FAQ

1. How do I have no power at the power points if my lights are on?

The most likely problem is that your safety switch has tripped. To check if this is the problem you need to identify your safety switch in the switchboard. Your safety switch will have a ‘test’ button on the front of it. Reset the safety switch.

If it trips again, immediately follow these steps:

  1. Unplug and remove from the power point (simply switching off the power point will not work) the last electrical appliance that you were using and try to reset the safety switch. If this resolves the problem then have the appliance in question checked by us.
  2. If step 1 does not fix the problem then unplug ALL appliances in the house from their power points (simply switching off the power point will not work). Ensure that you also unplug the refrigerator, dishwasher, pool equipment (don’t worry about hard wired items) and if you live on acreage, the grey water pump and mains pressure water pump if applicable. Try to reset the safety switch again. If step 2 has resolved your problem then plug in a radio and turn it up so that you can hear it throughout the house. Plug the appliances in one by one. The faulty appliance will trip the safety switch and the radio will go silent. Unplug that item and have it repaired by us. Reset your safety switch, you have found the fault.
  3. If step 2 does not rectify the problem then check to ensure that ALL appliances are unplugged (simply switching off the power point will not work) and try step 2 again. If you cannot find the fault then call a qualified electrician and request an urgent service call.

 

 

 

 

2. How do I know if my smoke alarm needs replacing and where do I install them?

Two types of smoke alarms are commonly found in Australian homes; Photoelectric and Ionisation. It is important to note that currently both types can be legally purchased and used, as both meet the required Australian Standard AS3786. However, for a number of years now, photoelectric smoke alarms have been the only type recommended by Australian Fire Authorities and Fire Brigades, as well as the International Association of Fire Fighters. In fact, a global campaign is now calling for a total ban of ionisation alarms.

For that last 2 years we have been using Photoelectric Smoke Alarms for New homes, replacement or adding to existing homes.

Highly recommend replacing smoke alarms older the 8 years as this is the life span of smoke Alarm.

Batteries replaced once a year and tested.

Hard wired smoke alarms should have a green light and can be easily swapped over to a Photoelectric if older than a few years for your peace of mind

Smoke alarms shall be interlinked and positioned in every out room, passage from bedrooms, so all smoke alarms are triggered and operate together.

But what’s the difference and why are photoelectric detectors so highly recommended? For the most part, it’s all about how they detect fires and importantly, how quickly they respond.

Photoelectric Smoke Alarms

These alarms detect visible particles of combustion so it is often said that they ‘see’ smoke. They work by aiming a light source into a sensing chamber so that when smoke particles enter the chamber, light is reflected onto the sensor, triggering the alarm.

The fact is that in both the real world and controlled instance of smoke alarm testing, they have been proven to be more effective and respond significantly faster to smouldering fires. These are fires which are slower burning and produce a lot of smoke, the most common type in the home environment. The faster you can be alerted, the more precious time you have to get yourself and your family to safety. They are also less likely to emit false alarms from cooking or steam in the bathroom.

Ionisation Smoke Alarms

These alarms are said to ‘smell’ the smoke that comes from flames, in that they detect invisible particles of combustion. As opposed to photoelectric alarms, these work through a small amount of radioactive material that exists between two electrically charged plates. This material ionises the air, causing a current between the plates. When smoke enters the chamber, the flow is disrupted, activating the alarm.

While they are not generally recommended over photoelectric detectors, they do activate more quickly for fast flaming fires. The disadvantages however are significant. They are slower to respond to smouldering fires, which can lead to visibility and breathing difficulties when occupants are attempting to escape a house fire. They are also prone to more false alarms, resulting in people removing the battery and thereby losing all protection.

Contact us

If you have any questions in relation to smoke alarms, home fire safety or the change-over offer, please don’t hesitate to contact us on 08 87622 775 or email us at sales@donnaselectrical.com.au.

3. Is a circuit breaker and a safety switch the same thing?

No. A circuit breaker is designed to limit the flow of electricity through a given circuit in your home, thus reducing the possibility of a fire due to overloaded circuits. A safety switch is designed to save lives by interrupting the flow of electricity quickly.

4. Is my switch board safe. Do I need safety switches and how do i test them?

Any alteration to power or lighting circuits shall have a separate individual safety switch for that circuit.

All new homes must have safety switches protecting all power points and lighting circuits.

Any New home or renovation from 2017, all circuits to be protected by individual safety switch.

If you don’t have a safety switch and have fuses or circuit breakers. First and most important - you should invest in safety switches, protect you home and any person from electric shock and fire.

If you have one safety switch as this was the best cheapest alternative back in the day (a safety switch was better than no safety switch) sometimes these cause nuisance tripping eg. all power goes out when a fault accrues or small leakage in appliances over too many circuits trip.

If your safety switch is protecting more than three circuits (breakers or fuses).

We recommend getting that switch tested ‘at the least’ and recommend upgrading by installing individual safety switches to prevent nuisance tripping ‘problems that take all circuits in a fault’, this will Save time and electrician call outs to save fault finding.

Invest in safety by Investing in safety switches to protect your home before it is too late contact us.

5. My light switch ‘zaps’ when I turn it on. Is this dangerous?

Arching light switches can be caused by a number of problems. Have a qualifid electrician check the problem and rectify it if necessary.

6. My light switch feels hot to touch. Is this dangerous?

Yes. Have it checked as soon as possible by a qualified Electrician.

7. My lights flicker continually. Is this dangerous?

Yes. A flickering light is normally an indication of a loose connection in the fitting or light switch. Loose connections can overheat and cause a fire. Have the problem checked by a qualifid electrician as soon as possible.

8. My power point feels hot to touch. Is this dangerous?

If you have anything plugged into the power point then disconnect it straight away. If the power point is still hot to touch then have it checked as soon as possible by a qualified electrician

9. What is a kilowatt/hour?

A kilowatt/hour is a unit of electricity. It is the multiple of the amount of power (in watts) that you use, multiplied by the time that you use it. For instance, if you have a heater rated at 1000 watts (1 kilowatt) and you have that heater switched on for one hour then you would have used one kilowatt/hour. Likewise a 100 watt (.1 kilowatt) lamp switched on for 10 hours would also be a kilowatt/hour.

10. What is a surge diverter and how does it work?

A surge diverter is a piece of equipment that diverts excess voltages (caused by spikes in the electrical supply) to earth, thus protecting sensitive electrical and electronic equipment. The surge diverter is normally installed in the main switchboard, although you can have surge diverter power points that protect items plugged into that point and if connected to do so, then the power points downstream of it as well. The surge diverter ‘shunts’ voltages over 260 volts AC to ground, stopping most power spikes from causing any damage. A surge diverter may not protect your equipment from a direct lightning strike on your home. The chances of your home being struck by lightning are not high!

11. What is a tariff?

A tariff is a levy or cost that is imposed by the electricity distributor (AGL etc) for the use of electricity. The actual cost of the electricity is made up of the number of kilowatt/hours that you use multiplied by the tariff, for example, if you use 100 kilowatt/hours of electricity and it costs you $0.20c per kilowatt/hour then your electricity account will be $20.

12. What should I do if my ‘power’ circuit breaker trips continually in winter?

If any circuit breaker trips, it is a sign that the circuit is overloaded. This usually happens more often in winter as heaters are plugged into power points. Try plugging your heater into another power point preferably on the other side of the house (adjacent power points are normally connected to the same circuit). If this does not fix the problem them you may need to have an additional circuit installed. Give us a call or email for a quotation to carry out this work.

13. What should I do if my hot water is cold?

First check the circuit breaker to ensure that it is not tripped. If so, try to reset it. If the circuit breaker trips immediately or soon after then contact a qualified electrician and arrange a service call.

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