What To Do When Your Power Trips

Power Trips
What to do when your power trips

Power trips are one of those annoying things that usually happen at the most inconvenient time. They will often happen in the middle of cooking dinner or when you are hosting a party. For a moment, you may have that dreaded thought that you forgot to pay your power bill.

Nine times out of ten, they will happen outside of business hours. This could mean an expensive call out charge if you have to call an electrician. However, there are some simple steps you can take to try and resolve the problem yourself.

What now?

There are a number of reasons why you might suddenly lose power. You first need to identify whether the problem is with your switchboard or a result of a neighbourhood power outage. If you still have internet access, you can check for outages on the Western Power website.

Otherwise, check your switchboard and if all the breakers are in the on position, the problem is most likely on the supply side. Look for a switch in the off position and try resetting it. If it trips again, you will need to find the cause of the problem.

Sometimes your light and power circuit will be on the same RCD. In this situation, you will need to determine if the problem is with your lights or your power. To do this, switch off all the circuit breakers and turn them back on one at a time. Pay attention to which breakers you are switching on. Turn the circuit breakers on one at a time and if the RCD trips, then the problem is with that circuit. If it trips when you turn on a lighting circuit, you will have to leave the circuit breaker off and call an electrician to attend and fix the problem.

If the RCD trips when you turn a power circuit breaker on, then you need to check that the problem is not being caused by an appliance. Walk around your house and switch off all electrical appliances. Make sure you unplug them too. Try to reset the tripped RCD. If it resets, plug in and turn on the appliances one at a time. If plugging in an appliance causes the RCD to trip, then the problem is likely with that item. Leave it unplugged and reset your RCD.

What if that doesn’t work?

Once you have taken these steps, and the RCD is still tripping, contact us to come and investigate the problem.

How to Maintain Your Smoke Alarm

So you know you have at least one (maybe two depending on the layout of your house) hardwired smoke alarm installed in your house. You probably don’t pay much attention to it but every now and then it gives you a shrieking reminder that your toast is burning. Hey at least it works right?

However will it work when you really need it to? Do you test it regularly? Do you know its expiry date? Did you know that they even have an expiry date? Don’t worry if you don’t, you are one of the many people that are unaware.

In the event of a fire, your smoke alarm is your first warning to get out of the house. When a house fire starts at night, by the time the occupants have awoken to the smell of smoke it’s already too late to escape. Smoke alarms save lives. More accurately, working smoke alarms save lives.

Checking and maintaining your smoke alarm

So how do you check your smoke alarm is working and in date?

Firstly, you should inspect your smoke alarm once a month to ensure it is free from dirt, dust and insects. Use a vacuum or soft bristle brush to carefully clean out the unit.

Every unit will have a test button on the front cover. Always test the unit by pressing this button after cleaning. If the unit gives out an audible sound, it is working.

Alternatively, you can purchase cans of smoke alarm test spray to spray at the unit to set it off. We recommend following the instructions on the can to ensure proper use.Smoke Alarm Expiry

To check the date of the alarm, you will need to open the cover. Using a ladder or safety step, remove the cover of the unit. Underneath you will see either an expiry date or a date of manufacture or installation. Your alarm has 10 years from the date of manufacture or installation before expiring.

Don’t forget to change your battery once a year (with the exception of approved battery operated units). April 1st is Change Your Smoke Alarm Battery Day.

Types of Smoke Alarms

There are two main types of smoke alarms for domestic application; Photoelectric and Ionisation. Photoelectric smoke alarms respond faster to larger particles such as those created by smouldering fires. Ionisation alarms respond faster to smaller particles which are produce by fires with larger flames. In the event of a fire, you would want to be made aware of the fire while it is still in the smouldering stage.

Be Prepared

It is important to always be prepared in case the worst should happen. The Department of Fire and Emergency Services has some great information on preparing a family escape plan https://www.dfes.wa.gov.au/safetyinformation/fire/fireinthehome/pages/homeescapeplan.aspx