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

 

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.

 

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!

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 any 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

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.

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

Smoke-Alarm-Safety

CHANGES IN SMOKE ALARM LEGISLATION- KEEP UPDATED

Living in Australia has its danger the animals, the bugs and spiders but also the heat. This is why ensuring that your home or property is protected through smoke alarms is so important. There has been a recent change in smoke alarm laws for 2017. This is mainly due to the Slacks Creek house fire that claimed the lives of 11 people. The changes to legislation are outlined below or can be found by following this link https://www.commerce.wa.gov.au/publications/smoke-alarm-laws

 

What properties need a smoke alarm?

The Building Regulations 2012 requires the owner of a property to have compliant smoke alarms installed prior to the transfer or sale of ownership, if a property is rented or made available for rent and where a property is available for hire.

How do I ensure a smoke alarm is compliant?

  • The smoke alarms must be in accordance with the building code of Australia (BCA)
  • They are no more than 10 years old
  • Are in working order
  • Are hardwired into the mains power of the property

All alarms must be interconnected except for properties that were approved for construction prior to May 1st, 2015.

What types of properties need to have compliant smoke alarms?

Class 1A- A single dwelling

  • Detached house
  • Row of houses
  • Duplexes
  • Town houses
  • Terrace house/ Villa units

Class 1B- Multiple dwellings

  • Boarding houses
  • Guest houses
  • Hostels
  • Tourist parks
  • Farmstays
  • Holiday resorts
  • Cabins in caravan parks

Class 2- Units (two or more units)

  • Apartments
  • Flats

Class 4- A residential unit in a non residential building

  • Caretaker’s residence

Where should smoke alarms be located?

Smoke alarms should not be located near cooking appliances and bathrooms as it is more likely to cause a false alarm. In most properties alarms should be placed either on the ceiling or as close to the ceiling as possible and in the path of travel that people will most likely take to evacuate the building.

For class 1A properties alarms must be placed on all levels, in hallways leading to bedrooms and in locations of the bedrooms and other areas (even if on the same level).

For class 1B properties alarms must be installed in every bedroom, all hallways or corridors that lead to bedrooms and on every storey.

For class 2 and 4 properties are very similar to class 1A properties. Further information on locations for alarms can be found at http://www.abcb.gov.au/ and see below for diagrams.

Can I still used battery powered smoke alarms?

With the new legislation there are a few exceptions that allow battery powered alarms to be installed. Generally when installing these units you will need local government approval. Again exceptions to this are if the mains power is not connected to the property or if there is no space in the property to run the necessary wiring for hard wired smoke alarms (for example properties with concrete ceilings).

What type of smoke alarms am I allowed to install?Smokealarm1

Apart from battery operated and hardwired alarms there are two types of hard wired alarms that are approved for install, they are ionisation and photoelectric alarms.

Ionisation alarms use a small amount of radioactive material to create an electrical current, when there is smoke around the alarm it interferes with the current setting off the alarm.

Photoelectric alarms work in a similar way but uses a light source instead of radioactive material and when that light source is interrupted the alarm sounds.

Out of these two The department of Fire and Emergency Services recommend the use of photoelectric alarms.

Who can install smoke alarms?

All hard wired alarms must be installed or uninstalled by a licensed electrician and only approved battery operated alarms can be installed without a professional.

How to maintain smoke alarms?

To ensure alarms work they should be tested and maintained regularly. We recommend that you:

  • Test each alarm once per month; to learn how to test your alarm click here
  • Check the alarm for any build-up of dust and cobwebs and clean with a vacuum at least every six months
  • Use surface insect spray around the alarm to prevent insects nesting inside
  • Replace batteries annually
  • Smoke alarms should never be painted
Energy

HOW MUCH ENERGY MANAGEMENT AND RENEWABLE ENERGY ACTUALLY HELP

With technology rapidly growing we all have better options that not only save our planet from global warming but also save our wallets. Here at Camtec we place a lot of emphasis on our renewable and energy management systems.

 

Renewable energy- solar power

Sometimes we see deals that are too good to be true, and as a leading electrical company in Perth we know all too well how unsure some customers are with the possible benefits of solar; but rest assured this isn’t a scam you can save a lot of money off your bills through the use of solar power. Solar panels work by converting the sun’s rays into electricity and storing that electricity until it’s used so the only time you ever tap into the local power grid is when you run out, and with over 8 hours of sun that we get in Perth each day that would rarely ever happen. Since you only have to pay for a fraction of the day when you tap into the grid you save hundreds to thousands of dollars depending on your lifestyle and where you live. For example if you have a general 3 kilowatt system installed you can save between $1128 and $1030 off of your electricity bill! This is just for homes, in businesses with access to larger kilowatts you could save even more.

There has also been a record low in solar panel costs that only seem to be dropping even more! With growing technology production costs are cheaper and the units can hold larger amounts of electricity so now is definitely the time to get some solar in your home or business.

 

Energy management

There are many different options for energy management in homes and businesses. These can range from installing complete smart wiring system to installing automatic lights. The options are endless and completely customisable to suite your needs and lifestyle.

To explain further; smart wiring systems basically connect your entire house together through a wireless dashboard that you can access on many devices such as your phones or tablets, the main pro of these systems however is that they make your home “future proof”. This means that no matter how technology grows your home will be able to accommodate the rapid changes. Other simpler management systems are things such as automatic lights that turn on or off through sensors or timers or wireless air conditioning and home security controls. The main way these systems help with the bills and the environment is the easy access; common household appliances can automate to turn off in case you’re forgetful for instance lights. I mean who hasn’t accidentally left a light on all day or worse an air con.

So you no longer have to worry about forgetting or your children forgetting because you can set it up and control however YOU want to!

 

All these systems from solar to smart wiring are easy to install and won’t break the bank so what’s stopping you from looking into improving your home or business?

For more information on the systems listed above or if you are looking for a quote just follow the link below.

 

Related Tags: Electrical Services Perth

WAYS TO SAVE ENERGY AND ELECTRICITY

At Camtec we offer a variety of solutions and advice on how you can save your energy and your bills. One of the most common ways we and others supply this is through smart wiring systems.

 Basically smart wiring systems “future proof your home” meaning that no  matter how much technology advances and changes you will be able to use it all!

Save-Money

Smart wiring has many capabilities that can be customised and designed to suite your needs. These include being able to remotely access a dashboard to control 

turning on/off lights as well as timing them, operating your air cons, security systems and smart technologies such as Smart TV’s, home aids and more! Smart wiring allows you to access and control you home from far away when you’re at work or even if you’re too comfy on your couch to move. These systems are also relatively simple to install as they are made out of ordinary copper wires.

Smart wiring uses copper wires over others such as optic fibre or wireless systems as it is more economical to install, more durable and reliable and can also carry a lot more data.

 

The great thing about smart wiring though is that at Camtec we customise your smart system to suite you and your lifestyle perfectly. This also means that we can follow your wish list, deal breakers and budgets to the letter.

 

 

 

Another more common option of course is renewable energy such as solar or wind power. These systems are well known for not only protecting our planet but also massively reducing power bills. This is because apart from actually purchasing the unit and paying for the install there is little to no future cost. This means after the install you only have to pay for electricity when you access the grid and in Perth with the amount of sun we get, that rarely ever happens.

Save-Electric-1If you’re not up to doing installations in your home there are other ways to reduce your electricity that don’t cost anything. Here are some of our top tips:

  1. Only adjust your air con to a few degrees higher or lower than 26 (the optimal temperature for the human body) it may take longer to cool down or heat up but it will be the perfect temp and will reduce your power usage
  2. Curtains- You close them when you’re hot and open them when you’re cold to keep the heat out or in
  3. Ceiling fans- Are the more cost effective way to keep cool without using an air con in summer so you don’t boil at night
  4. TV brightness- a lot of TV will have their brightness set to max without even needing it, so make sure you check the level on your TV to save you some spending money.

These are our main ways to protect your electricity bill no matter the season. If you are interested in looking at installing smart wiring in your home or maybe some solar panels then follow the link below to our site for more information.

Related Tags: Electrical Companies in Perth

WHY SOLAR?

As one of the leading electrical companies in Perth we get a lot of questions about solar and renewable energy so here’s a bit about how solar actually works and why they are so easy and cheap to install!

Solar Panel

How do solar panels work?

Solar panels get their power through photovalic cells this simply means that the cells convert sunlight into electricity. Photovalic cells work by allowing photons- or particles of lights to knock electrons free from atoms; this movement or chain reaction is what creates electricity. The structure of the cells can be described as a sandwich- two slices of bread and some filling between. The two slices of breads consist of different materials. Both sides are generally made of silicon however much like a magnetic field each slice of bread needs to have opposite poles (one negative and one positive). In order to do this one side has phosphorous added to the top layer (giving it a negative charge), the other slice has boron added (to create a positive charge). The sandwich filling is made up of multiple components which actually catch the electricity being created. Although there are other types of solar power such as thermal or concentrated, this method is what you will commonly see in solar panels.

 

Why should I install solar panels?

Homes in Perth soak up about 8 hours of sunlight a day giving us access to a mountain of energy through solar power. The best part though is that the costs of solar panels are actually reducing. As a major installer our Perth electricians always shock (pun intended) our customers with how affordable going solar actually is.

The main reason many are going solar is because they notice this price drop that not only helps the environment but also the wallet. The main cause for this price drop is that the cost of production has dropped and keeps dropping.  For example in 2011 it cost about $1.31 a watt, jump forward to 2014 it costed $0.50 a watt! Solar panels are a cheap alternative that gives you access to unlimited energy and almost all Perth electricians have in depth experience in these services due to it growing popularity.

Although install prices are dropping this is not the only reason why the people of Perth are opting for solar. The fact is that installing solar panels is an investment. The graph below shows a perfect example. The graph is of the power usage of a home in Canberra that had solar panels installed. Now when the units are installed the only future costs would be for upgrades or upkeep, so basically there’s not a lot of costs, you will only need to pay for energy from the grid as a backup if your solar panels have no storage of power left. Which lets be honest Australia does get quite a bit of sun. So the orange line of the graph is what we want to focus on, this line show the exact times that the home connected to the power grid.

Solar Installation1

As you can see it rarely ever had to connect so the homeowners only had to pay for electricity for those short periods of time. How amazing is that!

 

So you can see here that installing solar is the future and the best option for all homes and properties. As prices continue to plummet and technology improves we could probably run on renewable energy alone and won’t have to pay another cent on electricity bills again.

 

For more information CLICK HERE to visit our website!

WHAT SMOKE ALARMS SHOULD I GET? AND HOW DO I MAINTAIN THEM?

All homes in Australia are required to have smoke alarms because let’s face it; it does get a bit warm down under. This means that understanding your needs for new alarms or getting to know the alarms you might already have is extremely important.

 

Perth gets extremely hot which is why we recommend to always getting an opinion from a qualified Perth technician.

The first thing you need to know is that there are two types of smoke alarms, they are battery operated alarms and hard wired alarms. However due to a change in legislation you may be required to install a specific alarm type

Battery operated alarms

Smoking AlarmThese types of alarms are mainly found in older properties both domestic and commercial as they do not meet the minimum requirements and legislation outlined by FESA. This is because they are less expensive than their counterpart. Although cheaper they can still be effective but mainly in the short term,  and for additional protection as a backup in non-mandatory areas which is why if you are purchasing or already have these units installed it is important to constantly check your alarms and re-install new ones about every five  years or sooner if they fault. On the plus side however these alarms are also very easy to install and purchase which means you can decide where and how many you would like on you property. Although this is the case we do recommend getting an electrician or someone with experience in order to determine the best choices in regards to location and amount.

 

 

 

 

Pros Cons
  • Inexpensive
  • Shorter life span
  • More customisable
  • Requires a lot of maintenance
  • Able to DIY
  • No backup if batteries stop working

 

Hard wired installed alarms

If you are concerned about your fire safety then getting hard wired installed alarms is the best way to go. These alarms are on the pricier side but for good reason. They are installed and wired into your home’s electrical circuits by licensed electricians. This ensures the longevity and quality of your alarm system and the comfort of knowing an experienced professional has organised the installation. These units do not require as much maintenance as the other system as they are fully wired in and do not solely run off of batteries. They do however also include a battery backup in case of power outages or wiring faults which can occur meaning you are completely secure at all times. As fire safety is such a concern in WA many licensed Perth electricians including our own have great experience and knowledge in this area, which means you know you are getting the best of the best.

 

Pros Cons
  • Longer life span
  • More expensive- but can you put a price on your family’s safety?
  • More secure
  • Less customisable
  • Installed in optimum locations
  • If any faults occur you will have to pay to get it fixed
  • Always has a backup

 

Checking my smoke alarmsChecking Smoke Alarms

Both types of systems are designed similarly when it comes to manually checking your alarms are still working. Majority of all systems now have a button placed on the outside of the unit. By pressing this button the alarm will sound and either stop pressing the button or pressing it again will stop the alarm. If the alarm sounds your unit is definitely in working order, however if no alarm sounds that is when you should either replace the unit (if battery operated) or get an electrician in as soon as possible to thoroughly check it (if manually installed).

The best and most secure way to test an alarm however is to engage a qualified electrician to inspect the unit, test the unit with specialised test equipment and finally spray artificial smoke near the alarm to simulate a real life fire condition and prove 100% the alarm is operational.

 

Contact one of our friendly staff for more information, or to arrange a safety check.