Residential

1My power bills are high. What can you do to try and bring them down?

The most common cause of high power bills is your hot water cylinder. One of three things can usually happen:

  1. The thermostat is faulty – this will seize shut and constantly heat your cylinder until it boils like a kettle.
  2. Faulty valve – if this is the case the cylinder will keep filling with cold water pushing the hot water out into an overflow drain. Check for an overflow drain, either on the roof or near a gully trap and see if hot water is escaping.
  3. Hot water leak – this will cause the cylinder to keep filling and heating.

The important thing is to tackle it early, or else you may end up with another very expensive power bill! Your power provider will be able to assist you in determining if your power usage is higher than usual. They will be able to tell you what your usual kilowatt usage is and if it was excessive over a certain period. Most importantly, don't let it continue and pay high power bills, as your power company will very rarely compensate you for electricity usage! Give us a call and we can come and assess if you have a problem, and if so, have it rectified in no time!

2Every time I put a new bulb in, it blows very quickly - why is this?
  1. You pay for what you get! Cheap bulbs = less life
  2. High voltage – voltage ranges between 230 – 240 volts AC. Your property may be close to a transformer on the road which means your nominal voltage may be up around 240 volts or slightly higher. If this is the case, try buying lamps rated at 250V.
  3. Faulty light fittings. For example, if you have 12v halogen lighting it may not be the lamp. It could be the transformer, or most commonly, the leads the lamp plug into. We can assess what the problem is and have it repaired quickly.
3My oven isn't working. What could have happened for it to stop?

Firstly check that your oven isn't on 'auto' mode. Most ovens have this function when you want to delay your cooking time. Sometimes it can be knocked by accident when you're cleaning it. Also, check your switchboard, and see if your fuse has blown or circuit breaker has tripped. Remember to turn the main switch off first before you check it or reset it! Still not working? Call the professionals!

4Our bathroom is damp and mouldy. What can you do to stop this?

The most common way to get rid of damp in a bathroom is to install an extract fan ducted to outside. Depending on your bathroom, you can install a wall or ceiling mounted fan. If you already have an extract fan, check if it's ducted outside as regulations require. Give us a ring for a free no obligation estimate or quote.

5I have been told that my wiring isn't earthed. What does this mean and why is it dangerous?

Earthing is important as it protects you from electric shock. In most cases where an appliance or electrical fitting is metal, it is required to be earthed. If it isn't earthed, and there is a fault, that appliance or fitting can become live. We can carry out comprehensive checks to ascertain if your dwelling is earthed and safe.

6I have no power to half of my house. What has caused this?

It is usually either a porcelain fuse, circuit breaker or a residual current device (RCD) that has blown or tripped. There is usually a reason for this – faulty light fitting, appliance, or a short in the wiring installation. Try to reset the circuit breaker and ascertain what caused the fault, then isolate or remove the fault if possible. Remember to turn everything off before you reset the circuit breaker or RCD. Please see FAQ 'how do I change a fuse?' for further information. If the problem persists, call your electrical professional!

7I changed a light bulb and it's still not working. Why is this?

Have you changed another faulty lamp? Change it out with one that you know is working, maybe from another light fitting. If you know the new lamp is OK you may have a faulty light fitting or switch.

8How do I change a fuse?

When a fuse blows, a certain area of your house will lose power.

  1. Turn the main power switch on the switchboard off. This will ensure your safety during the fuse changing process by killing all power to the house.
  2. On some switchboards there will be a list indicating which fuses control which circuits in your house. This will allow you to identify which fuse needs attention. If there is no such list, look for scorch marks around the fuse carriers - these are a good indicator of burnt fuse wire. If no scorch marks are visible remove the fuse carriers one by one and inspect them.
  3. The fuse is a small length of wire, usually placed within a porcelain "carrier". It is generally quite easy to see when this wire has burnt through. When you have located affected fuse make sure all lights, appliances etc. on that circuit are switched off.
  4. Replace the fuse wire. It is essential that you match the rating of the fuse wire to the circuit. Lighting circuits should not use fuse wire with a rating of more than 10 amps (generally 5 amp wire is used). Socket outlets should not exceed a 15 amp rating (10 amp wire is the norm). Some larger appliances will require fuse wire with a heavier rating.
  5. Return the fuse carrier to its slot and turn the main power switch back on. Check that the affected circuit is now working.
  6. If the fuse immediately blows again, or if it blows on a regular basis, give us a call and we will take a look for you.
  7. Some houses use circuit breakers rather than fuses. There are two general types of these – those with a switch, and those with a push-button. Both are equally easy to deal with: turn off all appliances on the affected circuit, identify which circuit breaker has tripped (the switch will have flipped to "off" or the button will have popped out), return the switch or button to its original position.
  8. Houses with installations preceding 2000 will also have residual current devices (RCD). These provide extra protection in the event of a short circuit. If your RCD has tripped, remove all appliances from their power points, and attempt to reset it. If the fault continues, give us a ring. When you set out to change a fuse remember the risks associated with electricity and take all necessary precautions. Always turn the main power switch off before beginning work, and if in doubt about anything stop and give us a call.

Also, please see the links below for some handy information on electrical safety, fuses and circuit breakers.

www.energysafety.govt.nz
www.energydirectnz.co.nz

9My house was built in the 1920's/30's/40's/50'/60's/70's and the wiring hasn't been touched. Is this of concern?

Yes it could be. Houses that were built prior to 1970 could have old wiring. Generally there are two types of cable that was installed prior to 1970.

  1. VIR Cable – this was used up until around the 1950's. It was usually contained in steel conduit or wooden capping. It is considered that this type of cable is past its use by date and should be replaced.
  2. TRS (tough rubber sheath) – this cable was popular from the 1950's through till the late 60's. It was replaced with TPS (tough plastic sheath) cable as it was found that the cable broke down and deteriorated considerably. If you have TRS, it is also considered that this type of cable is past its use by date and should also be replaced.

Give us a call and we can give your house a 'health check' and give you some advice on the type of cable you have and any remedial works that are required to make it safe.

Business

1Do you have dedicated account or project managers for every company?

We prefer to have one point of contact when managing your building or electrical works. This way we can build key relationships with our clients, and have intimate knowledge of your building or installation.

2What is your average response time to a call-out?

Depending on the type of call out and urgency, we can have someone there to assist the same day. If it is an emergency, we can have someone there straight away.