HOW ECO-FRIENDLY IS YOUR HOME?

All over the world, we have seen a growing concern in the changing climate. A very large part of the world’s emissions actually come from individual homes and actively reducing your amount of emissions can help us beat climate change! To do this you have to ask how eco-friendly is home, how big is my Carbon Footprint at the moment and in what areas to improve, below we will let you know what in your home emits the most C02 and easy ways that you can reduce your own emissions.

Where do my emissions come from?

According to the government, Australian households are responsible for 1/5th of our nation’s entire greenhouse gas emission and on average generate 7 tonnes of emissions(our carbon footprint). There are four main culprits for our heavy emissions- the largest comes from heating and cooling, things like your air conditioner and heater, they contribute to 40% of your emissions.  Water heating contributes to 21%, running appliances including your fridges and oven contribute to 33% and finally, lighting contributes 6%.

There are even more areas that we generate emissions from such as transport from your cars and public transport, wastes from landfills, agriculture such as animals, land use from housing developments and mainly industrial processes and product use. In fact, manufacturing your common goods is where most of the world’s emissions are generated plus the extra emissions for transport and shipping.

At the end of the day, there are too many areas where we are constantly generating enormous emissions, but every person and household is different. To give you more perspective on the effects of your actual lifestyle on our environment, take the carbon footprint calculator quiz at http://www.footprintcalculator.org/.

How do I lower my household emissions?

There are so many ways that you can lower your household emissions starting from easy tasks such as switching your traditional incandescent light bulbs with eco-friendly LED’s that also use less electricity. Another way is to constantly unplug or turn off appliances and extensions cords that you aren’t currently using, or incorporate smart wiring or master switches to help turn all non-essential items on or off as you enter or leave the property or go to bed at night.

In the winter use less electricity to warm yourself up by opening blinds and letting the natural heat of the sun warm you up, you can also add more carpets or rugs to your home as studies show it reduces energy bills from 4-6%. You can even reduce your hot water usage by washing your clothes in cold water and always make sure to turn the tap off if you’re not using it. The most important is to regularly service your heating/cooling devices to make sure when used they are as efficient as possible.

The most common way households have been reducing their emissions is through the use of renewable energy such as solar or wind power. At Camtec we have worked on many projects involving solar power and know how much they benefit not only the environment but also your electricity bill. By using renewable energy your impact on the environment is significantly reduced and because we live in the sunny nation of Australia there is no shortage of solar energy coming our way!

If you are interested in making a difference contact us today to see how we can help with your homes energy management or information on how we can help you, your carbon footprint and your wallet!

WHATS IN YOUR METERBOX

In your home, it’s increasingly important to understand things like meter boxes, circuits and fuses, especially if for some reason your power or appliances cuts out. In Australia, the standard voltage of electricity entering a home is 230 volts. The electricity poles that you usually see on the street carry electricity into each home to a service point. A service point is where the power flows through to connect to your meter box.

Read below to find out more about how to identify how your power works!

 

The meter box

When electricity comes into a house its first stop is the meter box, you know the old metal box hanging on a wall or fence outside every home. The meter measures how many units or Kilowatts (kWh) of electrical energy are used. From there the power then goes through the main switch which is where you can completely cut off your power in instances if you need repairs done or changes made to the wiring.

 

Circuits

Every light and appliance is part of a circuit. A circuit is a path the electrical energy takes, it is made of an active wire that takes energy from the generator in your home to the appliance or light and a neutral wire that returns the electricity to the generator. When your appliance suddenly cuts off it’s usually because too much energy is being used in that one circuit, in order to reduce these overuse power points additional circuits are installed to reduce the risk of overloading which is generally caused by plugging too many appliances together in one circuit.

 

Switch board

After the electricity goes through the power poles and the meter box and before it goes through a circuit it first goes through a fuse board/switchboard. The fuse board has switches that branch the electricity to each appliance, light and powerpoint in the home creating the above-mentioned circuit. So in the fuse box, there is a fuse or switch for every circuit in your home (and it should be labelled as well). The fuses act as a safety for each circuit to protect the wiring in your home and also yourself. The wires for lights, appliances and more can only take so much electrical energy before they overheat. As said earlier the circuits in your home have a limit which is why you should ensure you have enough power points in your home or building. If your circuit does overheat, the fuse is what shuts off your lights, power or appliances, this ensures that no damage is done to the circuit and that it doesn’t overheat so much it causes an electrical fire.

If one of your fuses does blow (because a circuit is overheated) then you can determine what’s being overloaded by checking the fuse box and seeing which switch has been flipped. To get power flowing back through you just need to flip the switch again, but be sure that you have turned off or moved anything that may be causing the extra strain on the circuit.

 

Short circuits

The most common overloading that you may have heard of is short circuits or short-circuiting. This generally occurs when the insulation of the two wires (the plastic surrounding) has worn causing the two wires to touch. Another cause is if a bare active wire comes into contact with a metal component or appliance which is earthed. Before we talked about how every appliance has an active and neutral wire, but now more and more appliances have a third the ‘earth wire’ ( green and yellow). This is another form of protection if an appliance overloads the circuit.

An earth wire is connected to the body of an appliance and an earth stake, whenever a short circuit occurs in an appliance it should also increase the current of energy through the earth wire. In this case, the fault current melts the fuse or trips the circuit breaker causing the power to shut off. This generally only occurs if your appliance is faulty.

If you encounter any problems we always advise to get a fully licensed electrician to inspect your home or building because electricity is extremely dangerous if not handled properly. If you currently have an issue you can contact us to receive a quick quote from our friendly staff!

BIGGEST ENERGY CONSUMPTION CULPRITS

A big frustration for any homeowner or renter is when your power bill comes and it’s huge and you have no idea why. What you might not realise however is that your home appliances are probably the culprit. Some appliances more than others are the guilty party and even when you think they are turned off they may be actually sucking up your power.  

Below we have listed some of the most energy draining appliances that you may have in your home.

 

Televisions- Usage does vary widely but can cost between $0.075-$0.18 per hour

Computer Monitors- Usage can vary widely but cost between $0.006-$0.05 per hour

Laptop- Usage can vary widely but can cost between $0.003-$0.01

Fridges and Freezers- Runs 24/7, costs around $100 each year to run

Ovens- Run on average an hour a day, these appliances can cost around $1000 a year to run

Clothes dryers- Usage can vary widely, but generally, cost around $100 per year

Dishwashers- General run costs including when on standby comes to about $0.09 per hour

Washing Machines- Usage can vary widely, but can generally cost about $80 per year

You may be shocked to realise how much running appliances actually increase your energy bill even when you think they are off or in standby mode

 

Don’t worry though there are a few ways to preserve your power bill and save you some cash!

  1. Unplug devices, not in use or used rarely- such as DVD players, heaters etc.
  2. Plug devices into a power strip
  3. Plug devices into a timer- You can purchase a digital timer to ensure that your unit is being turned off and on at the best times for you
  4. Adjust power setting- By simply setting your computer to go to sleep after 30 minutes of inactivity or disabling your “quick start” setting on your TV you can save a heap on your bills
  5. Buy energy star appliances- They are a volunteer-based organisation they determine how  energy efficient certain appliances are

Although turning off appliances sounds like a great idea it can affect certain appliances such as microwaves negatively; Here is a short list of some appliances that you can unplug to save you some cash.

  • Desktop computers
  • Laptops
  • Televisions
  • DVD players and VCRs
  • Modems
  • Cable TV boxes
  • Cordless phones
  • Coffeemakers
  • Lamps
  • Toasters
  • iPods and electronic gadgets that sap energy from plugs

 

Unplugging is the best way to save energy but always enquire about whether it is ok with your specific appliances, either from the store you purchase the unit or even the manufacturer themselves. Also if you want to see how much your actual appliances cost to run the information is usually available in the units manual, online or you can visit energy star Australia to get more comprehensive details and even compare units.

If you follow these quick and easy tips you are sure to be able to reduce your energy consumption and help save some money on those pesky electric bills!

Preparing for power outages

Power outages can occur at random or be planned, below are a few tips you can follow to ensure that your family and home is protected.

Before a Power Outage

  • Build or restock your emergency preparedness kit, including a flashlight, batteries, cash, and first aid supplies.
  • Make sure you have alternative charging methods for your phone or any device that requires power.
  • Charge cell phones and any battery powered devices.
  • Know where the manual release lever of your electric garage door opener is located and how to operate it.
  • Purchase ice or freeze water-filled plastic containers to help keep food cold during a temporary power outage.
  • Keep your car’s gas tank full-gas stations rely on electricity to power their pumps. If you use your car to recharge devices, do NOT keep the car running in a garage, partially enclosed space, or close to a home, this can lead to carbon monoxide poisoning.
  • Learn about the emergency plans that have been established in your area by visiting your state’s or local website so you can locate the closest cooling and warming shelters.
  • If you rely on anything that is battery-operated or power dependent like a medical device determine a back-up plan.

During a Power Outage

  • Only use flashlights for emergency lighting, candles can cause fires.
  • Keep refrigerator and freezer doors closed.
  • Take steps to remain cool if it is hot outside.
  • Put on layers of warm clothing if it is cold outside.
  • Never burn charcoal for heating or cooking indoors.
  • Never use your oven as a source of heat.
  • Turn off or disconnect appliances and other equipment in case of a momentary power “surge” that can damage computers and other devices. Consider adding surge protectors.
  • If you are considering purchasing a generator for your home, consult an electrician or engineer before purchasing and installing.

TV-Tipover

4 WAYS TO BABY-PROOF YOUR HOME

When having babies in your home there are so many hidden dangers you may not be aware of, especially when it comes to the electrical components in your home. In fact, there are thousands of cases each year where infants or young children had to be sent to emergency rooms due to such injuries.

So here is a small list of some things to look out for to baby proof your electronics:

SECURE YOUR TV-

Throughout the years our TV’s have gotten bigger and heavier. Unlike the old tellies, we used to have these newer models are top heavy and the stands they come with are not built to stop it from being knocked over. Securing your TV to your wall or cabinet means that even if your child knocks the TV it won’t fall and injure them.

COVER YOUR COMPONENTS-

Anything that’s low or in reach like DVD players or Blu ray players are easy targets for young children, not only can they hurt themselves but they also can cost a penny to get it repaired if your kids decide to play around with it. For appliances like in your home theater, you have a variety of options. The most simple option is to buy a TV cabinet that has doors or drawers and alternatively you can set up your components higher up out of reach. You can even store your appliances in another area like a cupboard, this may cost a bit extra but it will keep your room looking clean and simple and you can buy a remote sensor so you won’t need to leave the room to change the channel.

COVER YOUR OUTLETS AND POWER STRIPS-

This is the most common area for baby proofing because it is so easy to get a shock from sticking your fingers into an active outlet. There are many easy ways to do this such as the plastic plug covers that you can get anywhere, but there are more inventions made to protect things such as large powerboards. For instance, you can buy a power strip cover from safety first on Amazon which is a simple and easy way to cover the entire board and still be able to use the chargers plugged into it.

ORGANISE YOUR WIRES-

Wires are fragile and when they begin to fray they can be an even bigger hazard to the young ones in your home. Organising your wires not only neatens up the place a bit but it protects the wires and your children. There are multiple ways to do this; you can use cable ties to group them together and move them out of the way or you can buy covers for your wires that completely protect them from the socket to your appliance.  Most of these wire organisers are available from online stores such as eBay or Amazon; they sell nifty inventions like the monster cable-it wire management system which comes in multiple colours and sizes or the wiremold cordmate which freely wraps around your cords.

 

ORGANISE-YOUR-WIRES

Switches and Outlets

Cleaning electrical switches and outlets

Often our switches and outlets are completely overlooked when cleaning our homes. We generally go straight for the windows, floors and our appliances; But our switches in our homes are one of the dirtiest areas. Although they may not look dirty the bacteria from our hands and the dust that collects on them are all over it and if they aren’t cleaned imagine how easy it is for these germs to spread.

So make sure that you when cleaning don’t forget the switches!

Safety tips

Switches-1

 

Like any other electrical element of your home you have to be very careful when cleaning it, you can’t just spray some cleaning products or hot water on them directly or you will get zapped. Instead spray onto a paper towel first and use that to clean. Most of all though if you are planning on cleaning your switches make sure your power is turned off! Just go to your switch box in your home, locate the breaker or fuse for the outlet you want to clean and switch it off.

Light Switch Covers

  1. Again first and foremost, turn the power off before you even touch your switch
  2. Them remove the light switch cover/plate from the wall. Be careful not to damage your wall or switch when you pry it off. You can also use a Flathead screwdriver to remove it more easily.
  3. Clean the plate directly with soap and warm water, you can use a bucket or your sink.
  4. Make sure you thoroughly dry it out before pushing the plate back onto the wall, and then you’re all done!

Outlet Covers

  1. Another reminder to have your power turned off the prevent any electrocution or other safety hazards.
  2. Make sure you remove the light switch cover first and clean that separately
  3. Spray a dust or dirt removal agent onto a cotton swab or paper towel and gently wipe away the dirt and dust on the power outlet.
  4. Push the plate back onto the wall
  5. Now you have a perfectly clean and sage powerpoint!

Also don’t forget to turn your power back on!

What if my outlet cover is too dirty?

We’ve all seen the old outlet cover that have become a bit discoloured and changed into that

 

 gross yellow colour. If you have tried your hardest to get it back to the pristine white it was and it still doesn’t change don’t worry it’s actually very easy to replace them. Standard outlet cover are easy to find all over Perth and most hardware stores will have them places like Bunnings sell a bunch of different types as well so you can upgrade your look.

Outlet-Cover

 

If you’re looking for an upgrade though at Camtec we can definitely help you out. We are partnered with Clipsal and can supply and/or install their beautiful Saturn Series switches which is sure to make your home pop!

So come down to Camtec and have a look at what we have in stock or just give us a call for a quick quote and more details!

Electrical Inspection

WHEN DO YOU NEED TO GET AN ELECTRICAL INSPECTION

Before you commit to buying a house

Whenever you purchase something as important as a home, whether it is an old property or even a new one you should always ensure you do an independent electrical inspection. When investing in a home there are always hidden nasties laying in the areas that you cannot visibly see (especially in older properties); it could be that your home has not had updated wiring or maybe the wiring if frayed or damaged over time. In newer homes the most common issue is that the wiring was not installed properly or there has been recent damage during the building process.

So it doesn’t matter if the home you’re purchasing is new or old, you should always get an electrical inspection done to protect you and your wallet!

If your house is old

If you or your family have lived in the same home for many years it may slip your mind to get your house inspected, in fact many see this as a hassle or not necessary. However, old wiring and other electrical components of your home could be worn or even outdated and this can cause danger to you or your family. It doesn’t have to be done every year or very frequently but is a little something extra to protect your home.

If you have any concerns about your house

If you think that there may be some electrical issues with your home you should definitely organise an electrical inspection, this can be handy to find out if there has been anElectrical-Inspection-1y damage in your home but a proper professional can also identify where something may need updating or even some improvements that could be made.

Again you do not need to get an electrical inspection every year, but keeping on top of it will make your home last longer.

After a major storm

Although we may not get massive hurricanes or storms in Perth, we have seen our fair share of bad weather. Whenever there has been extreme weather it can easily damage the multiple electrical elements throughout your home. Even though you may not notice any damage to your home it’s always wise to get another opinion and a quick inspection can give you peace of mind and is painless to do (with the right electricians!) There may not be any direct damage to your wiring or other electronics but things such that protect them may have been damaged or weakened and degrade over time. So do the smart thing and get your home checked.

On a regular basis after buying a house

The main point of this blog is to realise the importance of electrical inspections for your home, at Camtec we advise to have electrical inspections done on your home every few years or so to ensure that you and your home is protected and is as efficient as possible.

There are many positives to having frequent inspections so make sure you are well protected at all times and organise a quick inspection for your home now!

 

Related Tag: Smart Wiring PerthPerth Electrical Services

Shades of Light

Decorative Lighting

LIGHT CAN TRANSFORM MOODS AND THE WHOLE ENVIRONMENT AROUND YOU.

With shades of light, the whole ambience of the room can be changed from routine to festive.  Decorative lighting is a way to enhance the beauty of your home or any living space indoors and outdoors.  For a space to be perfect, it is absolutely essential for it to have a well-designed lighting plan.  Decorative lighting used to be restricted to times of the day, events or really special occasions.  Today homeowners want their living spaces to reflect their own style and taste and there are no shortages of decorative lighting options to suite every single style.

Every home is special.  It is a reflection of the individual residing in it- their taste and their style.  Decorative lighting is all about creating a mood and adding interest to a room, for example, by highlighting various objects and areas in the room such as a painting.

Decorative fixtures can be used both inside the house as well as on the outside.  An interior lighting design takes various factors into account like space, placement of furniture, colour of the room and the specific task for which the room is needed.  For example, a study would have a different style of decorative lighting when compared to the lighting style for a kitchen.  Outdoor lighting would consist mainly of garden lighting, entrance lighting, pathway lighting and street lighting.
Indoor decorative Lighting gives a room personality and style.  It should give a person that visual impact that defines the owner’s personality in just one glance.  Interior decorative lighting fixtures include ceiling fixtures like chandeliers or table fixtures like lamps.  It can also include wall fixtures like paintings, medals, trophies etc.  There are some factors that need to be considered for decorative lighting like cost saving, power effectiveness, affordability, space etc.

If you were designing a light plan for the dining area, you would use lighting sources such as hanging lights and pendants so that they illuminate the table from the top and not from the side to avoid casting shadows on plates.
For the bathroom, you would place the lighting source to avoid casting shadows on the face when looking in the mirror.

Similarly, for the living room, the main source of lighting (for example a chandelier) should always spotlight the central sitting place.  Also plants, paintings and other show pieces can be used as a contrast to cast a dramatic effect in the room.
For bedroom lighting, bedside lights which can be mounted on the wall or using table lamps work best as they would be more practical (especially in the middle of the night!).

Outdoor decorative lighting allows you to enjoy your outside living space after dark – increasing the security, safety and beauty of your home.  Proper decorative lighting transforms your garden after dark.

It can give life to a pool or a pond making it a place of sanctuary or a place to have fun.  It can also provide security features.

 

Reasons to hire a professional electrician

Under no circumstances do we believe that people should not hire a licensed electrician to complete any electrical jobs you want done. All our electricians have gone through years of training and experience and are held to high safety standards to protect you, your family and anyone else.

There are three main reasons why you need a sparky to do your work:

Electricity is dangerous-

This is the most important reason why you need to hire a professional electrician like the ones here at Camtec. It doesn’t matter if you follow every precaution and every safety check if you don’t have the proper knowledge and understanding of electricity you can not only get electrocuted but cause an electrical fire that might not occur straight away when you would be more prepared for it. Statistics show that electrical fires are the cause of 51,000 fires each year. Many of these fires have caused deaths due to lack of fire safety devices and procedures. So yes you can get a little shock or get electrocuted but the chance of an electrical fire is more likely to occur in times where a proper licensed electrician was not used to do your electrical work.

Professional Quality-

Not only does hiring a licensed electrician increase the safety of your home or property but it also ensures a nationwide standard of quality. Yes you may encounter the odd dodgy sparky but majority of the time you know you well get a good standard of work, mostly because their livelihood depends on the quality of their work. They also pride themselves on their training and expertise which allows them to make quick judgement and quality repairs. A professional repair or installation means that your will have:

  • A decreased likelihood of breakdowns
  • Simplified future repairs
  • A clean working environment

Also by hiring a professional should there be anything wrong with what they have done all fixes and repairs will be covered under warranty.

 

Licensed work-

All homes and buildings are required by law to follow a specific set of rules and regulations for proper electrical wiring. Professional electricians are required to pass certification exams to prove they are familiar with these regulations. These rules are set in place because they enforce efficiency and and safety for buildings occupants. So even though you may be very familiar with how electricity works, you are not likely to be familiar with the hundreds of regulations and requirements you need to fulfill. This may not be very important to you at the time but if you ever try to sell your property a licensed inspector will notice if you have made any shortcuts.

 

So no matter how big or small your project is always make sure to hire a professional to protect you, your property and any future investments.Hire-a-Professional

Basic Types Of Lighting

BASIC TYPES OF LIGHTING

Types of lighting

There are so many different types of light bulbs and lighting options and each serves their own purpose and has their own positives and negatives. First you should know a bit about how light bulbs run.

Watts and lumens

When looking at lights you will hear a lot of talk about lumens and watts; lumens are the amount of light emitted from a bulb, so the more lumens the brighter the light and a standard 100-watt bulb produces 1600 lumens. Watts are the amount of energy a light bulb uses, so the lower the watt the lower your electric bill would be. At the end of the day you want to find a light bulb that has a high level of lumens and a low level of wattage.  You can generally find out the amount of wattage and lumens a bulb has by looking at the lighting facts label that should be on every light.

Colours of light

It is also good to know the different light colours. The colours of a light bulb are measured on the Kelvin (K) temperature scale. The lower the kelvin number the more yellow the light would be, while the higher the kelvin number the whiter the light would be.  There are three main types of light colours:

  1. Warm white- 2500K-4100k (standard colour of incandescent bulbs), which is best for bedrooms, living rooms or dens.
  2. Bright white or cool white- 3500k-4100k which is perfect for areas like kitchens, workspaces and bathrooms.
  3. Daylight- 5000k-6500k- this is the whitest and is generally best for reading in.

Types of lighting

Professionals lighting designers refer to three different types of light- General or ambient lighting, task lighting and accent lighting. Each again has their own specific function as shown below;

 

  • General or ambiance lighting- This type of lighting provides an area with overall illumination, it provides a comfortable level of brightness and enables you to perform tasks and move around safely. General lighting indoors can be achieved through the use of chandeliers, ceiling or wall mounted fixtures, recessed or track lights and floor and table lamps. Outdoor lighting can be achieved through spotlights, hanging fixture, post lanterns, wall lighting and recessed fixtures used in overhanging structures.

 

  • Task- Task lighting helps you to perform specific tasks and activities like reading, writing, cooking or homework. This type of lighting is generally achieved through recessed and track lighting, pendant lighting, portable lamps or desk lamps. This type of lighting should be free of any glare and shadows and should be bright enough to prevent eye strain.

 

  • Accent- This is the use of concentrated light on an area of subject to create a visual point of interest. Accent lighting is often used to spotlight architectural features, paintings, plants, sculptures or collectibles. It adds an extra element to the room and proper use of accent lighting can help make a room look larger. Creative effective accent lighting typically requires at least three times as much light on the point as the general lighting around it.

 

Related Tag: Perth Electrical Services