The Power Blog is a resource that has the latest power tips and tricks from Pugin Power
You look out the window and the weather has turned nasty, you know you can stay indoors keeping safe and warm, but what impact will the weather have on your electrical system.
The solar inverters are arguably the most crucial components of your solar panel system. The job of the inverter is to convert direct current (DC) created by the solar panels to alternating current (AC), which is the form of electricity that the grid wields. Therefore, without the inverter, your solar panels become useless as the power they generate can not be used in your home.
So, how long do solar inverters last? And, how do you know when you need a new one?
Many factors can affect the lifespan of a solar inverter, big the main factors are:
High temperatures can cause a reduction in the power produced by your solar system as the inverter can overheat. To ensure the electronic components of the inverter are not affected, ensure it is placed in a well ventilated area, such as a garage, so it can remain cool.
Fluctuations in voltage and current
If the voltage or current gets too high, due to a grid fault, the inverter can be damaged. This can be avoided by the addition of circuit breakers or fuses.
Faulty installation of the solar inverter is a frequent issue. If the inverter is connected to the wrong terminals or calibrated incorrectly or if the capacity of the inverter and the solar system are mismatched then the inverter will fail. It is imperative to get a solar expert to install your inverter.
Lack of regular inspections
Solar systems, and specifically inverters, need to have maintenance inspections performed periodically by a trained technician. A solar professional will be able to see evidence of faults or failure prior to the occurrence and allow you to have minor repairs done before the components deteriorate and create further damage.
Maintenance is crucial for the longevity of your inverter and solar system. It is recommended that you have your inverter serviced every 3 years to ensure everything is performing as it should be to reap the benefits of solar power in your home.
Different types of solar inverters have dissimilar lifespans. Their life expectancy are approximately as follows:
String inverter - circa 10 years
Battery inverter - circa 10 years
Hybrid solar inverter - circa 15 years
Microinverter - 15 - 25 years
If your solar panel system suddenly stops working then the most common cause is a problem with, or failure of, the inverter. If your inverter is easily accessible, the lights on your solar inverter will give you an indication of an issue.
Green - Inverter is working well
Blinking green - Sunlight on the panels is low
No colour - There is no sunlight on the panels
Red / Orange / Yellow - Something is wrong with your inverter
If there is no colour symbolising no sunlight on the panels on a sunny day, this is indicative of a problem with your inverter and you will need to speak to a solar professional to find the cause. Similarly, if a red, orange or yellow light is on, this is an error code and a solar technician will need to perform an inspection of your solar system.
There are ways to prolong the life of your solar inverter. Such as:
If your solar inverter is showing a fault code call Pugin Power and our CEC accredited solar specialists can determine the issue and repair your solar inverter swiftly.
Whether you require solar installation, repair, maintenance or efficiency services, we will take care of it. We provide solar power solutions on Gold Coast, Logan and Brisbane.
Solar power systems are very low maintenance. Getting them cleaned and serviced annually is about the sum of the maintenance requirements. They can last for 25 years with minimal expenses on maintenance and repair.
Did you know - electricity costs have risen by 117% in the last 10 years.
According to Canstar Blue, households in Australia are spending $1400+ annually on electricity bills. In Queensland, the average electricity bills were found to be $1367. You can avoid paying high electricity bills by switching to solar. Moreover, you get credits for the unused electricity your system generates in the form of feed-in tariffs, further adding to savings.
Comparing it to traditional electricity - which offers zero savings, whatever amount you save will add up in the long run and help you pay back the cost of solar system installation.
Queensland is a sunny state, the Gold Coast receives over 300 days of sunshine, while Brisbane has around 283 days of sunshine each year. It just makes perfect sense to take advantage of this free energy resource.
Solar Payback refers to the time it takes for you to breakeven, i.e. the time it takes for the savings on electricity costs to match the investment on your solar system. For example, if the cost of installation is $10,000 and you save $2000 annually on your electricity bill, your solar payback time is 5 years. On average it would take you 4-6 years to payback your solar system cost.
The solar payback time depends on several factors like:
Solar energy is renewable and an infinite source of clean energy. Using solar energy reduces our reliance on non-renewable energy sources like coal, oil and natural gas. Another benefit solar offers is a minimum emmission of greenhouse gas. By installing a solar power system you are reducing your carbon footprint and making the environment better for our future generations.
Electricity production by the burning of fossil fuels is the largest producer of greenhouse gas emissions - each kWh of electricity creates 1kg of CO2. Conventional electricity generation accounted for 178.5 Mt CO2 emissions in 2019, i.e 33% of the total emissions in 2019. In comparison, a 6.6 kW solar system can save around 10.6 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions. And in its lifetime of 25 years, it can help reduce GHG emissions by over 250 tonnes.
The Australian and State Governments offer financial incentives (in the form of Small-scale Technology Certificates) for the installation of renewable energy systems helping to reduce installation costs. The STCs are allocated to the buyers when they purchase an eligible system. The size of your system and your location will determine the number of STCs you can claim.
In a nutshell, STCs help you get a rebate on the purchase of your new solar PV system.
According to a survey conducted by Origin Energy, 77% of Aussies think a house with solar energy is more valuable. If you own a home, installing solar panels can boost the value of your property and also fetch you a higher price when you decide to sell. Even tenants are inclined to spend more money on rent for a house installed with a solar system.
Thousands of households all over Queensland have switched to solar, so why not you? Contact Pugin Power on 1300 150 735 or book using our Solar Enquiry form . At Pugin Power, we can help you with the installation of a solar system based on your energy requirements and budget.
Interconnected photoelectric smoke alarms will become standard in Gold Coast homes from 1 January 2017. The Queensland governments' recent amendments to the smoke alarm requirements in homes across the state are in response to the recommendations from the inquest into the disastrous Slacks Creek house fire in 2011 in which 11 people died.
The new amendments, which begin to roll out from the beginning of next year, are hoped to prevent such tragedies from occurring in the future.
The current standard requires one compliant smoke alarm on every level in a home and one outside sleeping areas. The updated legislation, which is in line with the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services recommendations, dictates that smoke alarms are:
The gradual roll-out of the legislation begins on 1 January 2017 and deadlines for compliance vary depending on your situation.
Amendments also include the requirement that any new or replacement smoke alarms must be photoelectric style alarms in accordance with the amendments. Photoelectric smoke alarms provide the earliest warning in the event of a fire as they detect smoke from smoldering fires. This style of alarm in an interconnected system will quickly alert everyone in the home of an emergency as when one alarm detects smoke, all alarms instantly sound.
If your home was built or significantly renovated after 1 July 1997 it will already be fitted with hardwired smoke alarms and may just need additional alarms fitted in each bedroom by your electrician.
However, if your property only has the minimum requirement of a 9-volt battery smoke alarm we recommend you speak to a licenced electrician or smoke alarm specialist about installing a hardwired smoke alarm system.
For more information on the new smoke alarm legislation read the full statement from Fire and Emergency Services Minister Bill Byrne - statements.qld.gov.au or contact our electrical team on 1300 150 753 or complete our service request form today.
For some spring cleaning is a chance to get rid of old junk and really open up the house to give it a really good freshen up. To others, the thought of a big cleanout is enough to send them back under the winter doona. Whichever way you look at it, giving your house a good clean once a year is good for your family's health.
Dust and mold build up around the home can be the cause of many health issues, from skin conditions and allergies, to asthma and the plague. OK, maybe not the plague but you get the idea.
This dynamic duo (mold and dust) lurk in places you may never think to look, like inside the air conditioner . If you've never cleaned your air conditioner it could be home to bacteria, mildew, fungi and dirt and other nasties, even after a single years use. On the first steaming hot day of summer when you switch it on to cool the house down all that noxious muck is going to be blown out through the air conditioner and into the air inside your home.
Hopefully, we've convinced you that it's a great idea to give the air con a spruce up before summer. So where do you start?
Important note - Always turn off the air conditioner at the switch board before carrying out any work on the unit.
Some of the basic cleaning tasks are easy for anyone to carry out. Models will differ slightly as to the correct method so consult your air conditioner operation manual for specific instructions but make sure you include these tasks in your home air con clean.
The other parts of the air con are not so easy to reach to clean and can involve working with or around the electrical components. In some cases, you could void your warranty if an unlicenced person accesses these areas. We recommend using one of the many professional air conditioner cleaning companies or air conditioners technicians who offer deep cleaning service to safely keep it in top condition.
Scheduling in the annual air conditioner service for this time is a great idea too as it will ensure the system is ready to cool your home when the weather gets hot. Plus, the service can identify any repairs needed and get them sorted before the summer as well.
It always seems to happen as you're rushing to get ready for work or when dinner is on the go, the safety switch goes off and most the electrical appliances in the house shut down. The fridge clunks to a halt, the hair dryer stops blowing, and the TV goes blank. Something has tripped the safety switch, which, even though it doesn't seem like it when you're running out the door in a half ironed shirt eating a piece of warm bread, is actually a good thing.
It means this essential home electrical safety device has potentially prevented a fatal accident. Safety switches activate in around .03 of a second cutting the supply of electricity to the circuit fast enough to prevent serious harm from an electric shock.
The safety switch is triggered by a detected change in the flow of electricity through the circuit it is fitted to (in most homes it's fitted to the power point circuit). Many problems can cause this change in flow, common issues can include:
The safety switch tripping can be a nuisance but the fix is usually fairly straight forward.
As we mentioned above if your safety switch trips regularly get it checked out by your electrician to ensure it's working correctly and providing protection for your family from electrical accidents.
There seems to be a popular misconception that
expensive to run. That switching the air conditioner on during hot summer days or cold winter evenings is a luxurious treat. In reality using your
air conditioner to heat or cool your home is actually one of the most energy efficient methods if done correctly.
A reverse cycle air conditioner is an economical heating choice for your home, only using around 33 to 40 cents an hour to run, which is significantly less than many other styles of electric heaters.
Keep the thermostat at a comfortable 18°C, this is the most effective temperature setting for your air conditioner during the winter. Maintaining this temperature will allow your air con to operate at it's most efficient level. Each degree higher can increase running costs by 10%.
A split system reverse cycle air conditioning system is an ideal winter climate control choice for medium to large rooms or open plan living areas. If you're short on space and need to warm several rooms a multi-split system offers a multi-room heating method which covers more than one room with a single outdoor unit.
Reverse cycle is a much more effective heating option for larger areas than gas or electric space heaters.
Utilise the ceiling fan to reduce heating costs.
As the hot air naturally rises most of the heat in the room gradually travels up towards the ceiling. Experiment by carefully standing on a chair in an average sized heated room, it's a lot warmer up by the ceiling.
A ceiling fan switched to the winter setting will help to recirculate the warm air back through the room, reducing the need to increase the air conditioners temperature settings to maintain a comfortable warmth.
If you're deciding whether to invest in a reverse cycle air conditioner or a cool only model, definitely go with the reverse cycle option. The small price difference at purchase is far outweighed by the convenience of having home heating and cooling at the touch of a button all from the single appliance.
Don't forget to take note of the star rating of air conditioner models when shopping around for a new system. Paying a bit more for a 5 Star rated model will, in fact, save you money on running costs in the longer term.
Warming your home with a reverse cycle air conditioner is as easy as switching the mode from cool to warm. Why not take advantage of this fantastically convenient appliance to heat your home this winter?
For more information on using your air conditioner during winter or specialist advice on the ideal system for your home speak to our experienced Gold Coast electricians on 1300 150 753 or complete our service request form today.
Mitsubishi Electric Bonus Eftpos Cash Card was so popular last year they have brought it back for 2016. If you're looking to upgrade, install a new air con or complete your home's climate control system now is a great time to invest.
Please note - This offer has now expired. If you would like to find a great air conditioning system for your home speak to our team on 1300 150 753 or complete our quote request form today.
From 1 April 2016 to 30 June 2016 your air conditioner purchase could earn you an EFTPOS cash card up to the value of $400.
The industry leading technology, sleek attractive design, and super quiet operation have established Mitsubishi Electric as one of Australia's leading air conditioner manufacturers.
Mitsubishi Electric eligible air conditioner models include something for every application. From small 2.5 kW wall mounted single split systems to large, full home, 13.5 kW ducted air conditioning systems, plus a huge range in between.
Don't wait, offer available while EFTPOS cash card stocks last. For more information visit eftposcashcard.mitsubishielectric.com.au
Book your Mitsubishi air conditioner installation with Pugin Power by calling 0499 978 446 or complete our online booking form today.
Fujitsu Free Money promotion is here for 2016. This amazing offer includes a free pre-paid Visa card to the value of $400 with the purchase of eligible Fujitsu reverse cycle split system and ducted air conditioners.
Please note - This offer has now expired. If you would like to find a great air conditioning system for your home speak to our team on 1300 150 753 or complete our quote request form today.
Reverse cycle air conditioner models include:
The Fujitsu Free Money offer is available for a limited time only. Purchases of eligible air conditioners must be made from 1 March 2016 to 31 July 2016, and claims submitted by 31 August 2016.
For more information visit Fujitsu General - fujitsugeneral.com.au/promotions
Book your Fujitsu air conditioner installation with Pugin Power on 0499 978 446 or complete our online booking form today.
*Conditions apply. Please ensure you are familiar with the full terms and conditions before purchasing an eligible product which can be downloaded by clicking here .
For a full list of eligible products and value of pre-paid Visa card, please Click Here . This promotion excludes all cool only systems.
We're sure many people ask themselves this before making a booking or service call with their electrician. 'Could I manage to do it myself and save a few bucks? Surely I could'. After about two minutes of searching the internet, you can easily find step by step instructions on doing just about any electrical job, from replacing a light switch to rewiring a whole house.
This, however, does not mean you should give it a try. Here's why.
We also found several instructional videos on how to fight a bear, tips for swimming with sharks, plus a beginners guide to walking in a live volcano while we were cruising the internet. (OK, maybe we made the last one up.) All of which is seriously dangerous and life-threatening things to do. Having a go at your own electrical work (if you're not a licenced electrician ) is just as risky.
Each year or team are called to homes and businesses throughout the Gold Coast to correct DIY electrical work, most of which could easily have caused electrical accidents or a fire. Our electricians have to keep up to date with all latest standards, regulations, legislation, and safety procedures to ensure any electrical work we carry out is safe up to industry standards.
Electricity can be deadly if not treated carefully. For the safety of everyone who comes into your home or business never attempt your own electrical work.
It seems we need insurance for just about everything these days. Insurance to drive the car, insurance to play sport, insurance to travel, we're even taking out pet insurance to protect little Toto in case he gets swept up in a freak tornado (again).
However, when it comes to electrical work insurance cover is there for a very good reason. A licenced electrician must have insurance to protect you, your property and anyone who uses the electrical equipment or systems he works on just in case something goes wrong.
When considering doing your own electrical work to save a few dollars, think again, it could cost you a lot more in the long run.
You can do a quick search on the Queensland government's Worksafe website to find out if the electrical contractor you've asked to do a job has a current QLD electrical licence.
The site also gives you examples of the types of work allowed under the different licences held by the electrical company or individual electrician.
Ask your electrician to show you his or her insurance certificate of currency. This is a common request so don't worry about asking to see it as most tradespeople are happy to show you. (And if they not it might be a good idea to get a new electrician.)
Please note: Other countries (such as the USA) don't have the same electrical laws as we do in Australia which is why it seems commonplace to carry out your own work when you're searching the internet for information.
With this year’s horrific bushfire season still fresh in our memories, ensuring your home is compliant and set up to give your family the best possible chance of survival in a fire situation should be a top priority. As we head into winter, the risk of fire increases with the use of appliances like electric blankets, clothes dryers, and heaters.
Modern homes feature a much higher number of items made from synthetic materials than those we built and lived in years ago. This change means that fires advance at a much faster rate than they used to, however, the speed at which smoke alarms activate has not changed that much over time. To help ensure residents of all ages and mobility levels have time to get out of the house safely in a fire emergency a system of interconnected smoke alarms was developed.
The interconnected smoke alarm system works by triggering the alarm in various areas throughout the house regardless of where the smoke was detected. For example, smoke detected from a smoldering fire in the kitchen will activate the alarms in all bedrooms alerting residents instantly even if they have the door closed, music playing or are asleep.
A 2017 study by Fire & Rescue NSW found that despite only 1% of fires starting in the bedroom these fires attributed to 36% of fatalities*. These results show how important it is to have an effective detection and warning system in all the bedrooms or sleeping areas of your home.
Common causes of residential fires include:
The updated Queensland Smoke Alarm Legislation which came into effect in Jan 2017 requires homes (dwellings) throughout the state to install new or upgrade their smoke alarm systems at various stages over the ten year roll-out period.
The new regulation is aimed at providing an effective early warning system for every person in the home, regardless of where they are or where the fire starts. It hopes to achieve this by placing photoelectric style interconnected smoke alarms in all sleeping areas of the home as well as in the halls, stairwells, walkways, or likely path of travel to exit the house.
Photoelectric style smoke alarms where chosen as they are more effective across a range of fires commonly experienced in homes. They respond faster than other styles to smoldering fires or the dense smoke given off by overheated PVC wiring or foam-filled furnishings.
Existing homes where the smoke alarm is more than 10 years old or doesn’t work when tested (remember to test regularly) must be replaced with a photoelectric smoke alarm from January 2017.
The legislation roll-out affects different homes in 3 stages as follows:
Interconnected hardwired or non-removable 10 year battery powered smoke alarm systems are required for:
Find out more about the legislation that applies to your situation:
Our electricians recommend getting your home smoke alarm system upgrade before the various deadlines to ensure your home complies with the legislation but, more importantly, to provide your family with the best possible chance of survival in a fire situation.
If you have any questions or would like professional advice on how best to upgrade your smoke alarms on the Gold Coast contact Pugin Power at 1300 150 753 or complete our electrician booking form request today.
PeakSmart air conditioning helps to reduce peak period demand on the electricity grid, which in turn can decrease the need for new electrical infrastructure keeping electricity prices down.
The PeakSmart feature is fitted into a huge range of air conditioner models. When connected via a signal receiver the feature enables the unit to be remotely switched to economy mode during times of peak demand. This essentially caps the air con's power use for short periods of time, for a few days a year.
Once the feature is set up by your air conditioner installer it is only triggered when needed, you'll probably forget it's there. Set and forget.
Apart from doing your bit for the environment by reducing power consumption in your home or business, installing a PeakSmart air conditioner could earn you a $100 to $400 reward from Energex.
19 leading air conditioner brands have got on board with the PeakSmart initiative including Mitsubishi Electric, Fujitsu, and Panasonic so you have a huge range of sizes, models, and styles to choose from.
For more information visit Energex PeakSmart air conditioning - energex.com.au
This great video helps explain how PeakSmart works.
The experienced air conditioning installation team at Pugin Power are on hand to install your PeakSmart air conditioner. Book in by calling 0499 978 446 or complete our online booking form today.
With environmentally-friendly options becoming more and more popular as time goes on, it is no surprise that many scientists are looking deeper into simpler and cheaper manufacturing methods for various eco-friendly systems.
One discovery that has scientist excited, but a little perplexed, when it comes to LED lighting and solar cells is perovskite.
The most common material that solar panels are made of is crystalline silicon, however the process is both lengthy and costly to attain effective energy conversion. This is because the material needs to be very ordered, as well as completed in a cleanroom (due to the material being very sensitive to contaminants).
Perovskite materials, on the other hand, do not require the 'ordered' approach - in comparison, the more 'messy' they are, the more effective they are. And this definitely surprised scientists! Perovskite materials, which have become an up-and-coming alternative to crystalline silicon over the last 10 years or so, are made up of lead salts which are a lot cheaper to produce and easier to obtain. Additionally, the ingredients used to make the perovskite can be altered to give it varying colours and structural properties ie. making the films emit different colours or collect sunlight more efficiently.
But, what does this is all mean? According to scientists at the University of Cambridge, perovskite materials can change the entire industry when it comes to semiconductors. Only very thin lawyers of perovskite materials are needed to achieve the same result as silicon wafers - think one thousand times thinner than a human hair - and show high efficiency levels emissions when they excited by energy sources. This results in the expectation that both LED and solar cells will only get more efficient, which has huge benefits to a range of industries.
We highly recommend keeping an eye out for perovskite materials in the future - they have huge potential for great things when it comes to LED lights and solar cells.