For all your residential, commercial and emergency electrical needs in Castle Hill and the Hills District, call the trusted, local Pros on (02) 8310 4675.
1 AN EXTENSION CORD ISN’T A PERMANENT ALTERNATIVEIn one of our past blogs we have discussed in a detailed manner about the proper use of extension cords. But this is especially true in the case of computers. An extension cord isn’t a permanent solution when it comes to using your computer a distance way from a wall electrical socket. An extension cord hinders surge protection and makes the PC vulnerable to electrical shocks that can damage its intricate and complex computer hardware.
2 USE ALL PRONGS ON YOUR COMPUTER’S POWER CORDOften times, power cords of desktop and laptop computers have three prongs. But when a 3-pronged outlet isn’t available, many people tend to fit these cords into a two-prong socket. Some cords have a button prong which is actually the grounding cable; it provides protection from electrical currents that can get transmitted into the metal casing of appliances and computers. If these grounding prongs are connected incorrectly, you risk the chance of a severe electrical shock.
3 USE A GCFI OUTLETElectricity is needed to power computer hardware; but an electrical surge can damage the internal components. When you use a GFCI outlet, it helps protect your electrical devices like computers from power surges. In case of an electrical storm, or an electrical surge due to a problem in the electrical system, you can rest easy knowing that it won’t affect your devices.
4 USE AN EFFICIENT AND APPROPRIATE SURGE PROTECTORIf you have a home office that has a computer and other peripherals, it’s highly recommended that you get a surge protector installed. This device will shut down the electrical current in that circuit and protect your electrical devices. Make it a point to know what load the devices you are using have, and check whether the ratings on the surge protector and the electrical circuit are compatible for that load. If not, you may notice that the breaker or the surge protector is tipping constantly.
If you are installing a home office and getting a larger number of computers and related devices such as scanners, printers etc. it’s a good idea to call experts like the ones at AllRound Electricals to inspect the electrical wiring and installations in the space. Our experts will identify whether the system has the capacity to bear the load of those systems; and we can also install GFCI outlets as required. We will provide you all the information you need about the different types of products available and will use the best quality products, materials, fixtures and workmanship to ensure that the electrical installations are of high quality and will provide years of trouble-free service.
Lightning damage to electricals
During a storm, lightning attempts to go from the cloud to the ground via the fastest route possible. Unfortunately, any conductive material such as electrical wiring or water pipes in your house or your power pole near your house are convenient options for the lightning.
In the Gordon Park house, the lightning blew the earth cable right off the earth stake. It also blew up the electricity meter and fused the main switch, along with giving the home owner a shock.
There is likely to be additional damage to appliances within the home, but the full extent of the problem won’t be known until the power is restored. Your electrician will be able to inspect power points, switches and electrical appliances looking for obvious scorch marks or blown components for you, but some problems will only become apparent when power is restored and items with sensitive electronic components are put into service.
What should you do if your house has been struck by lightning?
Make sure all people and pets within the property are safe and administer any first aid.
Check for fires. We recommend calling 000 as fires may occur in your roof cavity or walls after a severe lightning strike.
If no electricity is running, contact Energex to check your property. Call the Energex emergency number on 13 19 62 to report fallen power lines or electric shocks, or 13 62 62 to check on power outages.
If your electricity meter has blown it takes up to three different entities to bring you back online.
Your electricity supplier needs to install a new meter.
Your electrical contractor needs to replace the main switch and circuit breakers. We recommend having safety switches installed on each circuit in these situations as you can’t be sure of hidden wiring damage or damaged appliances.
Energex to re-inspect your property after the work has been done to ensure that it is fully compliant before reconnecting you to the power.
Often Energex will not reconnect your power if your installation is deemed unsafe and will leave a rectification notice for a licenced electrical contractor to carry out the rectification and then have the responsibility of reconnecting the supply and issuing a certificate of test.
In the event of having a property pole, if it doesn’t meet the current standards (e.g. a pole is shared between two properties, or where the base is rusted or conduit damaged). In those cases, they will advise you that you need to bring your pole up to the current standard, which may involve you and your neighbour installing two new poles if you previously shared a pole.
When everything is finally up to standard, Energex will reconnect your power. Unfortunately, this could take some time.
Contact your insurer as soon as practicable to report the damage and keep them informed of developments, making sure that you keep records of any paperwork or interactions with Energex, Retailer, and contractor to support a claim.
Test all your appliances to see if any can be salvaged. Even if they initially work, you may find they develop intermittent faults or have a much shorter lifespan after the lightning strike.
The Gordon Park case
In this case, even though the electricity supplier, our electrical contractor team and Energex all treated the matter as a priority, the property shared a pole between two homes. This has meant additional time and expense for the home owner having to install two new power poles and has resulted in the property being without power for over a week.
How to protect yourself and your property
Nothing will protect your property from a direct lightning strike.
However, you can protect yourself from indirect lightning strikes through having your electrical contractor install a surge protector in your switchboard. For less than $350 you save yourself a stack of additional replacement, insurance and lost time costs.
Body corporate & property manager preventative measures
If you run a body corporate or manage properties, then aside from having surge protectors installed to minimise damage from indirect strikes or power surges, you can book an electrical inspection of your property from a licenced electrical contractor.
We will advise you on the condition of your switchboard and power poles, and notify you of any areas that are not compliant with current regulations so you can forward schedule them into your maintenance plans and budgets. It is always better to plan for expensive replacements such as new poles, rather than have unexpected urgent additional expenditure.
Most kids are extremely curious and want to know how things work and will also take items apart if they are able to; it’s no different when they are around electrical fittings, fixtures and appliances. If you have toddlers in your home, it’s best to get electrical safety fittings installed where there are powerpoints and electrical outlets. However, if you have slightly older kids, it’s important that you teach your kids some basic electrical safety; here are some tips you can keep in view:
ELECTRICAL SAFETY IS IMPORTANT
If you are concerned about your kids playing safely and without any accidents around electrical installations, fixtures and appliances either in the indoor and outdoor areas of your home or in the neighbouring areas, here are pointers you should go over with them:
Make it a point to ensure that all electrical cords are tucked along walls tidily; this will help prevent tripping accidents and will keep the cords away from inquisitive pets as well.
Don’t use extension cords as a permanent solution while using any electrical device like a computer etc.
Do not plug in multiple devices into one powerpoint; not only will that result in a load on the electrical system but can lead to a fire as well.
Never climb fences or boundary walls that are in the proximity of any electrical installations. If your ball or even your pet moves into any fenced area with electrical installations in it, do not attempt to go in there; get an adult to help you get them out.
Do not pull out electrical cords forcefully from an electrical outlet, as that will only cause damage to the device, appliance, plug and outlet.
When you fly kites, ensure you don’t fly them near overhead power lines or any substations in your areas as that can result in electrocution.
Whenever you want to use any device or appliance that operates on electricity, ask any grownup for help.
If you are climbing trees either in your locality or your own backyard, look out for overhead power lines; the branches can act as a conductor of electricity and you can get an electrical shock.
Don’t try to insert any objects (especially metal ones), into the toaster. If you find that the toasts have become stuck inside the toaster, call an adult.
Make sure that you don’t keep any electrical devices, games or appliances near any water sources
Stay at a safe distance from broken/fallen power lines
Stay away from outdoor power poles and don’t attempt to climb them.
TIPS ON HOW TO CHILD-PROOF YOUR HOME
If your kids are always investigating things and are curious about everything around them, there are some things you can do to enhance the electrical safety in your home:
Secure all unused wall sockets with plastic inserts that can be easily pulled off & stuck in the mouth.
You can also block unused outlets with furniture.
Consider installing safety outlets that prevent your kids from inserting foreign objects into them.
When you are using any extension cords, make it a point to tuck them away behind some furniture; you can also use some sort of and hide-a-cord devices.
Keep all your electrical appliances and devices such as toasters, hair dryers and DVD etc. behind some type of barrier or out of reach on shelves.
ASPECTS TO KEEP IN VIEW1 PermitsWhen you buy your new spa, you need to ensure that you have all the necessary permits required for the installation. Most local councils require special authorization for all exterior electrical circuits as well as for any new construction (in case you decide to build a shade structure to cover the spa). In addition, there may be some other requirements that you’ll have to follow, like positioning the spa in a specific location etc.
2 Picking a proper foundation for your spaWhen choosing a foundation for your spa feature, you should choose a place that will have proper drainage when it rains. If you are planning on installing your spa on an existing patio or deck, you should ensure the structure is solid enough to bear the weight of the water and the spa itself as well as the people that will use it. If you are planning on installing the feature on solid ground, make sure the spa is elevated on 100% foundation such as concrete and gravel.
3 Spa Electrical RequirementsThere are several different types of spa models you can choose from, and, while these may all be unique in styling and build, most spas are built to run at different usage and power levels. Here are a few points to keep in view:
The electrical specifications for your spa will depend on the model chosen. If you have a hard-wired spa that operates on 230V-240V, you need to have a manual disconnect situated at least 5 feet from the spa; it should be within line of sight so that proper spa safety can be maintained.
Ensure that the spa’s electrical system is appropriately wired and grounded, and that there is a GFCI cord attached to it.
In order to properly wire your 230V-240V spa, ensure that it’s plugged directly into a separate outlet to avoid an overload on the circuit.
If your spa doesn’t have an in-line GFCI cord, you would need to have at least a 15 amp GFCI-protected power point installed by a reliable, licensed electrician.
You should never use extension cords to plug in your spa.
The spa should always be installed a minimum of 25? from any power line and at a minimum of 5' feet away from any electrical cords.
Ensure that all the electrical components and the pump meets the local electrical safety requirements and that they are properly covered.
The power point should be of exterior grade and should have an earth leakage protection device (this isn’t required if your main switchboard already has one).
Your electrician would be able to advice you on the correct location of the spa in relation to the power point. But in most case, you can’t have the power point positioned closer than 1 meter to the spa in order to maintain electrical safety.
If your spa feature has to be hardwired, the electrician will have to make two trips. The first time around, he would complete all the initial electrical connection tasks and would then come in a second time to connect the wires after the spa has been delivered.