable and some are not. Never try and wash an electric blanket unless you’re sure it is the washable kind. If you have any doubt, talk with your friendly local electrician on the Gold Coast about it.

Most under electric blankets are protected by an over sheet which is similar to as mattress protector so should never get dirty

If you have an over electric blanket that is not washable it should be inside a special cover to keep it clean and then you can wash the cover as required

Some additional safety tips

  • Never use more than one electric heating products at one time as the increased heat could lead to overheating of your core body temperature
  • Don’t allow the cords to become wrapped around the controls to avoid damage
  • If you notice anything different or unusual in the operation of your blanket or any smells turn it off and have it inspected

An electric blanket is a great thing to have on a cold night, but like all electrics it needs to be cared for. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, storing and using it and never lie on an over-the-top-type blanket or place an under electric blanket on top of you for your safety.

5 tips to protect your home from power failures

Power outages are very common all around Queensland, so it’s important that you protect your home and all your electrical equipment when they occur. Your friendly local electrician in Tweed Heads can advise you on the right type of surge protectors for your particular application and needs as well as installing them in your home, at a very reasonable cost.

Backup generators and solar power generating systems are great for when you have a blackout. These can take over instantly if they have been set up properly. Having surge protectors can help eliminate any possible danger from fire hazards as a result of power surges causing equipment to overheat or burn out.

Power outages can be caused by natural disasters such as storms, cyclones, earthquakes and bush fires. They are also often the result of an unusual high demand during heat waves or severe cold snaps and well as when there are scheduled, power line maintenance activities.

For these reasons it’s impossible to know when you’re going to be affected by blackouts or for how long. These five tips will ensure you’re properly prepared:

  1. Be Prepared

It pays to always be prepared for power failures and to ensure your property is adequately protected from the possible consequences of a power outage. Having a sound backup plan to help you and your family cope is advisable.

  1. Protect Your Electronics

Ask your local electrician in Tweed Heads to supply and fit the correct type and number of surge protectors to protect all your electronic gear. This includes refrigerators, freezers, washing machines, electric ranges, TV’s, sound systems, computer equipment and air conditioners, in fact, everything electrical as well as your security system.

Some people even like to have an isolation switch installed that shuts down all their electrical equipment in the event of a blackout or for when leaving their home unattended for any length of time

  1. Backup Systems

You can ask your local electrician in Tweed Heads to install a backup power system for you that automatically kicks in if required and turns off the mains circuitry so there is no risk of power surge when the power resumes.

These systems can use generators or batteries that have the advantage of being silent and the option of being solar charged

  1. Keep Your Home Secured

Whether you use alarms, CCTV cameras or other security devices, it’s important that they are able to operate independently from the mains power source, because when there is a blackout all power is lost. This means that if your security system does not have an alternative power source it will shut down completely. So you need to have a backup plan

  1. Avoid Candles and Naked flame During Blackouts

Candles and naked flames cause many home fires during blackouts, so to reduce the risk of fire use battery powered torches and flashlights. You can also have wired in emergency lighting that comes on automatically in the event of a blackout

How to choose the best local electrician on the Gold Coast?

When you need an electrician on the Gold Coast it’s important that you find the best local properly qualified and licensed electrician to do your electrical work.

The following ideas will help you locate the best local electrician on the Gold Coast:

  • You need an electrician

To do any electrical repairs apart from changing a standard light bulb or operating electrical appliances you need an electrician. Any alterations, adjustments or repairs can only by law be done by a professional electrician.

Even if the job seems to be  simple and you feel you are capable of doing it, by doing so you become liable for any injuries or damage that results from doing so and any insurance claim you make is likely to be rejected. You are also likely to be charged with a criminal offense which can carry a large fine or a custodial sentence.

  • Qualifications to Look for in an Electrician
  1. An electrician must have completed their 4 year apprenticeship and had 12 months on-site experience and hold an electrician’s licence
  2. They must be a registered electrical contractor
  3. All electricians must issue electrical compliance certificates that show the work was done following the states and Australian Standards regulations
  • Finding the best Electrician on The Gold Coast

Start by looking up local customer testimonials and reviews. In the same way as many people now check the internet to find a great restaurant looking for the best electrician should start with customer reviews. Be wary of any electrician who don’t list themselves on review websites or have poor reviews, they may be cheaper, but the reviews are a good indication of the service you can expect.

Try Facebook and other social media sites band ask your social community for quality recommendations.

Finding the Best Trustworthy Electrician

  • Ask Friends, Family and Co-workers

It’s very likely that some of your friends, family members or co-workers have had a good experience with one or more of the local electricians and are happy to make a positive recommendation. It’s also possible that you will find out about those electricians who are best avoided.

  • Ask Trusted Contractors

If you know any contractors, local trades people or supply companies, they usually will be able to suggest some quality electricians you can approach.

  • Online

A local online search will locate all the electricians in your area, expect the best ones to be popular so have a waiting list.

Carefully check their online reviews to get an idea of their skill level and business ethics.

  • Get Quotes

Always ask for a quote and before you make your final decision check the prices they require, it’s not a good sign if the price is very cheap and on the other hand a very high price does not guarantee a quality job.

  • Check Licences

A good, trustworthy electrician on the Gold Coast will offer their licence to show they are genuine and supply a certificate of safety, if they are reluctant then look elsewhere.

Finding the best local electrician on the Gold Coast comes down to asking locals which electricians are fully qualified and have consistently provided the best standard of work. But expect they will be busy and you’ll need to wait.

How to protect home from electrical hazards?

Summer time is often when your home uses more electricity to compensate for the hotter weather. With air conditioners and fans working to full capacity and refrigerators and freezers working overtime to produce enough cool refreshments, many homes are in danger of overloading their electrical system creating a potential fire hazard.

Your local electrician in Gold Coast can quickly access your home wiring circuits and advise you if there are any potential safety issues. It’s far better to have your property checked so you know your family and property is safer than just hoping and then being sorry later.

It’s Important that you understand that under Australian law home owners or handymen are not allowed to do any type of wiring or electrical repairs and must have all electrical work done by a licensed and qualified Electrician.

The following safety tips are things you can do to keep you safe and your home hazard free:

  • Check all your power outlets regularly for loose plugs, as these are able to cause fires if they overheat when the current jumps any gap causing a spark or electric shock
  • Check out your fuse box or power board so you know where it is in the event of a power failure at night. Keep some spare fuse wire or a flashlight handy so you can reset any tripped safety switches if required
  • It’s a good practice to ensure all unused power outlets have safety covers, especially if you have pets or young children
  • Don’t overload power points with too many plugs
  • Extension cords should only be a temporary measure, not a permanent fixture
  • Regularly check your appliances cords and plugs for damage
  • Don’t place appliance cords or extension cords under mats or carpets, staple or pin them to the walls or ceilings
  • Check that extension cords match the wattage of the appliance or fixture you’re plugging it into
  • If you use Edison screw bulbs ensure they are screwed in tightly so they don’t overheat in the sockets
  • Have light circuits checked if you have flickering lights or the lights start to dim at any time
  • Any circuit or appliance that keeps blowing fuses needs to be checked by your local electrician in Gold Coast
  • Have any appliances that heats up, gives off strange smells or a tingling sensation checked before using
  • Ensure all your power outlets are three pronged, if you’re in an older home, ask your friendly electrician in Gold Coast to check the outlets as it was quite common for the old two pin plugs to be changed to three pin without the earth wire being connected correctly
  • Don’t have home sound systems, TV’s and Computers all plugged into power strips as a power surge could wipe them all out or a short could cause a fire. Talk with your friendly electrician in Gold Coast about correctly and safely wiring all your systems
  • Smoke detectors should be installed to prevent fires and carbon monoxide detectors should be installed to protect lives

During the hot summer months, it’s tempting to add a few more cooling devices, but be sure not to overload your circuits. Talk with your friendly local electrician in Gold Coast about checking your whole system and adding a few more power outlets

Tips to Consider while choosing extension cords

Extension cords are very handy when the appliance’s cord you’re using will not reach the nearest power outlet. But it’s important that you chose an extension cord that properly matches the appliance you’re using. If you are not sure, ask your friendly electrician on the Gold Coast to advise you on the correct size you’ll need. By choosing the correct type of extension cord, it helps to prevent fires and to ensure electrical safety for everyone.

These things should be considered while choosing the right extension cord for your appliance;

Length of the Extension Cord

An extension cord can deliver power over long distances, but it’s always best to use a cord of the right length as the longer the extension cord the greater the power drop.

  • Because the electrical efficiency is reduced with every meter of extension cord, it can affect the performance of appliances and possibly their safety
  • It also saves energy using a short extension as opposed to a long cord

Extension Cord Gauge or Thickness

All appliances and electrical devices have their amperage ratings written on them. These can usually be found plate permanently attached to the device or appliance, so you can check you have matched the correct extension cord to your device.

All extension cords are categorized by gauge or their thickness, the lower the number, the higher the higher their amperage ratings are, so an extension cable with a low gauge number is rated for heavy duty.

This table will give you an idea of which gauge extension cord to use

  • A 16 gauge cord is meant for light duty such as low wattage lights, portable fans, radios
  • A 14 gauge cord is meant for medium duty applications such as power drills, electric lawn mowers, electric hedge cutters, table saws and other medium wattage appliances
  • A 10 to 12 gauge cord is meant for all heavy duty and extra heavy duty applications such as portable air conditioners, air compressors, shop vacuum cleaners

A light duty appliance can be used with a heavy duty extension cord, but you should not use a heavy duty device with a light duty cord.

Indoor or Outdoor Use

Some extension cords are rated for outdoor use and are made to withstand the elements such as rain sunshine and freezing conditions. This will be clearly marked on the packaging the cord comes in.

High end extension cords

High end or higher quality extension cords can come with handy features such as power flow indicator lights and ground fault circuit interrupters. These are designed to help prevent electric shocks. They can also come with connection boxed that prevent accidental unplugging

Safety

Follow these basic safety tips:

  • Have you extension leads checked regularly by an electrician on the Gold Coast
  • Don’t connect extension cords together, get the right sized extension cord
  • Always check the cord before using and never gather or roll up a plugged in, extension cord
  • Be aware of where you’re in use, extension cords are
  • Don’t place extension cords under mats, rugs or carpets
  • Don’t overload extension cords

 

Always consult your friendly electrician on the Gold Coast if you have any concerns about any aspects of your home or electrical system, including the types and sizes of extension cords to use.

5 signs your switch board is wearing out

Many people live in older homes that although are very sound and comfortable usually still have the original wiring and switch board. These homes were designed with a wiring system that matched the average usage of the day, but now with people using so many more gadgets the old wiring systems and switch board are often overloaded and wearing out. Ask your friendly local electrician in Palm Beach to check your wiring and switch board if you notice any of these signs:

  1. Flickering Lights and Poor Appliance Performance

Flickering lights or if your lights seem to dim on and off, it’s a sure sign your switch board and wiring needs to be checked. If you notice that your oven never seems to heat up properly or your dries just shuts down in the middle of a cycle, it’s more likely to be the switch board than the appliance it’s self

  1. Damage to Appliances and lights

When your switch board starts to wear out and circuit breakers don’t properly control the current, light bulbs seem to always be blowing out and your microwave is hardly working properly, it’s really way past time to have your local electrician in Palm Beach check your electrical system.

This can cause overheating which is not only a fire hazard, but can cause irreparable damage to electronic circuit boards in your appliances especially computers, TV’s and amplifiers as well as damaging coils and elements

  1. Potential for Smoke, Fire and Water Damage

A faulty wiring system starts at the switch board, when your circuits are overloaded because the’re faulty and too much current is drawn through a power cord or a length of wiring, it can heat it enough to cause a fire.

When you have a fire, it usually results in smoke damage and damage from the water used to put the fire out.

If you smell a burning smell coming from and power outlets, appliances or your switch board it means that the wires have overheated and the insulation material has failed and will no longer protect your home or anyone who comes into contact with them.

Turn off your mains switch and call your electrician in Palm Beach for an emergency checkup

  1. Breakers Trip Frequently

If you have circuit breakers that keep tripping out, it’s probably because they are worn out. Your switch board and circuit breakers are designed to protect the whole of your electrical system and home.

Usually when a breaker frequently trips when you plug in an appliance then the breaker and switch board need to be examined by an electrician, so they can determine the exact cause and find a solution

  1. Old Age

If your switch board has not been serviced for ten years or more it is due for servicing and modernizing.

Having your switch board inspected is a wise investment in safety

When you find that your lights often dim and appliances do not run as well as they should, or you smell a burning odour, Its’s time to call in your friendly local electrician in Palm Beach. This will help to prolong the life of your appliances as they will not get overloaded and prevent safety and fire issues from developing.

Signs which show your home wiring needs an upgrade

We all rely on our homes wiring every day, but give little thought to the condition it’s in, as most of the wires are concealed in the walls, ceiling or under floors. It’s only when a problem develops that we think to call an electrician, but often that can be too late as wiring and electrical malfunctions are the main cause of house fires, loss of property and life. Your local electricians in Reedy Creek can check your home, give you peace of mind as they catch any problems early to prevent any electrical issues developing.

These signs show that your home may need an electrical upgrade:

Using extension cords or strip connectors

If your home is a few years old its wiring was probably not designed for the huge number of appliances most homes use today. This means you may have to use strip connectors or extension cords to accommodate your needs. This can cause problems such as:

  • Overloaded circuits
  • Tripping hazard with extension wires on the floor
  • Extension cords can become frayed, pinched or bent causing a short, tripped circuit breakers, damaged outlets
  • An increased fire risk
  • Constantly blown fuses

Having one of the friendly electricians in Reedy Creek install new circuits and adequate power outlets can reduce your risks of break downs and eliminate fire risks.

Strange smells

Often when you first use an appliance it will briefly give off a strange smell as it settles down, this is normal, but should stop very quickly. If you ever have smells coming from outlets, fuse box or breaker panels, this is a sure sign that you need your wiring checked, so call your friendly electricians in Reedy Creek for a wiring checkup without delay.

Lights Flickering

Most light bulbs use a low level of power so flickering light is usually a sign that there are too many appliances drawing current from that circuit or you have an electrical issue. It can also be because the wattage is too high for the circuit.

Sparks or Buzzing

When you have sparks or buzzing sounds coming from outlets, appliances or control panels it’s not normal and you should have your whole system checked.

When electricity moves through your electrical system, it should be totally invisible and silent.

Sparks and buzzing indicate loose connections as the current needs to jump gaps causing the spark or sounds.

Hot fittings, wires or outlets

Some appliances will get warm to the touch or even hot such as toasters, hair dryers and anything that’s designed to produce heat or has moving parts like electric fans or drills. But this should only be felt from the body of the appliance never on the cords or switches. If you find these parts are heated then do not use them and call your local electricians in Reedy Creek.

If you feel there is a problem with the wiring in your home or you have any of the above issues such as the need to use lots of extension cords, flickering lights, unusual smells from any electrical fitting or appliances, hot connectors or outlets it is very important for your family’s safety to contact your friendly electricians in Reedy Creek and have your wiring inspected and upgraded.

How damaged appliances can cause electrical damage?

Modern lifestyles require a range of appliances, so we must expect that they will eventually need to be repaired or replaced. Most people consider the only problem when damaged or faulty is with the appliance, but unfortunately, a faulty appliance can cause a range of problems around the home. If you have any doubts about any of your appliances talk with your local electrician in Elanora. They will advise you on whether they can be repaired or need to be replaced. These are some of the problems, faulty appliances can cause:

  • Surge Damage

When a damaged electrical appliance fizzle’s or shorts out, it sends a large amount of electricity through your electrical system, causing your circuit breaker to trip, breaking the circuit. This safety mechanism is there to protect you from electrical shock and your property from a possible fire hazard.

It’s very important once tripped, not to reset the circuit breaker until you have discovered the problem and unplugged or disconnected the faulty unit from the circuit.

Many electrical devices such as computers have sensitive microprocessors that are easily damaged from power surges. Refrigerators, air conditioning units, electric ranges and other devices with automatic temperature controls use a lot of current when in use, as they turn off and on they can cause minor power surges in circuits.

Any malfunctioning appliances on the same circuit can intensify these surges resulting in permanent damage, sometimes instantly or gradually over time reducing their working life.

Physical Damage

It only takes a fraction of a second for an overload or power surge to damage power outlets, switches and connections making them defective and potentially dangerous. For your safety, it’s important to call your local electrician in Elanora to have your whole system checked in the event of an appliance malfunction.

Fire Damage

Damaged appliances can cause electrical shorts that heat up rapidly posing a fire hazard. They can start as very small sparks or miniature fires on dust or any inflammable material on an instant and grow rapidly into a life or property threatening situation.

Power surges can cause wires to heat up because they are unable to cope with the extra load placed on them. This heating can destroy the insulation cover and set it on fire

Signs of a Broken Appliance

  • When your circuit breakers trip out, it’s often because an appliance is damaged or near the end of its working life
  • If witches stop working it often means they have been damaged by a power surge from a damaged appliance
  • Any sign or smell of smoke indicated a faulty appliance
  • Heating up of appliances, cords or switches indicates the appliance is damaged and should not be used
  • Any new noise or change in the usual noises an appliance makes shows it’s developing a fault
  • Any change in the appliance’s performance level indicates it’s no longer working properly and needs to be serviced or replaced
  • Lights, screens, switches or buttons that no longer work suggests that an appliance needs to be serviced or replaced

Electrical appliances have a limited service life and so it’s important to check them if you suspect they may be damaged to talk with your local electrician in Elanora, especially if your circuit breakers or surge protectors trip out.

5 Reasons why sparking outlets are dangerous

The electrical current running through your home is the most dangerous thing most people can encounter. It’s invisible and under normal circumstances safe. If you have any doubts about the safety of your electrical system in your home, contact your local friendly electrician in Palm Beach for help or advice.

  1. Harmless sparks

Most people see from time to time a brief spark when plugging in or removing an electrical connection, especially if the switch is no. Under normal circumstances, this is normal and not a problem, but it can be a signal of a potential problem that could become dangerous or a fire hazard.

Knowing how your electrical system works will help you understand why an electrical system sparks.

Electricity moves along the circuits in your home, it’s very fast and “hot”, it comes in and goes out without interruption. When you turn on a switch or plug in an appliance, this causes some of the electricity to be diverted to that new circuit in a rapid draw, sometimes causing a small spark. This is because there is a split second when the connections are almost but not touching and the current stretches across the gap, producing the spark you see.

This action is very normal and poses no threat.

  1. Short circuit

Sometimes, especially if the appliance is drawing more current than the circuits can handle, a situation that is quite common in older homes with older wiring. Heat can build up and melt the plastic insulation that covers wires or connections causing a short and potential fire hazard.

When the electrical connection is made a hot spark can be produced.

  1. Water exposure

If your electrical system or any connections become wet they have the potential to spark and short out

  1. Old or worn out

Over time and with use outlets and electrical connection can become worn or brittle, allowing them to short out causing a spark.

  1. Negligent repairs

It’s illegal for anyone apart from a licensed electrician to do any repairs in Australia. This is because of the danger of poor repairs that can cause sparks or worse

The difference between sparks

A small blue spark is normal and poses no real threat

  • A spark that comes with a smell is a concern and can indicate a serious issue, so it’s best to turn it off and if possible close the circuit and call an electrician
  • White and yellow sparks are also a concern and the circuit needs to be turned off
  • Big sparks or sparks that leaf from connections or outlets they are a real danger and you need to call your local electrician in Palm Beach straight away
  • Long sparks that fizzle or lingers also a sign of potential danger and it is important to call your electrician in Palm Beach and have your wiring checked to prevent a possible fire or an electrocution

Whenever you have an issue with your electricity in the home or business, it’s important to check with your electrician, small blue sparks that are often only visible at night, are not dangerous, but any other type of spark is an indication of possible danger to life or property and needs to be investigated by a qualified electrician.

Top 5 Appliances Which Are Electricity Hogging

We now live with a huge array of electrical appliances in our homes, each one using lots of power each day, your local electrician in Reedy Creek can suggest many ways to reduce your electric usage, saving a substantial amount of money.

The electrical energy unit is called a watt. 1,000 watts equals one kilowatt-hour or 1-kWh, this is equal to 1,000 watts being used for one whole hour.

Home appliances are power hungry, think about how much power you would save if you had a power efficient home. Appliances that produce heat are often the most expensive to run.

Small appliances such as hair dryers, curling irons, toasters, coffee makers, vacuum cleaners use more watts than the average refrigerator, but because they are on for only a short time they use less power on a monthly basis than appliances that are always on, such as water heaters, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners.

The efficiency rating of many appliances has dramatically increased over recent years. In the 80’s a home refrigerator used between 120 to 350 kWh each month. The latest models today use 20 to 65kWh per month, but they’re still one of the biggest energy users in the home.

Probably the biggest user of electricity is a home heater, fortunately in the Gold Coast these are not normally needed as a portable heater uses 200 to 300 kWh a month and a home electric furnace can use 1.500 to 4,000kWh each month

Some other energy hogs are:

It really depends on the settings you use, which is why there is a range difference, but these are the 5 biggest users of energy in the average home

  • Air conditioners are high on the list

An average window unit uses 200 to 650 kWh per month

An average central air conditioning unit uses 300 to 1,500 kWh per month

A heat pump type of duel heater/ cooler split system air conditioner 600 to 4,500 kWh per month

  • Home Water Heaters

A four person home uses between 400 to 1,200 kWh per month depending on your thermostat settings and if you use hot water for washing clothes and dishwashers

  • Refrigerators

There is a huge range of refrigerators in homes, the older styles from the eighties use thousands of kWh and the latest high tech models can use as little as 400 kWh per year, so if you’ve an old model even if it works well, by trading if for a new model it can save you enough to pay for itself quickly. The average household refrigerator uses 30 to 200 kWh per month.

  • Humidifiers

These are not very common on the Gold Coast unless you live in a very humid area and need one for health reasons as water vapor in the air can cause mould and dust mites. They use 60 to 1,000 kWh per month, often more than a refrigerator.

  • Oven and Electric Stoves

These use around 2,400 watts per hour, so if you use them for one hour a day each month the total would be 72 kWh per month.

Your friendly electrician in Reedy Creek is happy to advise and help you reduce your energy bill by installing the most energy efficient system in your home saving you money each month.