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.

How to fix light flickering & dimming in the house?

When your lights flickering or go dim, there are a few things you can do yourself to try and address the problem, but it’s important to know that under the law in Australia you are not allowed to do any repairs or electrical work so once you have tried the things you are allowed to do, then it’s time to call your friendly electrician in Palm Beach to have your wiring checked.

What can cause lights to flicker?

Generally, flickering light is caused by a fluctuation or drop in the voltage in a circuit. When you understand some of the most common specific causes, it gives you an idea of the best methods to solve the problem.

Bulb Type

Fluorescent light is usually more likely to flicker than LED or other bulbs. This can be caused by the age of the bulb, the temperature and the bulbs warm-up cycles. Usually, a small amount of flickering should not be of concern unless it’s constant or the bulb starts to dim, then it needs to be replaced.

If a new bulb flickers or takes a long time to start up, then it suggests that the starter, which sends a steady stream of electrons between the two filaments is faulty. The ballast controls the amount of current that is sent to the filaments. If this is faulty, it will allow too much current which may vaporize the filaments or even cause the bulb to explode. Often it is best to call your electrician and have the whole fixture replaced.

Dimmer Switches

Most conventional types of dimmers are designed to be used with incandescent light bulbs and if used with LED bulbs can cause flickering. One solution is to purchase a good quality dimmable LED bulb or ask your electrician in Palm Beach to replace your older type dimmers with the newer styles of dimmers that are designed to be used with LED bulbs. These dimmers still require dimmable LED bulbs, but this should fix the problem.

Loose Bulbs

When light fittings get old and worn they can become loose, screw bulbs, if not tightened firmly, can have a week electrical contact causing flickering. The only thing you can do with a bayonet or conventional fittings is have your electrician replace them. With the screw in type of fitting simply tightening the bulb so it’s firm.

Faulty Connections

Any loose or faulty connections in your light circuit can cause your lights to dim or flicker. Sometimes you can test the switch by turning it on and off a few times and noticing if it feels or appears faulty, but in any event, you will need to call your electrician as this can present a significant fire and safety hazard.

Large Current Draws

If your lights dim when your refrigerator or electric oven turns on, then you have overloaded circuits and need to have your local electrician in Palm Beach check your wiring.

Normally in a modern home, there should not be any issues with flickering dimming lights, but in older homes this can be a serious issue and you need to have your local electrician check your wiring as it could be unsafe and dangerous.

Five skills every electrical technicians needs

Today’s electrical technicians, commonly referred to, as an electrician or a Sparky are highly trained trades people who can perform a wide variety of electrical tasks from the complete wiring installations of new buildings, repairing, replacing or upgrading existing systems as well as repairing and installing equipment. Your local electrician in Elanora is a competent professional who is trained to follow very strict government guidelines and also holds an adequate amount of insurance cover.

The majority of electricians are in one of these three categories, although many are in all three

  1. Inside Electricians

Those electrician’s who work in a particular business or a factory type situation. This usually involves maintenance, equipment repair and overhauling to meet requirements of systems as well as installing wiring circuitry as needed. Often this is as an employee rather than as a contractor.

  1. Residential Electricians

Often these electricians build systems in new constructions as well as troubleshooting all manner of domestic electrical problems. Often they will move after completing one job to another job in another location and are frequently on call as required.

  1. Telecommunications Electricians

These types of electricians typically install and repair all types of cables and systems that are required for phone, computer and LAN wiring applications. They can be private contractors, business-specific contracts or government contractors.

The Five Skills Most Electricians require are:

  1. Mechanical Aptitude

Not all people have an innate sense of mechanics, but an electrician is comfortable and confident around electrical sites and well trained in the correct methods to ensure everyone’s safety while they are working and after the job is complete

  1. Problem Solving Skills

Electrical work is not always straight forward, often diagnosing problems and then repairing them is a critical part of the job. Some problems require alternative solutions because every job is unique

  1. Reading and Comprehension

A lot electrical jobs are written, some require the interpretation of plans and permits. It’s vital an electrician can read drawings or following sometimes complex diagrams about the job. Every job also requires a written summary that others working on the project can easily follow

  1. A good understanding of Relevant Business Skills

If an electrician wants to work as a contractor they need to have mastered some basic business skills such as invoicing, ordering and tracking inventory, strategic planning, managing employee’s and dealing with clients in a friendly and professional manner

  1. Customer Services Skills

Private contractors and all the electricians who service residential and any small businesses need to be able to develop a positive rapport with their customers. They must be able to instill a feeling of trust and confidence in their abilities. Quite often they are called on to provide their services at inopportune times and times of personal crisis for their customers who are possibly feeling unhappy, worried, overwhelmed and need to feel reassured and comfortable about what’s happening

An electrician who inspires feelings of confidence with their customers and does a quick, tidy and efficient job will find that word of mouth will travel quickly and result in many new clients. Conversely, the opposite can happen with an electrician who displays poor people skills, does a job that is rushed or the customer has to wait too long.

Under Cupboard Lighting Solutions for Kitchens and Bathrooms

Many people in existing homes have only basic overhead lighting, but when creating a new home or renovating an existing kitchen or bathroom, they can usually benefit from the clever use of under cupboard lighting installations. Talk about your plans with your local electrician in Elanora they are familiar with the latest products, ideas and installation costs.

The benefits of installing under cupboard and cabinet lighting are:

  • Additional illumination

Under cabinet lighting is a great way to complement the overhead lighting in kitchens and bathrooms. It helps to provide focused illumination in difficult areas and highlights interesting features

  • Eliminates Shadows

Often with overhead lighting there are areas where shadows form. Placing lighting under cabinets and cupboards will eliminate any shadows, keeping your work areas clear and bright

  • Ambiance and Design

Having under cabinet lighting can help transform your kitchen and bathroom and give a real look of style and elegance. Your bathroom will appear warmer with a more contemporary look

Features to Look For

There is a whole range of options available, including light colour, brightness and energy-saving features. The following are some features you could consider for your kitchen or bathroom:

  • Voltage

Under cabinet lighting comes in two types of voltage, normal line or 210 volt or low voltage of 12 volts and sometimes 24 volts.

There is very little difference in the amount of energy saving from either, but the main advantages of the lower voltages are safety, they produce less heat and they are smaller so take up less space

  • Wiring

There are two options for wiring, you can have the plugin type or hard wired so they operate from a light switch. For either option you need the services of a qualified and registered electrician. There is a third option and that is battery operated under cabinet lighting, which can be a real advantage in areas subject to power outages

  • Dimming Capability

It is a good idea to have lighting with dimming capabilities so you can adjust the lighting to suit individual preferences. It also allows you to turn it right down and save substantial amounts of power when not needed

  • Types of Bulbs and Lighting

LED or light emitting diode lighting is very popular for under cabinet lighting because of its long service life, low heat output and high energy saving ability. There are two common types of under cabinet LED lights those that come in strips and puck or individual lights

Halogen and xenon light fixtures can often cause a lot of annoying  glare, making it necessary to use filter lenses so you are able to minimise the reflections and glare they cause.

Fluorescent lights are very energy efficient and give off almost no heat, unfortunately most of them can’t be dimmed so you don’t have the same control over the light intensity

Incandescent bulbs are usually not used for under cabinet lighting as they are bulky, give off a lot of heat and are power hungry.

Your local electrician in Elanora is a lighting expert who will be able to help you find the perfect solution for all your under cupboard lighting needs in the kitchen, bathroom and other areas of your home to make it more attractive and livable.

Five electric safety tips for home renovation

Many Australians like to renovate their homes to make them more liveable and increase their resale value. There are a lot of things you can do yourself to save money, but one thing you are not allowed by law to do is any electrical work. You need to contact an experienced electrician on the Gold Coast to do it for you.

The things you can do yourself

  • Install garden lights and pond pumps that are 12 volts
  • Install your own battery powered smoke detectors
  • Install self contained solar lights
  • Install any 12 volt system that is not connected to the mains power, such as solar panels and switch gear
  • Change the fuse wire on old style fuses
  • Change ordinary light bulbs
  • Install wall ovens, wall mounted fans and air conditioning units, but you must have a licensed electrician do the electrical connections
  • Replace the drive belt on clothes dryers and washing machines

Only Professional, Registered and licensed Electricians are allowed to do an electrical jobs in Australia or New Zealand

Electrical work is very heavily regulated to protect the safety of everyone, whether it’s for residential industrial or commercial applications.

Whenever you hire an electrician, ask to see their current valid electrical license. Electrical jobs are defined by law as manufacturing, maintaining, testing, installing, repairing, changing or altering, replacing or removing any electrical part, fitting or equipment.

You should also ask to see a verification of a current insurance policy for at least $5 million public liability cover.

There are special regulations that cover power outlets in rooms that also provide water, such as kitchens, bathrooms, laundries and outside areas, especially areas that contain a pool, spa or sauna, so talk with your local electrician on the Gold Coast about checking these.

Some things you cannot do yourself

  • Replace light switches or fittings
  • Place a ceiling fan on a light circuit or a light socket
  • Make an extension cord
  • Replace the plug or mend a power lead
  • Make a power board
  • Extend any electric wires

Safety Tips While Renovating

  • Always ensure the power is turned off if working on areas where there are electric wires or switches
  • Try not to bend electrical leads, keep them as straight as possible, but keep them out of the way
  • Only use correctly rated and fused power boxes and extension leads and ensure they are protected from the elements
  • Do not double up on double adaptors and power boards

Often when you use more power than your circuitry is rated for your safety switches will flip out. It is a good idea to get to know your fuse box so in emergencies you can reset the safety switches if needed and avoid calling your local electrician on the Gold Coast and having to pay an unnecessary call out fee.

Top things to consider when upgrading electrical circuits

When you decide it’s time to upgrade your electrical circuits, contact your friendly electrician in Currumbin. Your find they will offer you plenty of helpful advice and provide an obligation free quote that comes with a written guarantee.

You never know what is lurking under your floor in your ceiling or behind your walls. Along with a variety of bugs, ant nests, mice, lizards, leaves and other things you may find old or outdated wiring, chewed wires and loose connections.

It is important to know that making any electrical repairs is illegal in Australia and must be done by a certified registered and qualified electrician.

If your home is more than 25 years old it’s wiring probably needs to be updated to meet the Queensland safety standard, but more importantly to keep you, your family and your property safe.

Inadequate or faulty wiring is a leading cause of home fire in Queensland, this is because the switchgear and insulations can break down over time and are susceptible to rodents.

When upgrading your electrical circuits you need to consider these ideas:

·         In your parents’ day most homes were wired for a 60 amp circuit as standard, today the average home uses 200 amps plus. This is to power air conditioners, refrigerators, fans, flat screen TV’s, computers and a host of other gadgets

·         When your circuitry is not adequate for your needs, it is not only very inconvenient, it can harm your electronic equipment with fluctuating currents

·         You are likely to overload your household switch gear causing them and your wiring to overheat presenting a fire hazard

·         Today, most people require data in all rooms and while upgrading your electrical circuitry; it might be a good time to consider placing a complete data system in place. You may want the ability to hook up all the computers in the home, have cable TV in all rooms have the ability to have multiple phone lines in each room

·         Consider your future needs such as smart systems that may require wiring

Are you up planning to extend your home, add a bedroom, kitchen or maybe build a home office? This is the perfect time to do a full upgrade so:

·         Decide if you need to have a full circuit upgrade or is some of your wiring adequate

·         Find an electrician in Currumbin that is experienced in home renovations and comfortable in working with older houses

·         Always get a written quote that specifies the work that you want does and what you will do if having complications (when renovating there are often unexpected things)

·         Have a written agreement regarding clean ups and the condition of the premises after the electrical work is completed

·         Make sure all electrical permits and local body requirements are taken out or complied with

·         Have adequate Insurance cover for your property and public liability for any injury or damage caused during the work. Also, ensure you electrician has all the necessary insurance covers

When upgrading your electrical circuitry, it’s vital to have a qualified electrician in Currumbin with all the local body permits and adequate insurance cover to do the job for you and get a written quote.