Electrician Blog

The Power Blog is a resource that has the latest power tips and tricks from Pugin Power

The surprising impact weather has on your electrical system

The surprising impact weather has on your electrical system

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.

Read More

New smoke alarm requirements for Gold Coast homes

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:

  • interconnected - either hardwired to your home's power supply with a battery backup or wirelessly interconnected 10-year lithium battery alarms
  • photoelectric type
  • located in every bedroom
  • located in hallways

What this means for your home

The gradual roll-out of the legislation begins on 1 January 2017 and deadlines for compliance vary depending on your situation.

  • homes built or undergoing major renovations must comply from 1 Jan 2017
  • homes leased or sold must comply within 5 years - by 2022
  • all owner occupied private dwellings need to be compliant within 10 years - by 2027

Photoelectric smoke alarms

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.

What to do next

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.

Read More

What to do when the safety switch goes off

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.

Reasons your safety switch might trip

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:

  • overloaded power sockets or power boards
  • faulty appliances
  • faults your home wiring
  • water in the walls or ceiling affecting the power circuit - Has it rained recently or is there a sprinkler hitting an outdoor power point?

What to do

The safety switch tripping can be a nuisance but the fix is usually fairly straight forward.

  1. Try to reset the switch by flicking it back to the ON position. Sometimes the issue is temporary and the safety switch will reset easily. However, if the problem is recurring get a licenced electrician to take a look at it.
  2. If the switch does not reset unplug all the appliances (if on the power circuit) or turn off all lights (if on the light circuit). Appliances must be unplugged, simply turning off at the power point is not enough. Don't forget the hidden power points like the one behind the fridge, washing machine, or dishwasher as well as any outdoor appliances which may be plugged in.
  3. Reset the switch. If the safety switch still fails to reset avoid touching it and any electrical systems and call a licenced electrician as soon as possible. (1300 150 753 if you're on the Gold Coast.)
  4. Once the switch is reset, plug your appliances back in one at a time. Usually, the faulty appliance will cause the safety switch to trip once it's plugged in and turned on clearly identifying the culprit.
  5. Make sure that power points that could be experiencing overload are not reconnected. Spread the appliances across several sockets or ask your electrician to install a new power point.
  6. For your safety do not use the faulty appliance until it has been checked and fixed by an appliance repair technician.

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.

Read More

QLD Smoke Alarm Legislation Update

QLD Smoke alarm legislation requirements

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.

Fire Origin Chart - FRNSW
Fire area of origin - image FRNSW
Fire Material Chart - image FRNSW
Form of material first ignited - image FRNSW

Common causes of residential fires include:

  • Unattended cooking.
  • Electrical appliances and faults.
  • Damaged electrical leads.
  • Heaters, cigarettes, and candles.
  • Clothes dryers.
  • Overloaded electrical sockets.

QLD smoke alarm legislation & how it affects your Gold Coast home

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.

When do I need to upgrade my smoke alarms?

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:

  • all new dwellings and any substantially renovated dwellings from Jan 2017.
  • all domestic dwellings leased or sold from Jan 2022.
  • all other domestic dwellings from Jan 2027.

Find out more about the legislation that applies to your situation:

Smoke alarm upgrades

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.



Read More

Why is it important to use a licenced and insured electrician?

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.

Following on from this most home insurance policies require all electrical work to be carried out by a licenced and insured electrician. If there is an accident or fire in your home, and it is found to be caused or linked to electrical work which wasn't undertaken by such an electrician most insurance companies won't cover damages or claims and you could be out of pocket hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs.

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.

Not sure if your electrician is licenced and insured?

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.

Worksafe Queensland

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.

Read More