Tools Every Homeowner Should Have
When you contact our 24 hour electrician Brisbane your call is answered by our on-call team member who is ready to respond to a range of urgent electrical issues. Flashlight: None of the tools you own will be of any use if you cannot visually inspect the situation. The problem-and solution-are apparent only with a good flashlight. A traditional two-battery flashlight is usually sufficient, as larger flashlights may be too unwieldy. Of course, having backups at home (as well as in all your vehicles) is a must for emergency situations.
Tape Measure: Measuring house projects
requires a tape measure-not a ruler or a yardstick. Tape measures come
in many lengths, although one that is at least 25 feet is best. Measure
everything at least twice to ensure accuracy, regardless of the project.
A hacksaw is useful for cutting metal objects, such as pipes, bolts and
brackets. Hacksaws look thin and flimsy, but they’ll easily cut through
even the hardest of metals. Blades are replaceable, so focus your
purchase on a quality hacksaw frame. Use a stable surface for cutting,
and use caution, as a hacksaw injury can be painful and deep.
Level: Only a level can be used to determine if something, such as a
shelf, appliance or picture, is correctly oriented. The torpedo-style
level is unique because it not only shows when an object is perfectly
horizontal and vertical, but it also has a gauge that shows when an
object is at a 45-degree angle. The bubble in the viewfinder must be
exactly in the middle-not merely close.
Safety Glasses: For all
tasks involving a hammer, saw or a power tool, you should always wear
safety glasses or goggles. They should also be worn while you mix
chemicals, install insulation, and do major renovation projects
involving tear-downs of building materials, such as drywall, because
anything that can go airborne upon destruction can wind up in your eyes,
causing irritation or injury.
Fire Safety for the Home
National Fire Protection Association’s fire prevention program promotes
the following eight tips that people of all ages and abilities can use
to keep family members safe, especially during the threat of a house
Plan and practice your escape from fire
this advice before, but you can’t be prepared to act in an emergency if
you don’t have a plan and everybody knows what that plan is. Panic and
fear can spread as quickly as a fire, so map out an escape route and a
meeting place outdoors, and involve even the youngest family members so
that everyone can work as a unit to make a safe escape. If you live in a
condo or apartment building, make sure you read the signs posted on
your floor advising you of the locations of stairways and other exits,
as well as alarm pull stations and fire extinguishers.
Plan your escape around your abilities
a phone by your bedside will allow you to call 911 quickly, especially
if the exits of your home are blocked by smoke or flames. Keep a pair of
shoes near your bed, too. If your home or building has a fire escape,
take some time to practice operating it and climbing it.
Smoke alarms save lives
you don’t already have permanently installed smoke alarms hard-wired
into your electrical system and located outside each bedroom and on each
floor, purchase units and place them in those locations. Install them
using adhesive or screws, but be careful not to touch your screwdriver
to any internal wiring. Doing this can cause an electrostatic discharge
and disable them. Also, install carbon monoxide detectors as they can
protect family members from lethal poisoning even before a fire starts.
Give space heaters space
saving on utility bills by using the furnace infrequently, or when
using these portable units for spot heating, make sure you give them at
least 3 feet of clearance. Be sure to turn off and unplug them when you
leave or go to bed. Electrical appliances draw current even when they’re
turned off, and a faulty unit can cause a fire that can spread through
the wires in the walls at a deadly pace.
If you smoke, smoke outside
only will this keep your family members healthier and your home
smelling fresher, it will minimize the chance that an errant ember from
your cigarette will drop and smolder unnoticed until it causes damage.
means monitoring what you have on the stove and keeping track of what’s
baking in the oven. Don’t cook if you’re tired or taking medication
that clouds your judgment or makes you drowsy. Being kitchen-wise also
means wearing clothing that will not easily catch on the handles of pots
and pans, or graze open flames or heating elements. It also means
knowing how to put out a grease fire: water will make it spread, but
salt or baking soda will extinguish it quickly (as will covering the pot
or pan with a lid and turning off the stove). Always use your cook
top’s vent fan while cooking. Also, keep a small, all-purpose fire
extinguisher in a handy place such as under the sink. These 3-pound
lifesavers are rated “ABC” for their fire-suppressing contents. Read the
instructions on these inexpensive devices when you bring them home from
the store so that you can act quickly, if the time comes.
Stop, drop and roll
the urge to panic and run if your clothes catch fire because this will
only accelerate its spread. Tamping out the fire by rolling is
effective, especially since your clothes may be on fire on your back or
lower body where you may not be immediately aware of it. If ground space
is limited, cover yourself with a blanket to tamp out any flames, and
douse yourself with water as soon as you can. Additionally, always stay
close to the floor during a fire; heat and smoke rise, and breathable
air will normally be found at the floor-level, giving you a greater
chance of escape before being overcome by smoke and toxic fumes.
Keep your family safe by following these simple tips!
Electrical Panel Safety
homeowners should know where their electrical panel is located. When
you open the door to it, you should find breakers that are labeled which
correspond to the different rooms or areas of the home. Breakers will
sometimes trip due to a power surge or outage, and the homeowner can
flip the switch to reactivate the current to the particular room or
area. Behind the breakers is the dead front, and it is this electrical
component that should be removed only by a qualified electrician or
Before touching the electrical panel to re-set a breaker, ask yourself the following questions:
I have an escape path? Make sure that you know where you can safely
turn or step if you must escape a dangerous surprise, such a bee or a
spark. An unfortunately placed shovel or extension cord, for instance,
can turn a quick jerk into a dangerous fall.
Is the floor wet? Never touch any electrical equipment while standing on a wet surface!
Does the panel appear to be wet? Check overhead for dripping water that may have condensed on a cold water pipe.
Is the panel rusty? Rust is an indication of previous wet conditions that may still exist.
there scorch marks on the panel door? This can indicate a past or very
recent arc, and further investigation should be deferred to a licensed
Here is a list of defective conditions that a homeowner may see that may be called out during an electrical inspection:
clearance. According to the 2008 National Electrical Code, most
residential electrical panels require at least a 3-foot clearance or
working space in front, 30 inches of width, and a minimum headroom
clearance of 6 feet, or the height of the equipment, whichever is
Sharp-tipped panel box screws. Panel box cover screws must have blunt ends so they do not pierce the wires inside the box.
Circuit breakers that are not properly sized
or corrosion to any of the parts. Oxidized or corroded wires will
increase the resistance of conductors and create the potential for
Damage caused by rodents Rodents have been known to chew
through wire insulation in electrical panels (and other areas), creating
an unsafe condition. Rodents have been electrocuted this way, leaving
an unsightly mess inside the panel.
Evidence of electrical failures, such as burned or overheated components
Evidence of water entry inside the electrical panel Moisture can corrode circuit breakers so that they won’t trip, make connections less reliable and the equipment unsafe to touch.
A panel manufactured by Zinsco or
Federal Pacific Electric (FPE) These panels have a reputation for being
problematic, and further evaluation by a qualified electrician is
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