4 August 2010
If a fuse blows in your fuse box it can mean anything from one appliance going down to a whole section of the house being left in the dark. It pays to know how to replace one that’s fizzled out so you can get your day or night back on track without having to call out the electrical services company. Here are a few things to remember when your fuse blows:
20 July 2010
Safety Switches: Safety switches are designed to protect people when they receive an electric shock where the shock current or residual current flows to earth. Safety switches are required to operate when predetermined values of shock current or residual current flow. They are also required to switch the power off to the equipment within 300 milliseconds or less.
Circuit Breakers: Circuit breakers are designed to protect energised circuits by automatically switching off the electricity when overcurrent occurs. Overcurrent can be caused by overloading the circuit, or by short-circuit faults occurring in the wiring or appliances. It is important that earthing contacts of power points and the exposed metal of appliances are earthed to ensure that sufficient fault-current will flow to cause the circuit breaker to automatically switch-off. With the electricity automatically switched-off due to a fault in the appliance or wiring no further danger exists until the circuit is re-energised.
Surge Diverters: Surge diverters are designed to protect electrical installations and appliances from damage associated with voltage surges that are beyond the design of the electrical equipment. A voltage surge may occur as a result of lightning strike or other surges generated within the electricity system. Some surge diverters can only be used once and may need replacing after a voltage surge has occurred. A regular visual inspection of the device is recommended i.e. once a week.
20 June 2010
Under the Home Insulation Safety Program, a minimum of 150,000 safety inspections of homes that had non-foil insulation installed under the former Home Insulation Program will be carried out.
In addition, any household that has safety concerns with an insulation installed under the former Home Insulation Program can request an inspection.
The safety program aims to provide a level of assurance to households who had non-foil insulation installed under the former Home Insulation Program that their properties have been inspected and are considered safe. Additionally, it aims to involve industry, including reputable installers and manufacturers, in the inspection and rectification program to ease current concerns about the sustainability of the industry.
The inspection program is based on a targeted risk assessment with priority given to those homes considered to be at higher risk of fire and safety hazards.
In the near future, inspectors under the program will be able to undertake simple remediation work, for example the fitting of downlight covers where required. The cost of this safety remediation work will be borne by the Government.
As part of the scaled up program, the Government intends to contract a national organisation that has experience in managing large-scale programs to oversight and manage the inspections. This organisation will source other companies experienced in the insulation/inspection industry to complete the work.
These companies will be subject to strict safety criteria. Firms that completed insulation installations under the Home Insulation Program may only qualify if they satisfy these criteria. This includes a requirement that the participating firms were compliant under the HIP and that they stand behind the quality of the insulation product used, and the quality and safety of the installations that they and their subcontractors carried out under the former program.
Householders who have an inspection undertaken will be given a certificate of inspection to provide a level of reassurance that the insulation installed has been inspected by an installer and is considered safe. The certificate will provide details and credentials of the inspector.
Work is underway to develop and implement the full scale inspection program, including appropriate safety and risk mitigation measures. The Government will make further announcements on this phase of the program once this work is completed. Any household with an immediate concern about their safety can call the Safety Hotline on 13 17 92 and request an inspection.
Article from Department of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency.
25 May 2010
It is that time of year again when Western Power will leave a notice recommending that you have your trees professionally trimmed if they are inspected and the trees are deemed too close to power lines.
For everyone's safety, if the trees have not been trimmed to the specified distance after 30 days, they will arrange for this to be done at your cost.
Please work with Western Power and act quickly to ensure the safety of our community.
Did you know property owners and home occupiers are responsible for keeping trees on their property clear all year round?
For more information, visit the Western Power website.
13 April 2010
With the impending ban on incandescent lighting due to be implemented 12 months ahead of schedule, it is a prime time for us to dispel the myths that seem to concern customers the most.
Myth 1: They are too expensive: This is like saying a modern fuel efficient car is expensive compared to an old V8 petrol guzzler. That's because you would be ignoring the energy costs of running it. Replacing incandescent globes with good quality CFLs is one of the best money saving investments you can make.
Myth 2: They are ugly: While beauty is in the eye of the beholder, it is fair to say that until recently the design of CFLs was very different from traditional globes. Many new designs are much more aesthetically pleasing.
Myth 3: They can't be dimmed This used to be true but a range of dimmable CFL options are now available. These work on the majority of dimmer circuits and are available in different colours and as a bayonet or screw fittings.
Myth 4: They don't last as long as they say: The high quality brands will usually last more than the stated average life of 6,000 hours and usually come with some form of guarantee. It is often the cheaper, generic brands that are less reliable as they use much lower quality components - essentially you get what you pay for.
Myth 5: They give a harsh white light: This is only partly true and many consumers are unaware that CFLs come in a variety of softer colours and select the wrong CFL for the task.
Myth 6: A broken globe can contaminate your entire home: This is one of the great urban myths and is wrong - to have a chance of making this possible you would have to break a globe daily in every room of the house and not open the windows. High quality brands tend to contain lower levels of mercury than cheaper brands - CFL globes have been used safely around the world for over 25 years.
Myth 7: They contain mercury, which makes them worse for the environment: By switching to CFLs you will actually prevent much more toxic mercury from being released into the air from coal fired power plants than is contained in the energy saver globes themselves.
6 April 2010
Figures released by Western Australian electricity supplier Synergy reveal an increase in the number of customers opting for GreenPower.
In fact, the number of customers signing up for electricity generated from accredited renewable sources has more than doubled in the calendar years 2006 and 2007 – from 3,343 at the end of 2006 to 8,013 at the end of 2007.
In addition to this increase, the number of customers installing solar panels to generate their own electricity and sell any excess to Synergy increased from 117 to 501 during the year.
25 March 2010
If you have had no power for more than 12 hours consecutively, you are entitled to an $80 payment from Western Power and you can claim it online at the Western Power Website Claim Form. Have your bill handy as you need your meter number to complete the online form.
16 February 2010
You may have a lovely sunroom or enclosed patio that you'd like to make use of during hot weather, but you can't always do so, because the room gets far too hot. Even on a balmier day, the humidity may get in your way. Opening windows doesn't help, because there's no air movement outside, either. And even if you have air conditioning piped into the room it may not circulate well enough to make sitting there enjoyable. By adding a ceiling fan to help circulate the air and provide you with the gentle breezes you need, you may be able to substantially increase the amount of time that you're able to use your sunroom or patio.
Manufacturers have designed outdoor ceiling fans differently than the indoor fans, because they have to be able to continue functioning well while being exposed to much damper conditions than those indoors. Standards are set much higher, and outdoor fan models must pass a battery of tests which measure how well they continue to hold up in wet conditions.
You can do a search online and just take a look at all the different models that are available, and you're sure to find some that will look great in your outdoor living space. There are a lot of different fans out there to choose from. Do some research about a few of the different models available and learn more how to pick the right ceiling fan for your home.
9 February 2010
Houses these days have so many more appliances that put demands on the electrical system; computers, kitchen accessories, televisions and home cinema systems to name a few, meaning that if the wiring in your house is very old and inadequate, you may have an accident just waiting to happen.
Rewiring a house will include installing new circuit breakers and all new cabling, as well as completely new electrical accessories throughout the house.
Modern houses place a much higher demand on the electrical system than in years past, so if you have antiquated wiring it is an accident waiting to happen.
Safety should be your utmost priority where your house's electrics are concerned, but even if you are tempted to neglect the problem, think about this: when it comes to selling your house, an inspection will quickly alert all parties to the problem.
Whether or not your house needs rewiring isn't a decision you should make by yourself. You should always ask a qualified electrician for their opinion if you have any suspicions, but some clues to look out for include black or coloured cables running into the consumer unit. Cotton covered wires may be as old as 40 years, and this is a sign that the wiring needs looking at. Electrical cables now have PVC insulation that doesn’t perish with age.
Once old cotton covered wiring perishes to a certain stage, the conductors inside will meet, resulting in numerous electrical problems. Other signs which indicate you may need to rewire are an inadequate consumer unit, round pin plugs, and metal conductors running into the lights or sockets.
While preparing for rewiring, it's a good idea to consider any alterations the house needs, such as extra sockets. Electrical accessories are often cheaper the more you buy, so work out whether, either now or in the future, you'll need to make adaptations.
Start by making sketches of each room and mark on where all of the sockets and lights are. This plan will help you or your electrician to see whether you can extend the room's wiring system and add another socket, or whether you should install a new circuit.
Plan for the future of children's bedrooms. They may not need that many sockets now but just think of all the gadgets they'll have when they are teenagers and the sockets required for these.
Other ideas to consider include whether older household members might benefit from extra lighting for navigating around the house at night, or even phone sockets by their beds.
2 February 2010
A surge protector protects your electrical equipment from internal component damage caused by power surges. It stops excess voltage coming into a device by rerouting it to a ground wire which negates the energy. They can add years to computers and other electrical appliances as well as prevent home fires caused by faulty wiring accidents. It is widely ignored by most people and may even be a well kept secret from most, but adding surge protectors to your electronics is a basic requirement in every home.
Inside the unit is a component called the MOV, or metal oxide varistor. It is a zinc oxide-based semiconductor that redirects high levels of voltage when those levels exceed the norm. Typically a quality home surge protector will have three or more MOVs lined up in a row to expand the capabilities of the unit. They are coated to protect them from igniting or short circuiting.
The transient suppression diode has a lower capacity for protection but can be used on equipment where power surges occur often. Unlike the metal oxide varistor, the TSD does not degrade therefore it has a much longer lifespan than its counterpart.
When an electrical current is conducted electrodes are ionized by the high voltage and this causes a gas to be released. In a single surge protector environment there are gas discharge tubes that collect this gas. During a surge the gas can be elevated and cause damage. The gas discharge tubes in a surge protector have a higher tolerance than a normal current so when the surge passes into them they store the excess energy while the normal current continues its route to your equipment.
These devices are powerful tools for your arsenal against component damage. Investing in a power surge protector will not only leave you assured of your security but will save you hundreds of dollars in repairs or equipment replacement.
26 January 2010
If you have young children in your home then it will be essential for you to protect them from the dangers that home electricity poses.
Education about electricity and the harm it can cause is one of the best preventative measures any parent can take to ensure their children's safety.
It is a good idea to teach your children not to mix water or metal with electricity including electrical appliances such as hairdryers, toasters and TVs. They should also be warned about carrying long metal objects in the event there are low overhanging wires.
Ensuring your children stay away from climbing trees or flying kites near overhanging wires is also important to make sure they do not get electrocuted.
Children should also be taught not to pull on electrical cords. Instead, if they need to remove a cord from a socket they need to pull the plug instead.
If an electrical fire occurs, children must be taught not to put out an electrical fire with water. For any electrical service such as light installation, rewiring or appliance repairs, it's best to keep your child out of the way while this work is being done.
In the event that someone does get electrocuted, you and your child must not touch them until the power is off.
Purchasing a range of electricity preventive equipment can also avoid your child from harm. You can buy cord clamps to avoid appliances accidentally being unplugged and to keep extension cord plugs and sockets firmly attached. You can also by electric cord shorteners that help prevent a child's access to dangling electric cords on appliances and lamps.
You might also find that an outlet plug is a handy device to plug into power points when they are not being used, helping prevent electrocution.
Power board strip covers are also handy contraptions, protecting your children from possible live pins and sockets.
12 January 2010
As each property on your rent roll becomes compliant with the RCD / safety switch & smoke alarm legislation, it is imperative that each property have these devices tested on a regular basis. RCDs and smoke alarms are not failsafe and it is recommended that testing occurs at monthly intervals. In the event of a failure of either device, this monthly testing will ensure that the problem is detected and rectified quickly to prevent potential death or damage to the property and possessions.