Dingy, discoloured outlets? Outlets that won’t hold a plug? Here’s how to tell when it’s time to give up the ghost and replace those tired, old outlets…
How to Know When to Replace Outlets
From visual to functional cues, these signs indicate it’s time to replace the outlets in your home:
You insert a plug in an outlet and it falls out
If the slots of an outlet are loose, and plugs fall out no matter what appliance is connected, the contacts within the outlet are worn. This may not seem like a big deal, but the missed/loose connections created by worn outlets can cause electrical arcing and put you at major risk of house fires. If you notice plugs falling out of problem outlets, it’s definitely time for a replacement.
Outlets feel hot to the touch
Outlets that feel hot to the touch are a sure sign of electrical trouble, indicating loose, damaged, or worn wires hidden behind the walls that pose a huge fire hazard.
Your outlets are discoloured from heat
If an outlet or the surrounding wall are discoloured, this is a giant flashing warning sign your outlet may be burned, damaged, or improperly installed. Short circuits commonly leave scorch marks and melt plastics surrounding the receptacle and can quickly result in a fire. Never attempt to use a discoloured outlet. Cut power to the outlet at the panel and contact an electrical professional to have it inspected and addressed immediately.
You plug in an appliance and see a spark, smoke, or smell something burning
Any of the above signs are a clear indicator your outlets should be immediately inspected and replaced due to short circuit or water exposure. Sizzling or popping sounds are especially worrisome, indicating a fire waiting to happen. Turn off power to the outlet at the panel, and have your outlets inspected as soon as possible.
Your GFCI outlet s don’t trip when tested
If you press the TEST button and GFCI outlets don’t trip (and you’re sure they have power/the breaker hasn’t tripped), they’re no longer protecting you and should be immediately replaced. Ditto if you hit the TEST button, the outlet is tripped, but the RESET button won’t restore power. GFCIs only last about 10 years – five in areas prone to storms and power surges. Replace effected outlets with a new GFCI as soon as possible, as these speciality outlets are essential to safeguarding lives in areas of your home exposed to water. Once your outlets are replaced, test them monthly – quarterly at a minimum.
The automatic garage door opener is one of those home systems that is so simple and effortless to use that it’s easy to take for granted. But if you’ve ever pulled into the driveway and pressed the button to no avail, you know that things can go wrong and garage door openers can require replacement.
Garage doors are big, heavy moving objects, which means they can be dangerous. While household accidents involving garage doors aren’t common, you can have greater confidence that your garage door and opener are in good working order with a two-minute inspection every few months and a little light maintenance once a year.
All garage door openers have some sort of safety feature that stops them from closing the door on a person or object. If you don’t trigger this feature often, you should make a point of testing it every few months.
Some garage door openers have an auto-reverse mechanism that detects when the door comes into contact with an obstruction. On more modern systems, infrared sensors detect when someone or something is in the path of the door, which signals the door to reopen without contacting anything.
To test this feature, always use an object like a yardstick or a baseball bat to interrupt the door’s path. Never use your body. If the auto-reverse doesn’t engage, check for infrared sensors on either side of the doorframe to ensure they’re clean and aligned with one another. You may need to measure the distance between each sensor and the floor to see if adjustment is necessary. If auto-reverse still doesn’t work, it’s time to schedule repairs.
Your garage door opener should also have a manual release — a bright red plastic handle dangling from the drive chain mechanism overhead. If your power ever goes out or your garage door opener breaks, you can open your garage door manually by first pulling the manual release. It’s a good idea to familiarize yourself with the manual release and the process for re-engaging the automatic door opener, so check your manual for instructions.
Just a Checkup
All the important parts of your garage door system are out in the open, so a quick visual inspection should be all you need to spot some of the most common types of wear. The most important parts to inspect are:
Torsion springs, located above the door
Extension springs, located along the tracks
Tracks and rollers
Door panel hinges
Look for corrosion, damage or deformation, especially in springs. If you see the damage, arrange for repairs from a certified professional. Handy homeowners may be able to perform these types of repairs themselves, but if you have any doubts about your abilities, place your trust in those with proper training. A garage door only needs to be slightly out of alignment to cause real problems!
About once a year, it’s helpful to wipe the garage door tracks clean with a soft cloth. These tend to stay about as clean as the air in your garage, but they do collect dust and dirt which can affect the smooth opening of the door if it accumulates.
It’s also important to periodically lubricate metal moving parts, including springs, hinges and bearings. Use a silicone-based spray lubricant on these parts, but take care not to get it on plastic rollers or in the tracks. If you start hearing screeching or scraping noises while your door opens and closes, that’s a sign you need to lubricate the system.
Closed for Business
If your garage door suddenly won’t open at all, the first thing to do is check the batteries in the remote or try using the wall switch. If that’s not the problem, check the circuit breaker to make sure it hasn’t tripped. You should contact an electrician for help if the problem continues or if your garage door is opening and closing at unexpected times. It could be interference from nearby radio signals, but this could also be a sign of an electrical problem with the garage door opener itself.
If you have a look at phones from the past decades, you can see a major difference. For example, the phones that were used in the 80’s are vastly different from an iPhone. They are different in so many different ways. But one of the things that makes them so much more efficient than a brick phone from the 80’s, is that the iPhone is wireless. It needs no wires at all for you to be able to utilise a number of different uses and applications. Wireless devices and wireless functionality, in general, is one of the pioneering forces of the technology age, the object you’ve created can’t reach the higher echelons of gadgetry unless it is wireless.
Inductive Charging: How It Works?
One of the technologies being utilised more and more is the process of inductive charging. Which is when an Induction charger uses a coil to create an alternating electromagnetic field from within a charging base. There is then an induction coil, also in the portable device, and it takes power from the electromagnetic field and converts it back into electric current to charge the battery. The energy is transferred between the coils by the phenomenon of mutual induction, which is similar to the transformer action.
We are so enshrined to think that to charge something it must have a power source plugged into it, to enable it to receive power and energy. But those technicians that have created and are improving the nature of inductive charging are breaking this myth with the use of mutual induction that permits wireless charging. This technology, once thought to be impossible, is now powering phones, industrial devices and even heavy-duty equipment.
It can be expected that we will see a lot more of this sort of revolutionising of charging in the years to come. It has the potential to be cost-effective, it is easy to use and there is less potential to break. And (which is what drives most of these implementations of it thus far) it is easy to use you don’t have to pay for the research paper about inductive charging to know how it works. It also looks the part, imagine being at a party and just placing your phone down onto a sleek black pad and having it light up, notifying you that it has begun to charge. The coolness factor of it has already been enough for Nokia and Samsung to integrate it into their phones.
Applications Of Wireless Charging Or Inductive Charging
This technology is seen as a revolutionary method of charging in technological circles and is already utilised in a number of products, including the Apple watch, the Nokia Lumia 820 and an Oral-B toothbrush. This revolution is not just for phones, but for a variety of electrical machines. It is revolutionary enough integrating a wireless charging capability in a phone. Imagine if your power drill was wirelessly charged, or even your electric car just had to be parked up in a certain spot for a while before you could drive it away with a full battery. The fact that the process has already been used on handheld industrial equipment and even some larger industrial machines is huge and shows us that this technology, that seems problematic, can be used to charge and power large devices.
Reviews Of Wireless Charging
The quality of its use is also surprisingly good, reviews of the wireless functionality of the Nokia Lumia 920 state that it’s ‘convenient’, and that ‘charging takes a little longer than it would a normal charger’ but that this doesn’t dampen the application of a revolutionary charging method to provide efficiency. And on the Samsung S5, reviewers said that it ‘actually worked consistently’, and that the price tag was enough to justify labelling it a wireless charging option with real financial value. Of course, this is very significant, being that when people imagine wireless chargers they instantly see dollar signs, and expect that particular function to cost them a lot more money. But, it comes to just $25 extra to add that functionality to the Samsung S5.
I for one dream of the day I can just leave my phone on a small pad, pick it up an hour later and have the ability to walk away and write my paper I need to write, text friends, email colleagues, video call parents, absolutely anything imaginable. And all I had to do was place my phone onto a charging dock (not even straight or in a regimented position at all!) and let the induction coils do their thing. It really is a glimpse into the future, and it’s being used more and more right now.
A terminal block (also called a connection terminal or terminal connector) is a modular block with an insulated frame that secures two or more wires together. It consists of a clamping component and a conducting strip. A typical simplest terminal block is as shown in the image below.
The insulating body of a terminal block houses a current carrying element (a metal strip or terminal bar). It also provides a base for clamping element. The body has a mounting arrangement so that the block can be easily mounted on or unmounted from a PCB or a mounting rail. Most terminal blocks are usually modular and mounted on DIN rail. That allows us to increase the number of terminals according to the requirements. Terminal blocks keep connections much more secure and wire’s well organized.
Types Of Terminal Blocks
Electrical terminal blocks can be classified on the basis of structure, device type, termination options etc.
Single level pass-through terminal blocks: These are simply used to connect two wires together, i.e. wire-to-wire connection. These are also called as single feed terminal blocks. Single level terminal blocks are of the most simple type having one input contact and one output contact.
Dual level terminal blocks: These blocks have another level of connection terminal stacked on the first one. This arrangement is generally used to save space.
Three level terminal blocks: Just like dual level blocks, these have an extra level at the top. An advantage of using multilevel blocks is that multiple connections can be made in the same block.
Ground Terminal Blocks
These blocks often look like a single level feed through terminals. The exception is that these blocks and the metal connection where the wire is terminated are grounded to the panel or DIN rail on which the block is mounted.
Fused Connection Terminals
These are similar to the pass-through blocks with an exception of the metal connection strip is replaced with a fuse. Therefore, the wires will be connected through a fuse providing an added protection.
Thermocouple Terminal Blocks
These are designed to accept thermocouple lead connections. Some thermocouple connectors essentially clamp the thermocouple leads together on both sides of the block, eliminating the metal connection strip inside the block. However, in some thermocouple blocks, the metal connection strip of the same metal as that of the wire may be present.
I/O Blocks And Sensor Blocks
I/O blocks are used to make a connection between a device and a controller. Whereas, sensor blocks handle three or four wire devices such as proximity sensors.
Disconnect Terminal Blocks
These blocks allow wires to be easily disconnected just by lifting a lever or knife switch. They can be used for convenient disconnection and connection without removing the wires. They are also known as switch blocks.
Power Distribution Blocks
These blocks are used in electrical power distribution. An electric power distribution terminal block is a convenient, economical and safer way to distribute power from a single input source to multiple outputs. One large wire is connected to the input terminal of the block and multiple output terminals are provided at the output. This way, wires are well arranged in a control panel giving it a neat, clean and professional look.
Clamping Options In Terminal Blocks
Screw terminal: Screw clamp terminals are the most common type of connection method. The wire or conductor is simply pressed against the conductor strip in the block by tightening the screw. Screw terminals accommodate a very wide range of wire or conductor sizes.
Spring clamp: These type of terminals use spring pressure to retain the wire clamped. Spring clamps are a newer alternative to screw clamps and are generally used for relatively small wires.
Push-in terminal blocks: Push-in terminals allow you to connect a wire simply by inserting it. Most push-in terminals require the use of a ferrule. A ferrule strengthens the end of the wire/conductor. However, some push-in terminal blocks allow to insert a solid conductor directly or a stranded conductor by inserting a screwdriver into the release hole.
Insulation Displacement Connector (IDC): These connectors do not require us to strip the insulation for contact. We simply need to insert the wire without stripping the insulation, and the two sharp metal blades inside the terminal will cut through it to the conductor making proper contact.
Barrier terminal block: These are used where vibration is an issue. A spade or ring terminal is attached to the wire and then inserted into a bolt and tightened with a nut on the terminal block. This prevents loosening of the wire due to vibrations.
When one of your appliances starts showing signs of disrepair, you might think the trouble is confined to that appliance only. But that’s not necessarily true — there are some ways in which a faulty appliance can send surges of electricity into your home’s electrical system, and the resulting damage can range from a tiny bit of wear and tear on other appliances to a destructive electrical fire.
With these consequences in mind, it’s important to discontinue use of an appliance if you suspect there’s a real problem. Seek out a repair professional who can fix the underlying issue and give you the all-clear to plug it in again.
What’s the Worst That Can Happen?
When a fizzling appliance sends a significant burst of electricity into your electrical system, your circuit breaker should trip. If you weren’t expecting this, a tripped circuit breaker may be your earliest sign that something is wrong.
It’s also an important safety mechanism designed to prevent further electrical damage, so you shouldn’t just flip the breaker back on while ignoring the root cause. Doing so will only create more opportunities for electrical damage.
Even with the protection of your circuit breakers, malfunctioning appliances can potentially cause you problems in three ways: surge damage, physical damage and fire damage.
Chances are that you use a surge protector in conjunction with your home computer, and possibly with your television and other home theatre electronics. Perhaps you even have whole-home surge protection installed. This technology protects sensitive microprocessors that can be easily damaged by power surges, which can originate with lightning strikes or power outages.
But those surges can also take place internally, and this happens every day — appliances like air conditioners and refrigerators typically use an excess of energy when they initially switch on, sending small surges of power to other appliances on shared circuits. Faulty appliances can sometimes send much larger surges.
When this happens, microprocessor-based electronics can receive permanent damage in an instant. They may also experience cumulative damage over time from smaller surges, which can reduce device lifespan.
Large surges can literally burn some electrical components, such as the delicate connectors in light switches and electrical outlets. When these components are replaced after this type of damage, you can often see the telltale scorch marks and melted plastic.
It takes only a fraction of a second for a flash like this to render a switch or outlet inoperable, and damage can occur even if your circuit breaker trips. You should always consult a licensed electrician to help you replace damaged components and track down the source of the surge.
In the worst-case scenario, a malfunctioning appliance will cause an electrical short that sparks a fire. These may be tiny fires that flare out on their own inside metal appliances, but depending on where they occur, they can ignite insulation, wallpaper, curtains or other materials that may allow them to spread quickly. This is why it’s so important to address appliance failures at the earliest signs of malfunction.
Besides proactive repairs, your best defence against this disaster is a combination of working smoke detectors, accessible fire extinguishers and fire safety education.
From flipping the light switch and turning on your phone to reheating a snack in the microwave, the everyday activities we take for granted utilise an essential energy source – electricity. Now that you stop and think about it, you might wonder how this power arrives at your home from once it’s been generated. As we’ll outline here, the electricity we take for granted makes a long journey from the power station to your home. So, here’s how it gets delivered to you…
Australia’s electricity grid
Australia’s electricity grid spans more than 4,500 kilometres, and that’s just the eastern and southern states. Western Australia, the Northern Territory, and Mount Isa in Queensland have individual transmission and distribution networks. With more than 40,000 km of transmission lines, the main electricity grid includes transmission and distribution elements that allow transportation across the vast distances to your home. Australia’s grid is relatively efficient, with an average of 5% of electricity lost through the transmission and distribution process. This is a relatively low figure compared to loss rates for other countries.
Electricity starts its life in a power station. Power stations are huge plants – often located near energy sources like natural gas plants, hydroelectricity dams, and solar or wind farms – that produce electricity. Depending on the type of fuel or source of energy input – whether it’s coal, solar, wind, or even nuclear – power plants may have components such as a furnace, boiler, turbine, cooling towers, and generators. These types of components are essential for the generation process.
Once the electricity is generated, it leaves the power station through overhead lines to large substations. At this stage, the electricity can be at as high as 25,000 volts or even higher.
First substation transformer
Substations are usually located near power stations. Substations play an important role in the electricity transmission process: they further increase the voltage of the current, allowing it to be sent over long distances without losing too much power. Substations do this by using transformers, and these can be used to either increase or decrease the voltage of electric currents. Decreasing the voltage of electricity can be important at distribution substations as it needs to be made less powerful and safe before it enters your house.
Once it passes through the first substation transformer, your electricity makes its way to the transmission networks.
The transmission networks help shift electricity from power stations on to distribution networks to facilitate delivery to households, businesses, and other end users. At this stage, the electricity remains at a high voltage since it still needs to move across vast distances.
The transmission networks are made up of overhead lines on metal pylons or lines buried under the ground. These lines are designed to carry ultra-high voltages and they’re insulated to prevent the electric current from accidentally moving to the ground, where it can be dangerous for people.
Second substation transformer
At the second substation transformer point, your electricity is reduced in voltage, again through the use of transformers, to make it safe for use by households and end users. At this point, the electricity is considered to have reached the distribution network and left the transmission network.
The type of substation and voltage can vary depending on the use and location. For example, in rural areas, smaller substations might be used to reduce the voltage to around 33,000 volts, which makes it suitable for powering trains and factories. In urban areas with factories, the voltage could range between 11,000 and 33,000 volts to serve smaller factories. Contrast with delivery to homes, offices, and business, where the neighbourhood transformer might lower the voltage to as little as 230 volts.
Distribution power lines
Once your electricity leaves the substation transformer, it enters distribution power lines on its way to the final destination. Power lines can be overhead or underground, and they’re a familiar sight in most areas around Australia. Once it reaches your neighbourhood, the electricity passes through a small pole-top transformer for another voltage reduction. This ensures it’s safe to use inside the home, office, or business.
Your electricity passes through the service drop and gets recorded at your metre. The metre tracks how much electricity you use. At your switchboard, your electricity gets divided up into circuits for each area of your house. Finally, the electricity moves through wires behind your walls to power outlets and switches, where you operate your lights and appliances.
It’s easy to take the electricity used to light your house for granted, but this precious energy source has travelled a long way, through the complex generation and transmission infrastructure, to get to your house. Knowing this, you’re probably less likely to take electricity for granted when you next switch on your light or power up the TV.
As the season slowly shifts from fall to winter, taking the time to prepare your home for cooler months is highly recommended. Proactive home maintenance can thwart unwanted disruption from unexpected bills and weather-related problems. Below are six areas of your home that should be considered when preparing your home for winter. Fireplaces For those ready to enjoy a true wood burning fireplace, having the chimney inspected before lighting it for the first time is always a good idea. Inspections can be done once a year and often signal the need for cleaning. Blockages accumulate in the form of soot and creosote. While soot can impact the performance of the fireplace, creosote is highly flammable and may lead to a chimney fire. Find a reputable chimney sweep to inspect and clean your fireplace. Furnaces and portable heaters Furnaces and heaters left unserviced are often those that quit working in the dead of winter. It is recommended to service a furnace annually. Preventing both health risks (like carbon monoxide leakages) and other malfunctions, furnace servicing would be irresponsible to ignore. A servicing might include ensuring the thermostats are working, looking for leaks, checking electrical connections, lubricating parts, and changing filters. Opting to service your furnace annually is an inexpensive endeavour when compared to the cost of the emergency services and living in the discomfort of the cold.
Drainage Rather than checking gutters and downspouts once in preparation for fall/winter, it is helpful to check on them regularly. Gutters and downspouts are responsible for diverting thousands of gallons of water away from the exterior and foundation of your home. During fall/winter leaves and debris fall off surrounding trees clogging gutters and wreaking havoc on your drainage system. Uncleared gutters can lead to serious exterior damage to your home including water ingress. Rust and corrosion are also possible when gutters are left unchecked. Windows and Doors To save energy, heat, and money, walk around your home to inspect the caulking on windows and doors. Check areas where masonry meets siding around doors and windows. Caulking should be present and free of cracks. When cracking is detected consider adding fresh caulking. Aside from keeping you warm, well-sealed windows and doors also eliminate the likelihood of mould. Seasonal home maintenance is similar to car maintenance. When ignored, the cost and disruption of putting off simple maintenance will balloon into unnecessary costly bills and frustrating life disruptions. Consider adding this checklist to your calendar and making this part of your annual winter prep routine.
One-off portable heater servicing!
At Camtec we have a great deal that runs all year round! Our one-off portable heater services mean that you only have to worry about one cost to check out your unit, with the no worry and no hassle of hidden charges. We will also be able to let you know if there are any faults with your unit and ensure it is working perfectly to keep you nice and toasty in the winter.
Relax!!! This problem does not mean you have a major wiring fault. This is a never-ending problem which has been looked into for donkey’s years. A wiring fault in your circuit will be picked up by fuses and MCB’s long before it gets to the bulb.
Difficult to detect and treat once the damage is done, carbon monoxide is known as the silent killer. This sneaky, toxic gas finds its way into your home through a wide range of seemingly harmless sources.
Purpose of an insulator is to prevent the unwanted flow of current from the energized conductor or conducting parts. Electrical insulation plays a vital role in every electrical system. An electrical insulator provides very high resistance so that practically no current can flow through it.