29 September 2010

09 July 2010

Buying a house? Check this out first

Most people buy a house without knowing the condition and safety of Electrical Wiring.  If the previous owner/s have installed illegal Electrical Wiring, an Electrical fault or Safety hazard may develop that could result in the loss of life and/or property.

Nearly every house over 2 years old we visit is found to have some illegal wiring!  This week we were called to a house in Epping because of power constantly failing.  What we discovered was one of the worst examples of illegal Electrical Wiring we have ever seen.  As Electrical professionals, its normally easy for us to spot illegal and dangerous wiring.

But what can home owners do themselves to try and determine if their own home has any obvious illegal wiring?  

Here are a few hints for the home owner -

(1)  If you find any exposed (normally white) wiring, it is likely to be illegal.
(2)  If you find any Electrical fittings that are not secured, it is likely to be illegal.
(3)  If any wiring looks untidy, twisted, hanging or loose, it is likely to be illegal.
(4)  If you find a join in Electrical Wiring not within a junction box, it is likely to be illegal.
(5)  If you find extension lead installed in a permanent position, it is likely to be illegal.
(6)  If you could reach bare Electrical Wiring while standing on the ground, it is likely to be illegal.
(7)  If your switchboard is loose, missing parts or has exposed Electrical contacts, it is likely to be illegal and unsafe.

Remember - This list is only intended for home owners to identify 'obvious' illegal or un-safe Electrical Wiring.  As most of the Electrical Wiring is located within walls, under floor and in roof spaces, only a trained professional will be able to carry out a complete visual inspection and complete the required electrical tests to ensure the Electrical Wiring is in good order.

If you suspect you have illegal or un-safe Electrical Wiring, call in a Licensed Electrician.  Under no circumstances should you attempt to rectify the situation yourself.  If you are unsure, send a good photo to me via geoff@eppingelectrical.com, I will have a look and provide my advise to you free of charge.

When we work at a home, we get a sense of the extent of the illegal wiring we may encounter.  Normally early visual inspections will indicate to us that illegal wiring may be present.

Here is a photo I took from the house we visited this week.   We found this home had several illegal joins in Electrical Wiring, as you can see, the join is substandard and dangerous.  Lucky for the home owner this fault did not cause a fire.

If you are planning to buy a house in the northern suburbs of Melbourne or simply want to be sure your home is safe, call EPPING ELECTRICAL to provide an Electrical Inspection.

I hope you found this information informative, if you have any questions, please drop me a line or call me on 0431 232 796.  Geoff

24 June 2010

Australia's NBN - More Than Faster Internet

So, what is Australia's National Broadband Network? Why is it so important and what will it mean for every Australian?

Source: Youtube, TheNBN2009

Epping Electrical is a registered communications service provider and provides services for PABX, telephone points and extensions, ADSL, CAT5, network cable, patch panel, switch, hub, router for both residential and commercial properties

17 June 2010

Consumers the winner in the NBN game?

The all new superfast National Broadband Network (NBN) that is laying cable across 7.7 million sq kms of Oz will soon allow 90-93% of us Aussies to access speeds of up to 100 Mbps on the FTTH (Fibre To The Home) infrastructure. [For a bit of perspectivem right now about 0.1% of us are connected to fibre optic]. And all that at a price cheaper than the existing ADSL. Sounds too good to be true? Welcome to the future!!

Some Tasmanians can already order this exciting new broadband service, with installations being expected to start in July. "Internode" is one of the first retail service providers, and has released 15 FTTH plans at aggressively cheap prices. Its $29.95 entry-level plan, with a 15 Gigabyte (GB) data quota, has a 25 Mbps downstream speed and 2 Mbps upstream. The 50 Mbps plans cost from $39.95 while 100 Mbps plans start at just $59.95. There are no long term contracts or early termination charges on any of the plans.

Check out the other Internode plans here, and get ready to bid adieu to your old TV, telephone and internet networks and say hello to a super-fast broadband coming soon to your neighbourhood.

Epping Electrical is a registered communications service provider and provides services for PABX, telephone points and extensions, ADSL, CAT5, network cable, patch panel, switch, hub, router for both residential and commercial properties

02 May 2010

“Sparkies” most in demand in mining

Here's some great news for aspiring Australian electricians. The mines in WA will pay really big money for you according to this article in Businessweek.

"Electricians—the Aussies call them "sparkies"—are the blue-collar workers most in demand in the mines. According to the Hays Resources & Mining Salary Guide and mysalary.com, electricians in the Western Australia mines made between $83,000 and $120,000 (U.S.) in 2009. In contrast, mining electricians in the U.S. made $49,000 to $59,000 in 2008, the latest figures available"

So what are you waiting for? Finish that apprenticeship and get going… the world is waiting for you!

24 April 2010

World Skills Australia: National Competition for Trades

Are you a young Australian under 23 years of age, and want to showcase your trade and skill talent at a regional, national and even international level? Here's a chance for you to compete on the International Stage in the Skill Olympics.

World Skills Australia's National Competition will run over three days from Friday 7th May to Sunday 9th May at the Brisbane Convention and Exhibition Centre. Over 500 competitors from over 30 regions will compete in up to 50 trade and skill categories including electrical installations.

22 April 2010

Government dumps home insulation rebate scheme

So there's not gonna be any more of the insulation rebate scheme, not even in any kind of modified form as it was initially expected.

Energy Efficiency Minister Greg Combet made the announcement today: "The government has determined not to proceed with the proposed insulation rebate."

Quoting from the same article in The Age:

"Cabinet is understood to have decided the government's top priority should be assuring the safety of homes which had already had insulation installed rather than installing more.

The government had promised to install safety switches into about 50,000 homes which had foil insulation installed and to carry out safety inspections on at least another 150,000 homes which had batts and other non-foil insulation installed"

18 April 2010

Three men treated for electric shocks today

Browsing through the news today, this article caught my eyes

PARAMEDICS treated three men for electric shocks in separate cases across Melbourne today. Two of the men were taken to hospital

Electrical burn on fingers

Dislocated shoulders and electrical burns. Ouch! But thankfully all three men are safe. Electrical accidents may in many cases, tragically, be fatal. For your own safety, if you need electrical work done, please call a licensed electrician to have a look.

04 April 2010

Electricity Theft - Illegal and Dangerous

During a routine switchboard upgrade the other day, I discovered this house had an illegal and potentially dangerous electrical connection directly to the main electricity supply cable bypassing the meter.  In the picture below, the black cable is the main supply from the street, the white cable is illegally connected.  To check if your house has an illegal connection, turn off all main switches in your switchboard and then ensure that all electrical outlets, appliances and lights are no longer operating.  If anything is still operating, contact us immediately for a professional inspection.   

Call Epping electrical on 0431 232 796 for a FREE quote

28 February 2010

Insulation scheme finally abandoned

Last week the government's billion dollar insulation scheme was finally abandoned. After being linked to four deaths, 93 house fires, and 250,000 houses potentially having unsafe or poor quality insulation, it was a largely expected decision by the time it happened. The government has promised a new improved scheme by June 1. We have to wait and see the details of that.

Inspectors are now being arranged to make sure the work on at least 48,000 properties has been done properly. I don't even want to imagine what they will find. Just the other day Geoff went to quote on a job that needed some roof work and discovered that the insulation batts have been put only in one single row just around the manhole!! That's it! The rest of the roof is empty, uninsulated. It's gonna need some serious remedial work to eventually sort out the mess.

If you have had your roof insulated under this scheme, especially by a person that walked off the street, made you sign a form, went up in your roof for an hour or so and walked away - get it inspected. It's highly likely the job has not been done properly. At best, it is only that your home is just as uninsulated as before. At worst, you run the risk of a roof fire or electrocution. Get it checked to be safe!

Have you had your roof insulated recently? What has your experience been?

13 January 2010

"Am I insured if DIY electrical work causes a problem"

This is an interesting question I found in the list of keywords used in Google searches that led to this site. Let me give the short answer to the question. No :)

Here is what NECA (National Electrical and Communications Association) says:
... home owners with illegal wiring may find that they are not covered by the Home Building insurance policy in the event of a fire which can be traced to the illegal wiring as the cause of the fire

And a standard policy document from AAMI says:
You must at all times, and at your expense, take all reasonable precautions:
to ensure compliance with all statutory obligations, by-laws or regulations imposed by any public authority, relating to the safety of persons or property.

If you do not, we may reduce or refuse to pay any claim you may make.

As per the Electricity Safety Act 1998 it is illegal for an unlicensed person to undertake electrical installation work in Victoria.Persons who do undertake such work can be prosecuted in the courts and subject to substantial financial penalties.

Registered electrical contractor card

Electrician's license card

Stay safe. Always use a registered electrical contractor and a licensed and qualified electrician to do the work to the required standards. Ask to see their license – it is your guarantee that you are working with someone who knows that they are doing and gives you avenues for recourse if something goes wrong. Also make sure that you get a certificate of electrical safety once the work is complete.

01 January 2010

Building a new home? Involve your electrician early

Most people, when building a new home will spend enormous amounts of time planning exact size and colour of rooms, appliances, woodwork and furnishings – but fail to seek the assistance of a qualified electrician early enough in the process to get the best possible outcome. Given that the electrical work in the home will provide light, warmth, entertainment, technology and probably even cooked food – you would want the service and outlets and wiring and every detail to accommodate your lifestyle and incorporate flexibility for future changes.

  • Engage an electrician right after you get the building plans
  • Know what to ask in your initial meeting
  • Understand the electrical design process for your new home

For the best outcome and to save time and money, engage an electrician as soon as plans are available. An initial meeting with your electrician should typically take between 60-90 minutes depending on the size and complexity of your home.

Top 10 things to ask your electrician before building a new home

  1. Electricity Supply arrangements, ie. underground or overhead etc
  2. Availability and location of Electricity Service Pit or Service Pole, distance to house
  3. Preferred Electricity Meter location
  4. Occupancy – Single or Multiple (units)
  5. Power Outlets – Type, Colour, Number and approximate location within each room, also include weatherproof outlets for external locations and outlets in ceiling for ducted heating and cooling
  6. Lighting – Type of light fittings, Smart Lighting and Home Automation, number fittings and approximate location within each room, also review external lighting requirements
  7. Electrical Appliance Review - Oven, hotplates, hot water, air conditioning, heating, garage door openers, spa bath, sauna, bathroom 3in1’s, exhaust fans, workshop equipment etc. For all appliances required, power consumption in KW, single or thee phase connection is required in order to confirm electricity supply capacity is sufficient
  8. Telecommunications - TV Points, Telephone Points, Local Area Networking
  9. Smoke Detectors – Number and Locations
  10. Home Automation requirements

Once this is complete, your electrician should be able to prepare the initial quotation that will detail all reviewed requirements. It is advisable to obtain two or three quotes before deciding on your electrician. Do not base your decision solely upon price. Consider how all prospective electricians assisted you to understand the design and implementation phases, how clear each one was when reviewing your requirements, are they all available to undertake the work within your timelines? Remember, no matter how well you planned, changes will occur so you need to be able to easily communicate with your chosen electrician.

What’s the process of the electrical design and wiring for a new home?

Most home electrical installations go something like this: -

  1. Confirm Electrician
  2. Prior to concrete pour, install underground service and builders post, extend Telephone conduits to home, normally buried within same trench. 
  3. Once concrete slab is complete, install Builders Temporary Supply, normally located in final position. Your electrician will organise the required inspection and paper work for supply to be connected. You will be required to nominate the electricity retailer of your choice and open an account with them.
  4. Once the frame is constructed and windows, brickwork and roof installation is complete, the electrician can commence the “Rough-in” stage. This stage allows the electrician to run all required cables within the house frame. Normally the location of outlets and light switches are either confirmed on a final plan or ‘walked’ thru with the owner on-site. Note: Electrical Rough-in stage is normally done with plumbing Rough-in.
  5. Once the plaster is complete, the electrician would cut out all power outlets and light switch locations, down-light holes are also cut. This will allow tiling to be complete where required and will confirm all locations are found ‘BEFORE’ painting is complete.
  6. Once kitchen and bathrooms are fitted out, painting is complete, the electrical “Fit-off” stage can commence. All Power outlets are installed, Light Switches and Light Fittings are installed, Smoke detectors fitted, all appliances and finally switchboard fit out with safety switches and circuit breakers.
  7. Test and energise the installation.

Simple as that. Of course there is more to it than that, but that’s a good start in your understanding. Remember to start early with your electrician, think about all your requirement in the early stages. If you do this, you will save both time and money.

If you are planning to build a new home in the northern suburbs of Melbourne and require a qualified electrician for your project, EPPING ELECTRICAL  would be more than happy to provide the initial review and detailed quotation for you and no cost.

I hope you found this information informative, if you have any questions, please drop me a line or call me on 0431 232 796.