Trying To Save Money Can Cost You  A Fortune

Trying To Save Money Can Cost You A Fortune

Should you buy your own gear for an electrical job or let the electrician supply it?

Some people are very focused on minimising the costs of any home improvement project they undertake.

For electrical work, this shows up as the client purchasing and supplying their own materials.  They believe that they can save money by buying direct rather than having the electrician supply the gear.

Sometimes the client can save money this way, especially with they type of appliances typically available at major hardware chains.

The buying power of the major hardware chains can result in some very cheap prices, although the brands are usually not the same as those the contractor would source through a wholesaler.

Most contractors wouldn’t have a problem with their clients supplying some of the gear, provided it is properly approved and certified for use in Australia.

Although the client is trying to save money by supplying their own gear, in many cases the client ends up paying much more than if they just let the electrician take care of things.

For example, most electrical wholesalers have a “Cash Sale” price for walk-in customers that is considerably higher than the trade price they charge to electricians for the same item.

Just because a client purchases something from a wholesaler doesn’t mean they are getting a bargain.

We have seen plenty of examples where the client would have got their gear cheaper if we purchased it, added a margin and GST and sold it to the client, compared to the price the client had paid direct.

A client often can save some money by providing their own materials, but in doing so they also take on the risk associated with those materials.

If the contractor supplies gear that turns out to be faulty they will be able to supply replacement items under warranty and probably cover the labour cost of replacing the faulty parts as well.

If the client supplies an item that is faulty then the client has to deal with getting a replacement under warranty and also bear the full cost of labour to rectify the problem.

One of our clients arranged for us to install a new electronic timer they had purchased.  The timer turned out to be faulty and the client lived 45 minutes drive from our workshop.  If we had supplied the timer we would have borne the cost of rectifying the situation.

The client saved $15 on the cost of the timer, and got a free replacement, but paid an extra $200 for having it installed twice.

Another client purchased their own sensor light and saved a tiny amount of money and then wore the cost of an after hours callout when the light failed soon after being installed.

Yet another client purchased their own air-transfer fan and a separate speed controller, but the two items weren’t compatible.  The motor burnt out and the client ended up paying twice for both the fan and the installation.

So, yes sometimes it is possible to save money on buying your own materials, but you should probably get a quote from your contractor to make sure you aren’t unintentionally dudding yourself.

When you do provide your own gear you should be aware of the potential risk you assume and compare that risk to the small savings you are making on the purchase costs.

If you focus on cost alone, your job may actually cost you much more than you need to pay.

It’s better to focus on value and ensure you get a great result at a fair price and without taking on the hassles usually taken care of by the electrical contractor.

Know the cost before you start.  For a free quote on all electrical work phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

The $800 Power Point Problem Solved

The $800 Power Point Problem Solved

Add New Power Points Without Expensive Upgrades

The Problem
In our previous blog post we looked at the cascading series of events and spiralling costs that could result from a simple installation of new power points.

Click here to see our previous article “The $800 Power Point”

When changes are made to certain parts of your electrical installation it can trigger the requirement to upgrade other parts of the installation to comply with current regulations.

This can be a costly exercise for what started out as just a very minor job.

Regulations require that all new power points, all additions to existing circuits and all relocations of existing power points must be protected by an earth-leakage circuit breaker.

Jargon Explained
An earth-leakage circuit breaker, a safety switch and an RCD (residual current device) are all names for the same thing. They are devices that detect an imbalance in the electrical current flowing through a circuit and switch off the power within 30 milliseconds to hopefully prevent injury or death from electric shock.

The regulations around RCDs are designed to improve electrical safety and are a good idea, but there are additional costs involved.

Even if your switchboard is not suitable for the addition of a safety switch there is a way to comply with the regulations, improve electrical safety and keep the costs down.

Problem Solved
The solution is to install an earth-leakage protected power point.

This power point has a built-in safety switch which avoids the requirement to add a safety switch to the switchboard.

If the earth-leakage protected power is installed as the first power outlet on a circuit it also protects any other outlets downstream on the same circuit.

The RCD protected outlet alone will cost a little over $200, but installation is the same as a normal power point.
Despite the higher cost it is still far cheaper than replacing your switchboard and mains cables.

 

For free advice and quotes on all power point installations phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

The $800 Power Point

The $800 Power Point

How a simple job can turn into a major expense

A new client called us to get an extra power point installed in their garage.

On checking their switchboard we found they had an old fuse board in poor condition, with no circuit breakers or safety switches.

Regulations require that all new power points are protected by a safety switch. In this case there was just no way to fit a safety switch to the existing board.   Before any new power points could be installed the entire switchboard would need to be replaced.

Our quote to install a new circuit breaker switchboard with earth-leakage protection (safety switches) and to install the additional power point was around $800.

There are great benefits to getting rid of your old fuses and fitting safety switches, but obviously this was a much greater investment than the client was expecting.

There are other potential complications once you start altering major parts of your electrical installation.
Making changes to components such as switchboards triggers the requirement for other parts of the installation to comply with current standards.

For example if your existing switchboard and power meters are at the back of the house and you wish to make alterations, you will be required to relocate the meters to the front of the house. This is to ensure that meter readers have easy access to the meters.

Moving your meters will mean alterations to your sub-mains cables or mains cables.
Any alterations to your mains cables could trigger the requirement to relocate your point of attachment, and even replace the mains cables.

Relocating your switchboard also means having to extend all the existing circuits to the new switchboard position.
If the wiring in your home is not up to scratch then those existing circuits may need to be replaced as well.

What started out as a job to install one new power point has suddenly snowballed into a full-blown rewire with new mains cables and switchboard. The cost has ballooned from maybe $200 to over $7,000!

This is why you should talk to an electrical contractor while you are still in the planning stages of any building or renovation project.

What’s the difference between and electrician and an electrical contractor?

When you make alterations to your electrical installation, one thing can lead to another and you can find yourself on the slippery slope to major electrical costs.  Proper advice and planning before any work commences will prevent unexpected surprises.

If all you really want is that one extra power point in your garage and you aren’t currently ready for a rewire or new switchboard, there is a much cheaper alternative that could get you out of trouble.

It may be possible to install an RCD protected power point and bypass the requirements to make other upgrades.  It’s a slightly higher investment than a standard power point but it could be a way to get what you want without spending thousands.

Click here to see our article on RCD protected power points.

 

For a free quote and advice on all new power point installations phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711

Or send us a message using the form below

Wall and Window Exhaust Fans

Wall and Window Exhaust Fans

What to do when you can’t install a ceiling fan.

There are times when it’s just not possible to install a ceiling mounted exhaust fan.  Maybe you have a downstairs bathroom with no ceiling space, only the floor above.

Maybe you have a flat roof with only a few inches clearance between the ceiling and the roofing material and you don’t want to risk cutting a hole for a vent.  Cutting holes in flat roofs can cause water leak problems so it’s best avoided if possible.

Wall and window exhaust fans can be installed in places where it is not possible to install a ceiling fan.

The wall or window exhaust fan option can overcome the problems of no roof space, but there are other potential difficulties.

Obviously the fan will need to be installed in an outside wall.  Most rooms have only one outside wall, so you need to find a suitable location on that wall.

Any window will have to be a suitable size to take the fan with enough glass left around that fan after the hole is cut.  You must have a fixed pane of glass.  You can’t fit a fan to an opening window.

There are also safety regulations that restrict the type of glass that can be installed in bathrooms.

Even if you have a suitably sized and located window you cannot just cut a hole and fit a fan.  Usually, the entire window pane will need to be replaced with Grade A Safety Glass, unless it is more than 2 metres off the floor.

There are substantial costs involved in supplying and fitting a sheet of safety glass with a pre-cut hole to suit a window fan.  Installing an exhaust fan in a window is likely to be the most expensive of all your options.

The wall and window exhaust fans are considerably more expensive than a standard ceiling mounted exhaust fan.  In fact they can cost up to 10 times more.

There can also be difficulties with installing wall fans, depending on the construction of the wall and the location of wiring or plumbing pipes inside the wall, and downpipes or other attachments on the outside of the wall.

Double brick walls take the most time and effort for installation and it can be difficult to achieve a neat finish at the outside vent on a weatherboard wall.

There are various types and sizes of fans available and there will be two main options to consider. The first option is switching.  Some fans will have a remote switch on the wall, just like a light switch.  Other fans will have a pull cord switch on the fan itself.

Depending on where the fan will be located you may need to consider which type of switching will be most suitable.  If it will be difficult to install switch wires from the fan position to the desired switch position then a pull switch should be considered.

If the fan will be mounted out of easy reach then a wall switch will be required.

The second option is to do with shutters.  Some fans have no shutters, and they allow drafts to blow through the open fan duct.  We recommend that you only purchase a fan with shutters.

Some fans have automatic shutters that will open only after the fan is switched on and others have shutters that are operated by the pull cord for the switch.  Generally speaking the more expensive fans have more reliable and robust shutter systems.

Ceiling fans are always cheaper and easier to install.  Click here to see our article about ceiling mounted exhaust fans.

Even though window and wall exhaust fans are more expensive, they can sometimes the only alternative for adequate ventilation of ventilate bathrooms and kitchens.

For free advice and quotes on all ceiling and wall fan installations phone

Mance Electrical Launceston on 6331 4711

Turn Any Broken Power Point Into A USB Power Point

Turn Any Broken Power Point Into A USB Power Point

Got a faulty power point somewhere in your home?

Would you like to turn that faulty power point in the laundry, garage or anywhere in your home into a USB charging point in your kitchen?

Would you like the convenience of charging your phone, tablet or mobile device while still being able to use the power point?  Would you like to get rid of that jumble of cords and charger power packs that clutter the bench, getting tangled and lost and generally looking untidy?

It’s easy to do and won’t cost much more than just replacing the faulty power point.

If you have a faulty power point anywhere in your home, here’s how you can turn it into a new double power point with twin USB charging sockets, anywhere you need one.

For example, instead of replacing the faulty power point in your laundry with a new power point fitting, we can remove a working power point from your kitchen and install that fitting in the laundry, then install a new USB power point in your kitchen.

It doesn’t matter where your faulty power point is, or where you would like the new USB power point.  You could choose to put you new USB power point in a kitchen, bedroom, rumpus room, home office or anywhere it will be most convenient.

So any time you find a faulty power point don’t just get it replaced.

Turn it into a USB power point anywhere you need it.

New Double Power Point With Twin USB Charging Socket
For More Information
Phone Mance Electrical On 6331 4711

 

Exhaust Fan Facts

Exhaust Fan Facts

Ceiling mounted exhaust fans are a cheap and effective way to remove steam from bathrooms or cooking odours from a kitchen, provided they are done properly.

Without a working exhaust fan in place bathrooms quickly become mouldy and full of condensation and kitchens build up a greasy film on cupboards and surfaces near the hotplates.

The most common problem with exhaust fan installations is a lack of roof space above the fan to disperse the steam.   You need somewhere for the steam to go to.  It’s no good trying to pump hundreds of litres of steamy air into a space where the roof is just a couple of inches above the exhaust fan.

When there is not enough air space or the ceiling is very low above the fan the steam that is extracted condenses on the underside of the roof and drips back down through the fan.

The usual problem areas are flat roofs and lower floors in a multi storey building.

In these cases it may be possible to vent the fan out to the eaves or an outside wall.  This is usually much easier in a new building than an already constructed building.

 

Regulations now require exhaust fans, Tastics and rangehoods to be vented to outside when installed in a newly constructed building.

If you are simply replacing an existing fitting that is not vented then the replacement usually doesn’t need to be vented.

Venting your exhaust fan is a good idea if it can be done, however some brands of vented fans are quite restricted in their airflow and don’t seem to perform as well as an unvented fan.

The other option is to cut a vent into the roof directly above the fan to direct the steam outside.  These are typically a short tube with a “Chinaman’s Hat” style cap on top.  These vents work well, but there is always a risk of future problems with water leaks whenever you cut a hole in your roof.

In some cases the only option may be a wall or window fan.  Wall and window fans come with their own set of challenges.  Click here to read our article and find out more about the benefits and problems of wall and window mounted exhaust fans.

Contact us for free advice and quotation on your exhaust fan installation.
Phone Mance Electrical on 6331 4711.