Electrician Blog

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

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

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

There are many really valid reasons for sticking with a licenced and insured electrician when any electrical work needs doing around your home or business. Find out more..

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Increasing Solar Cell Efficiency

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.

Resources:

SchiTech Home: https://scitechdaily.com/big-surprise-discovery-increases-perovskite-solar-cell-efficiency/

Wikipedia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Perovskite_(structure)


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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.

References:

https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/page.php?id=9216
https://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/gallery/files/pdf/research/Fire%20research%20report%20%20Smoke%20Alarms%20in%20Homes%20An%20Analysis.pdf
https://www.qfes.qld.gov.au/community-safety/smokealarms/documents/QFES-InfoSheet-SATypes.pdf


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PeakSmart Air Conditioning - Save on Installation

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.

Benefits of installing a PeakSmart enabled air conditioner

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.

PeakSmart rewards
  • $100 - cooling capacity less than 4kW
  • $200 - cooling capacity 4kW or less than 10kW
  • $400 - cooling capacity 10kW or more

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.

PeakSmart air conditioning Gold Coast

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.

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Fujitsu Air Conditioning - Free Money Deal

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.

Fujitsu air conditioner models

Reverse cycle air conditioner models include:

  • wall mounted single split systems
  • space saving multi-split systems
  • discrete cassette air conditioners
  • full home ducted air conditioning systems
  • console under ceiling and floor systems

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

Fujitsu air conditioning Gold Coast

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.

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Mitsubishi Electric Air Conditioner - Cash Card Offer

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.

Mitsubishi Electric air conditioners

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

Mitsubishi air conditioning Gold Coast

Book your Mitsubishi air conditioner installation with Pugin Power by calling 0499 978 446 or complete our online booking form today.

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Why using your air conditioner to heat your home is a good idea

There seems to be a popular misconception that air conditioners are very 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.

Using a reverse cycle air conditioner for heating

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.

Ideal temperature setting

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%.

Large room heating solution

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.

Boost heating with a ceiling fan

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.

Heating and cooling in one

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.

More stars the better

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.

Economic home heating using your air conditioner

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.

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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.

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Why spring cleaning your air conditioner is a great idea

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.

How to clean the air conditioner?

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.

What you can do

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.

  • Place a drop cloth or cover over anything under the system to protect the area. Remove the filter from the front of the indoor unit and give it a wash in warm soapy water. Make sure it dry's out fully before replacing it in the unit.
  • Clear the area around the outdoor unit of dirt and garden debris to ensure the air entering the house is clear of dust.
  • Cut back any foliage which has grown over the outdoor condenser unit.

What to leave for the professionals

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.

Don't forget the air conditioner service

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.

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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.

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Benefits of installing a solar power system

Why switching to solar power is a great idea?

Low maintenance costs

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.

Reduced utility bills

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.

Value for money

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:

  • Size of solar power system
  • Location
  • Energy provider
  • Electricity usage
  • Energy efficiency
  • Sunlight hours in your area


Clean energy

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.

Financial incentives

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.

Increased property value

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.

Switch to solar energy

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.

Sources

  • https://www.environment.gov.au/system/files/resources/6686d48f-3f9c-448d-a1b7-7e410fe4f376/files/nggi-quarterly-update-mar-2019.pdf
  • https://www.lgenergy.com.au/faq/buying-a-solar-system/is-solar-power-truly-co2-free#:~:text=In%20Australia%20each%20kWh%20of,of%20CO2%20emissions%20per%20year.
  • https://www.canstarblue.com.au/solar-power/solar-installation-cost/
  • https://www.finder.com.au/how-long-until-my-solar-panels-start-saving-me-money
  • https://www.canstarblue.com.au/electricity/average-electricity-bills/

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