When it comes to deciding whether wireless or wired networks are best for your home or business, there are a number of aspects to consider. Ultimately, it depends on the needs of your business / lifestyle and internet usage at home. We have outlined some of the pros and cons of wireless vs. wired networks to consider before making a decision on what network solution works best for you.
You may be aware that in environments where hazardous elements are present (such as concentrations of flammable gases, vapours, mists or combustible dusts), all electrical equipment must be installed by a qualified hazardous area electrician with appropriate training and competency. This is not just a contractor who holds a standard electrical licence. Maintaining proper electrical equipment and installing preventative measures in these areas where potential explosions could happen is vital to the safety of anyone who may be working in these environments. If you’re thinking this doesn’t apply to your business, and your mate down the road can do the electrical installations for your workplace, keep reading.
When you think of a hazardous areas, you most likely think of chemical plants, oil refineries, paint manufacturers, sewage treatment plants, laboratory and fume cupboards, and similar. While yes, these are common ‘hazardous areas’, what you probably don’t realise is the number of other areas that can also be considered hazardous - even in your business’ work environment.
In electrical engineering, a hazardous area (also known as a potentially explosive atmosphere) is defined as “an environment that consists of any concentrations of flammable gases, vapours, mists or combustible dusts.” Yes, this typically means that those common areas listed above that spring to mind when we think of potentially explosive atmospheres are indeed hazardous, as harmful gases and vapours may be present, but also environments you may not consider such as food/beverage handling and manufacturing facilities, recycling operations, flour mills, grain handling and storage are potentially dangerous because of dust.
While you may think dust wouldn’t be an issue, 80% of all industrial dusts are combustible, and even a dust layer of 1mm in a closed room is enough to cause an explosion when the dust is swirled up and ignited. Poorly installed electrical equipment is one of the leading igniters, causing combustible dust explosions. This is why it’s absolutely essential to have your workspace designed, and inspected by experts in the industry. You need your workplace electrical equipment assessed, installed and maintained by a team of certified hazardous area electricians.
Our team at Ehlerth Electrical is dedicated to ensuring we uphold the highest level of certified training and safety in hazardous areas for commercial electrical installations to keep our team safe during these projects, while we work to keep your team safe in their future workspace.
We recommend to always work with a trusted, reliable team of electricians for work in hazardous areas. You don’t want someone who’s going to do a roundabout job and put the safety of your team and business at risk.
Photo: Crystal Kwok via Unsplash
Delivering high quality results while keeping within a client’s budget can be difficult when trying to build their dream home with all future proof features. It’s important to be proactive and consider a number of features for practicality and convenience that should be installed during the new build to save money in the long run and lengthen the life and value of the home.
Take solar panels for example, it’s better to have them planned for and installed during the new build, rather than 5 years down the track when the client is looking for ideas to cut down their electricity bill. Not only will the installation cost more later on, they would end up spending more altogether with their electricity build and installation costs combined.
Let’s take a look at other electrical installations / domestic specialties you should consider planning for and customising to suit your client’s lifestyle and wants for their dream house. Getting these features installed by a qualified and reliable electrical team during the build will save money and time later on, future proof the home, and make delivering the sought after features of the new build to the client even easier.
Solar panels are a very sought-after feature in new builds, but clients are often hesitant towards deciding whether or not they should get the solar panels installed during the build or after a few years to save money. However, solar panels are a more cost-effective investment on a new build rather than waiting 5 years down the track for installation. This is because you can factor in the most optimum location for the panels on the roof and work the placement of the TV aerial or any other units around the panels, rather than the other way around if they were to be installed later on.
Additionally, the cost the client saves on their electricity bill is more effective as it will start paying itself off a lot quicker than if it was installed later on. Not to mention, if the build is a multi-storey house, you can get the solar panels installed during the build, and avoid paying for scaffolding twice.
Smart Home Technology / Home Automation
Smart home tech gadgets like Google Homes and Amazon Echos have been rising in popularity over recent years, combined with smart light bulbs and the likes being easily accessible and simple to set up (Hey Google, turn off the lights), but there is actually even more out there in the world of home automation systems that can be incorporated into a new build to suit the client’s lifestyle and desired features.
Core elements of home automation include: lighting, heating and security for the home. There are so many features to explore that can add value to a new property, as well as add convenience to the homeowner’s life. While designing a smart home can be a bigger investment to make upfront, it’s worth it as it would replace some costs spent on conventional fixtures and wiring, as well as reducing the electricity bill later on (You can’t forget to turn the lights off when you leave the room if the lights turn themselves off.)
Integrated home automation features from smart window blinds, to smart heating, home security systems, and entertainment systems are much more cost-effective and streamlined to be integrated into a new build during the design/planning stage as opposed to later on as all considerations for switchboards and control panels can be futureproofed and adapted (Think: Electric car charging ports. It might seem far off now but these are features to consider for the future when anticipating how much power a switchboard can handle.)
Lighting options are one of the most important factors to consider when designing a new build. From the colours and types of bulbs, to outlet placements, to tailored lifestyle considerations, great lighting can truly transform a home and take it to the next level.
The average household dedicates 5% of its energy budget to lighting, so it’s important to consider which lighting option is most suitable for which rooms and lifestyles. Some of the most popular light bulbs available are halogen incandescents, compact fluorescent lamps (CFLs), and light-emitting diodes (LEDs). Although these options can cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs to begin with, they are much more energy efficient and will save more money and time spent replacing bulbs in the long run.
Plan for convenience by ensuring you have outlets anywhere the client plans to have holiday decorations / Christmas lights. Good spots include on the mantelpiece, recessed into bookcases, and in-ground outlets near the tree for easy access. Consider having all of these outlets on the same circuit so they can be switched on and off at once.
Lightswitch / Outlet placement
There are a number of important aspects to consider for outlet placement during the design stage. For example, adding exterior light switches outside of any dark storage areas to avoid having to stumble around in the dark to find the lightswitch; or ensuring there are enough outlets in the bathroom if the client plans to use a lot of hair styling tools - and even considering having USB outlets too if they often charge their phone at the same time. These are personal touches that can be tailored to each new build.
When planning a new build, you will most importantly consider the thermal efficiency of the home including heating, ventilation, cooling and airflow, amongst other considerations such as orientation of the floor plan, quality insulation, roof colours, window eaves and awnings to keep the house cool during the hot Summer season and keep the heat in during the colder months.
The best and most economically efficient solution to consider is ducted air conditioning which is most easily installed during a new build. Especially with multi-storey houses, ducted air conditioning usually cannot be installed later on unless planned for during the build as space must be allowed. There are many options to consider, from traditional to contemporary which can be seamlessly integrated into the new build plan.
Air conditioning can also be combined with smart home automations to ensure eco-functionality. It can ensure that it isn’t running throughout the day when no one is home, but can be switched on when you leave work for example, so that the house is all cool waiting for you when you get home during the Australian Summer.
When coupled with high quality building materials, proper insulation, and a well thought out home design, the costs for investing in a ducted system can be significantly less, along with providing greater property value, increasing lifestyle convenience and reducing future energy bills!
[Photo: Hutomo Abrianto via Unsplash]
Most of our clients, whether business or homeowners, have heard of Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting, know a little about it but haven’t taken the step to upgrading their spaces. Usually, it’s because they haven’t realised the incredible benefits gained by taking the step - from financial and environmental to pure convenience.
They’re designed for maximum efficiency and longevity, provide brilliant light and reduce your carbon footprint… and that’s just the beginning. We’ve put together a list of reasons you should upgrade your home or business to LED lighting...
Reduce your energy use by 85%
Halogen lights are hot (up to 300+ degrees celsius hot!), while LED downlights run on <80 degrees Celsius. You could be spending up to 95% of your lighting costs on heating a bulb and only 5% lighting it. If this isn’t reason enough, just keep on reading…
LED lights last up to 10 years and require no maintenance. What more do we need to say?! More time between changing light bulbs? No complaints here!
With electricity costs on the rise, LED’s reduce the amount of electricity you are using, therefore you protect yourself from spending more! According to www.energyrating.gov.au, the average household can save $102 by simply replacing 18 halogens with LEDs per year.
No toxic materials
General light bulbs contain pollutant ingredients and are definitely not enviro-friendly. LED’s contain no toxic materials and are 100% recyclable.
They’re durable AND look great!
LED’s are known for their sturdiness and durability, but you can also get creative with their flexibility to be combined into different configurations and shapes to produce whatever lighting effect you want! They offer a high level of control when it comes to colour and distribution, as well as being durable for both indoor and outdoor installation.
Once understanding the benefits of upgrading to LED lighting, the decision becomes pretty simple! You’ll be saving money, helping the environment and reducing your electricity costs - and a qualified electrician can facilitate the upgrade so that everything is up and running before you know it.
Thinking about upgrading?
Get in touch with Ehlerth Electrical via 1800 940 413 or www.ehlerthelectrical.com.au to find out more information - we’re available Brisbane and Gold Coast wide!
[photo via www.industralight.com.au]
Despite Queensland’s Winter not being any kind of snowy wonderland, the start of any season is a great time to do a general safety check around the home. It’s a quick process and ensures you and your family are kept safe as the months cool down this 2019.
Data from all Australian Fire Services show that the increased risk of house fires during Winter is often due to higher usage of electrical appliances. Simple steps such as checking for exposed wiring, frayed cords and loose connections on electrical appliances will help keep things safe (and warm!).
We’ve put together some of our top essential tips for keeping your house safe from electrical hazards this Winter…
Electric Heaters - safety first...
Heaters are one of the greatest users of electricity during Winter. It may seem obvious, but it’s worth reviewing and ensuring these safety practices are in place before the cold season hits:
Supervise kids and pets around heaters. Make sure the heater isn’t left anywhere it could be knocked over by your cat or toddler and that it’s on a stable, flat ground.
Check for any power cords or plugs damaged as well as dust build-up especially around filters. If your heater has been in storage during the warmer months, doing a thorough check of the condition is essential.
Ensure a 1 metre distance to wet clothing, curtains or any other potentially flammable materials.
Leaving the room? Turn the heater off! Make this your #1 Winter rule!
Electric blankets - remember the basics!
As snug as they are, electric blankets can be a huge electrical hazard during Winter time. A few things to always check when using a heated blanket include:
If you haven’t used your blanket since last year or earlier, double check the Australian Recalls Site to check it’s still good to use. ACCC stated an estimated 400,000 blankets have been deemed unsafe since 2010. Don’t risk it!
Checking for any hot spots when the blanket is warming up. Hot spots can indicate damage to the heating element and if so, should not be used.
When storing your blanket, ensure it is completely cooled down first and roll the blanket instead of folding - this ensures no damage to the heating elements inside.
Turn the blanket off at the powerpoint before getting into bed. Safety first!
Check your smoke alarms!
The most simple tip of them all, but one we often see left ’til last! Making sure your smoke alarm battery is up to date by pushing the button each week can be a literal life saver. Also, make sure alarms are clean and free from any dust or cobwebs as this can affect the durability and effectiveness. Did you know your smoke alarm should be changed every 10 years? How long have you had yours?
Extra tips to remember:
Use a portable outdoor gas heater? Outdoor heaters need regular safety checks and should be serviced every 2 years. If your heater is showing any signs of radiant panels that burn yellow, produce soot or if you see any gas flames, have it inspected before using.
Only use purpose-built heaters in bathrooms, wet areas and outdoors.
Do a thorough check of any appliances that have been packaged away in storage for some time. If they’re looking aged or show signs of any damage, have a licensed electrician inspect before using.
Test your safety switches!
We also recommend using the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services simple safety checklist - because being safe is worth the few minutes it takes! Check out the free checklist here.
Need electrical assistance or maintenance? We’re available throughout Brisbane and the Gold Coast 24/7. Contact us here or call us on 1800 940 413.
Taking your business solar can have a hugely positive long-term impact on much more than just your electricity bills.
As a business, you will also be reducing your costs and may be eligible to receive government payments for the electricity you generate and don’t use as well as tax advantages.
According to QLD Government, if your business’s monthly electricity bill sits around $2,000 - $5,000, you could save in excess of $7,000 per year in electricity by making the move to solar energy. You can also use the Solar Cost Calculator [click here] to get a better idea of your eligibility and suitability. We recommend checking out the calculator - you might be surprised!
Concerned your business is too small for solar to be beneficial? Even businesses with electricity bills less than $2,000 per month have found significant savings by switching to solar, with local network operators such as Ergon Energy or Energex catering options for businesses large and small as the demand for flexibility and customisation in solutions increases.
With a new-age world of consumers supporting businesses committed to sustainable energy practices, changing your electricity to a solar powered system can help to ensure your business is taking its corporate responsibility seriously.
Sustainability for future generations
In the last 5 years alone, the solar industry has seen an increase of demand from homes to businesses,along with solar technology becoming “smarter” through the use of integration amongst every day living and the continuous (and fast!) evolution of maximising value for energy. It’s no surprise that we are increasingly seeing businesses of all sizes embracing the opportunity to future-proof their businesses whilst simultaneously promoting sustainable energy use practices for generations to come.
Ehlerth Electrical can help by providing expert advice and consultations individual to your company to assess suitability for installing solar to your business and an honest opinion on if making the switch would be advantageous to your company. Contact us today by clicking here!
We’ve all heard at least one horror story about a family returning home from a long holiday only to find that their house has been broken into or a pipe has burst in their absence. Problems like these can cost hundreds sometimes thousands of dollars to fix and are guaranteed to cause a lot of stress. Fortunately, there are plenty of things you can do to help prevent security breaches while you’re off on a family adventure.
We’ve compiled the following tips to help you prep your house for safety before you go out of town and truly relax while you’re away. Some of them require a little investment and planning, but taking these steps now will save you from major headaches down the road.
1. Get a professionally monitored home security system
Your first line of defence against a break in over the holiday period is a professionally monitored home security system that includes door and window sensors. Some systems allow you to self-monitor, but especially if you’re going out of the country or somewhere with unreliable data network coverage, alerts on your phone won’t do you much good. With a professionally monitored system, the alarm company calls the authorities for you when there’s a breach.
2. Use motion control and timed lights
Basic security should definitely include both motion control security lights as well as timed lights on the inside of your home. Lights that are turned on and off intermittently help create the appearance that someone is home and motion detection lights will illuminate anyone coming around the property at night. The best part about this type of equipment is how affordable it is. You can chat to one of our friendly team members to find out about pricing here.
3. Install outdoor sensor lights
Outdoor sensor lights are simple to install for those of you who aren’t too tech-savvy. Motion-sensor flood lights can also prove to be useful year-round for general home security whether you’re home or not, and often are equipped with technology to have them turn off and on at certain times of the day. Most models are either motion activated or will only come on at night, so you don’t have to worry about them wasting a lot of energy.
4. Unplug nonessential electronics
Unplugging nonessential electronics like TVs, computers, coffee makers, fans, lamps etc. will both reduce the risk of fire and save you money. The power used by plugged-in electronics while they’re not in use, accounts for 5–10% of residential energy use and costs each household around $100 each year. Unplugging devices also protects them against electrical surges, which can short out expensive equipment or cause fires.
5. Get a programmable or smart thermostat
When you’re gone, there’s no use heating or cooling an empty house to a comfortable temperature, but you don’t want to turn your system off entirely, either. A good rule of thumb is to set your thermostat to four degrees above or below your normal setting when you’re away. With a programmable thermostat, you can set a schedule ahead of time so your house will be back to a comfortable temperature by the time you return home.
6. Add a smart lock to your door
A smart door lock lets you unlock your door remotely from your smartphone and grant temporary access with expiring codes. If you have a neighbour checking in on the house or a house sitter coming to take care of the dogs, you can keep track of exactly who goes in and out of your house and terminate access once you’re home again. No more trying to keep track of who has your spare keys because you have full control over who does and doesn’t have access at any given time.
7. Check batteries in all home security devices
This one’s pretty simple, but it often goes overlooked. Regularly check all your security and safety devices like motion detectors, cameras, and smoke detectors to make sure the batteries won’t fail while you’re gone. Even if something is hardwired, it may have a backup battery in case of power outages. Opt for high-quality batteries over budget batteries, as you’re likely to get more life out of them.
8. Invest in security cameras
A handful of well-placed security cameras both inside and outside can mean the difference between catching a perpetrator or not. You want a system which is motion activated and will send alerts and video clips to your smartphone so you can take immediate action. They will also allow you to remotely drop in on your cameras in real time and live stream whatever’s going on at your house. If you need help selecting a security camera system, get in touch with us today so we can recommend the best indoor/outdoor systems to use.
At Ehlerth Electrical we aim to keep your home and business highly connected at all times. We offer installation and services on your existing phone, data, TV and security systems and we can also integrate and automate your environment with our home automation services. If you require an assistance with communications before the Christmas break, please get in touch with us today on 1800 940 413.
Changing habits in your workplace to be more energy efficient isn’t just good for your business financially; it can also help make your workplace more sustainable. While we’re getting wiser at home about how to save on our energy bills, we spend the majority of our days at work so it’s time to start thinking about practical ways to make changes around the office.
Whether you’re a large, medium, or small business, you could be saving more energy by following simple inexpensive energy-efficiency strategies, and as a business owner, it is important that you are engaging your entire team and getting everyone involved in making a difference around the workplace.
Educating staff on using only what they need, when they need it, can help you ensure that your business energy costs are kept to a minimum. Simple energy savings can be made by encouraging staff to make sure all lights are switched off when the office isn’t in use, making use of natural lighting where possible, switching to compact fluorescent bulbs and setting computer monitors to automatically turn off after 10 minutes of inactivity (screensavers won’t save energy!)
Below, we look at some quick and easy tips to make your workplace more energy-efficient, whilst creating a positive change to your working environment:
Turn off lights when not needed as this extends overall lamp life and reduces replacement costs.
Reduce or replace inefficient, outdated or excessive lighting within your building.
Switch to energy efficient light bulbs like LED lights. These types of light bulbs last longer and consume a fraction of the energy of conventional light bulbs.
Take advantage of natural daylight. Natural lighting can be a power saver for any workplace.
Install occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights.
Heating and cooling
Regularly change HVAC filters.
Tune-up your HVAC units (clean and check refrigerant charge).
Reduce heating and cooling. In summer, keep air conditioners programmed a couple of degrees higher from what you normally have and in winter, set the thermostat several degrees lower than you normally have it.
Install programmable thermostats. They automatically adjust temperature settings based on the time of day and day of the week.
Consider installing solar panels. A solar power system, along with a solar hot water system, is probably one of the best energy-efficient investments you can make for your business.
To conserve energy and reduce internal heat gain, turn off computers, monitors printers and copiers during non-business hours.
Implement lights-off and power-off policies.
Switch to laptops. Using laptops instead of desktop computers will more than half your energy costs. Buying smaller monitors also contributes to the amount of energy consumed.
Purchase ENERGY STAR office equipment.
Upgrade all outdated equipment to efficient appliances.
Once you start implementing these energy saving tips, the results - for both your energy bills and the environment are well worth it. As a business owner, it is important you take charge in turning your workplace into an energy-efficient, sustainable workplace, however it is your staff members who can help put it into effect. Remember to take the time to involve them and to encourage a culture of sustainability... employee buy-in and involvement can make or break your company’s efforts to conserve energy.
Ehlerth Electrical provides a full range of electrical services to business and individuals around Queensland. We are a hard-working and committed team of Master Electricians who pride ourselves on our job execution, and our understanding of various electrical fields. We have a genuine focus on customer service and this is reflected in all aspects of our business. For more information about how we can service your business, and assist with any of the above energy saving tips, please contact our friendly team here.