Tip #73.8 Get Appliances Tested Regularly by a Professional

 

DSC_2213-2-favIt’s important to regularly get a qualified and experienced professional to undertake a full inspection of your home or business and test all appliances to ensure they are fully compliant with safety standards. Implementing a regular test and tag program will provide you, your family and employees with the confidence that the building and all electrical appliances within it are as safe as possible.

Most electricians offer a test and tag service and it is beneficial to have all appliances and devices checked at least once a year.  An electrician conducting a test and tag inspection will, test all appliances and devices connected to power and ensure that they are safe.  They will then tag the device/appliance to show when it was tested and that it is safe for use.  Don’t risk having unsafe appliances connected to power at your place, have them checked today.

For information on 73 Electrical services check out our electrical services pages; home, business, rentals.

Tip #73.7 – What to do if your power goes out

There are a number of reasons your power may have gone out.  If you find yourself in the dark here are a couple of things you can check to work out what may be the cause:

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1.  Are you the only property without power? 

Do a quick check to see if your neighbours also have their lights out or whether the street lights are still on.

  • if you neighbours are also affected then it is likely your power outage is caused by a wider power issue.  To see if there is an outage in your suburb you can check the following link https://www.energex.com.au/media-centre/rss-feeds
  • if it appears you are the only property affected then it is best to call an electrician to see what may have occurred and get them to conduct a safety check on your property.

 

 

2. Did your power go out when you used a specific appliance?

If yes, then you have probably tripped one of your safety switches.  This can happen if the device is faulty or there is an issue with your switchboard.

  • If this happens it is best to immediately unplug and not re-use the device until a qualified electrician has checked it.
  • Not sure how to turn a safety switch back on?  Call a qualified electrician to ensure your safety.

 

3.  Did you have multiple appliances all operating at the same time?

If yes, the most likely reason for your power outage is you have over-loaded your switchboard.  To be safe the best course of action would be to contact a qualified electrician to investigate the fault and ensure your property is electrically safe.

If you find yourself in the dark for a while due to a power outage in your area energex have provided the following safety tips on their website.

  • Keep a battery-powered radio with fully charged batteries handy and listen to your local radio station.
  • Access Energex’s website from your smart phone for regular power restoration updates.
  • Turn off and unplug electrical items.
  • Use a torch for light and avoid using candles.
  • Stay clear of wet or damp electrical items. You may need to contact a licensed electrician to determine if safe to use.
  • If you can see or hear something that could help identify the problem, like fallen powerlines or a loud bang, stay well clear and contact Energex immediately.

Tip #73.6 When should you definitely call an electrician?

When working around your home or business, there are certain situations when it’s the phone you should be reaching for, not the screwdriver. These tasks should never be attempted unless you are a qualified electrician:

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  • Wiring any part of your home.
  • Installing lighting or switches.
  • Installing or moving power points.
  • Rearranging electrical wires.
  • Carrying out electrical maintenance.
  • Replacing frayed cords on appliances.

For information on 73 Electrical services check out our electrical services pages; home, business, rentals.

Tip #73.5 What to check before starting work around electricity

DSC_2391-2 favSometimes, contact with electricity can occur unexpectedly, simply because the source is concealed, it is therefore best to check the following before working around electricity:

Turn the power off at your switchboard before drilling into walls, floors and ceilings because there could be concealed electrical wiring. Be particularly careful when drilling around power points and light switches.

Look up and around you. When using ladders or carrying other tall objects, always look out for powerlines and take care to avoid them.
Avoid contact with underground cables. Check your switchboard for a diagram or call ‘Dial Before You Dig’ on 1100.

When painting eaves, replacing or cleaning gutters, avoid getting close to the electrical wires that connect your home to the power poles.
When changing a blown light bulb, make sure the power is off to avoid being harmed by exposed filaments.

Tip #73.4 Electricity safety when doing home maintenance

DSC_0834-favEver used an extension lead when attempting a simple renovation, home handy work, or even just doing the weekly chores?  There are many things we do around the home that we just simply don’t realise could be an electrical risk.  Before picking up your next extension lead make sure to check out the below electrical safety rules:

  • Always use an extension lead that is appropriate for the power loading you need. Check that it has three prongs and is approved to Australian Standards.
  • Extension leads with only two prongs are not ‘earthed’ and are dangerous. If an appliance is faulty, a non-earthed plug can cause power to flow through the body of whoever’s using it, with potentially fatal results.
  • Fully unwind extension leads before you use them so that they don’t run the risk of overheating.
  • When painting around light fittings, don’t remove the light plate as this will expose live wires even when the light is switched off. Mask around it instead.
  • When tiling around light fittings, switches or power points, get a licensed electrician to remove the lights and deactivate any exposed wires before you begin.
  • Safety switches need to be checked regularly to ensure that all power and lighting circuits are protected.
  • Portable power boards with in-built safety switches can be bought from most hardware stores and are recommended for protection when using power tools.

If you are ever unsure about whether what you are about to do is safe it is best to always call an electrician first and ask.  Most electricians will be more than happy to provide advice over the phone to ensure you are safe when working around your home.

Tip #73.3 Avoid piggy-back or double adaptor connections

Electrical overloading can occur if too many cords are connected to outlets designed for only one or two plugs.

DSC_2403-2-favThis is a common mistake that many people make. Just because there are plugs there doesn’t mean that you get to put as many items as possible in that outlet. Be smart about it. If you have an item that takes a lot of wattage, put it on its own outlet; that way, you won’t be overloading or causing problems for other parts of the same circuit. If you have a lot of electrical items, make sure to use high-quality surge protectors in order to keep everything flowing correctly and to prevent problems in case of a surge.  You should always use power boards with in-built safety devices to avoid a power outlet overload.

The best advice is never use more than one double adaptor in a single powerpoint, and don’t piggy back power boards to create more points.  If you need more power outlets get a qualified electrician to come and check your property as you may need a new power circuit installed in your home or business.

Tip #73.2 Safety switches save lives

Not a fan of electric shocks, well safety switches are your insurance against electrocution and are designed to prevent injury or death.

DSC_2468-favSafety switches are mandatory on all power circuits and recommended on lighting circuits.  As a general rule, electrical equipment should only be used when connected to a safety switch.
Safety switches monitor the flow of electricity through a circuit. They automatically shut off the electricity supply when current is detected leaking from faulty switches, wiring or appliances. This stops the chance of current flowing to earth through a person and electrocuting them.

Regular testing of your safety switches by an electrician is a good way to ensure your family or staff’s safety. Keep in mind though that the use of safety switches doesn’t mean you can be less careful when using electricity – you should always consider how you are using electricity in your home or business to ensure it is as safe as possible.  Some further hints on electrical safety are provided in tip #73.3 and #73.4.
Installing a safety switch is an inexpensive safety measure that protects everyone. For more information read the Queensland Government Safety switch saves lives brochure.

Tip #73.1 Smoke alarm batteries should be changed every 12 months.

DSC_0775-2-favIt’s a good idea to pick a memorable day like April Fools Day or show holiday and replace the batteries in your smoke alarm each year on that day.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service also recommend the following:

  • check the battery once a month by pressing the test button, normally found in the middle of the smoke alarm.
  • If cooking smoke sets off the alarm, do not disable it.  Although your instant reaction may be to wave a tea towel near the device to stop it beeping, the best way to silence a smoke alarm is to push the hush button located on the device itself.
  • Keep them clean. Dust and debris can interfere with their operation, so vacuum over and around your smoke alarm regularly.

Smoke alarms wear out over time. They should be replaced prior to the expiry date on the manufacturer’s warranty. You may want to write the purchase date with a marker on the inside of the smoke alarm unit. That way, you’ll know when to replace it.

The Queensland Fire and Rescue Service recommend that all smoke alarms be replaced after 10 years.

For more smoke alarm tips click here.