Moving this summer?

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Are you planning to move to a new property this summer? There are a lot of properties available in the housing market nowadays and before you take your pick, you need to inspect the property carefully to make sure that your new home does not have an expensive hidden maintenance problem and is safe for you and your loved ones. 

You do not have to do this alone though. You can call on a surveyor to help you determine the quality of the property you are planning to purchase. They are trained to identify issues that might cause you problems in the future but when it comes to electrical wirings or pointers, it is better to leave the electrical inspection to a professional electrician. 

It is said that for every 50 homes listed in an online property portal, 1 will need a serious electrical fault.. This could be due to wear and tear. The older the property, the greater the chances that its electrical wiring is outdated. 

Old properties might have a different wiring system and an electrical service panel that needs an update. These old technologies might interfere with our modern electrical systems and you certainly do not want to experience its complications, do you?

The electrician will thoroughly check the electrical installation of the entire property, identify any risk factors and prevent electrical failures which would eventually lead to costly maintenance and repairs.

When planning to move this summer, this is something that you should not take lightly. Before you commit to any property, consulting with a professional electrician is very important to make sure that you will possess a property with no faults and the electrical system is in good working order. 

What are the electrical pointers to check out when viewing a house?

Now that you are aware of the importance of doing an electrical home inspection, what are the things that you should request for the electrician to check? To spot any potential problems, the electrician must inspect the entire electrical system of the property especially if the property is more than 40 years old, has undergone an extensive renovation and has added new appliances over a decade. 

You should only allow a registered electrician to perform the electrical inspection. The cost of such inspections will depend on the size of the property and the contractor you are working with.

  • Outlets and switches. It is imperative to ask your electrician to check the outlets and switches and make sure that they are in good working condition. The outlets must not have any physical defects, must be grounded and must have the correct tension.
  • Light fixtures. A thorough inspection of all wall-mounted or ceiling-mounted light fixtures must be made. They must be secure. All bulbs must be inspected and the wattage must be correct because if the previous owner of the property installed a light bulb with a bigger wattage than what the fixture was designed to manage, the bulb might overheat and burn a flammable material that is nearby, such as a lampshade, paper or curtain.
  • Electrical wiring. For safety and security reasons, good quality wiring is essential for the integrity of the overall electrical installation. Regular inspection can help identify any problems before they can go worse. For example, regular inspection will help you identify areas with loose connections or exposed wires near an outlet, switch or light fixture.
  • Electrical service panel. This is the fuse box or circuit breaker that is responsible for distributing the electrical circuits in the entire property. The electrical service panel is also capable of cutting the electrical supply of your entire home. A poorly maintained or outdated electrical service panel cannot withstand the demands of a modern lifestyle, so having your service panel inspected before purchasing or renting the property is very important.

To give you an idea of what electrical inspectors usually find, here’s a list of electrical issues commonly found in domestic properties:

  • Aluminium wiring. This was used as an alternative to copper wires but is prone to overheating.
  • Double tapped circuit breakers. These are two or more energised wires that run in one circuit breaker. This is often seen in properties that have undergone extensive renovation or properties that are old.
  • Exposed splices and wiring. These are wires that are spliced and taped together inside an uncovered junction box or wires that are spliced and taped together and not placed inside a junction box, exposing the wires to various elements like water, dust, pests or etc.
  • Incorrectly modified electrical panels. This will result in the flickering of lights, ceiling fixtures becoming hot and outlets or switches working intermittently.
  • Knob-and-tube wiring. This is the first generation of electrical wiring. It is mostly found in homes built between the 1900s and 1940s. It has no protection and no ground wire.
  • Lost knockouts in electrical panels. These are circular or rectangular knobs found inside an electrical panel.
  • More than one neutral wire in an electrical panel slot. This means that one wire could slip out if the set screw was not used to secure it properly.
  • Outlets that are painted. This can potentially cause overheating because the paint might be covering the outlet’s slots.
  • Reversed polarity. This happens when the ground, neutral and hot slots of the plug have been mixed up. This can cause shock or damage to the electrical device that is plugged on that on that outlet.
  • Ungrounded outlets and plugs. Grounded outlets and plugs can prevent electrical shocks.

If you are in Swindon or surrounding areas and you are looking for an extremely professional and reliable electrical firm, call on EJS Electrical at 01793 238806 or 07725 228145. They are the primary choice for a variety of specialist work in the domestic and commercial sectors. Trusted by family and business clients alike, they are a results-focused organisation on jobs of any scale, from home improvements to large contracts with letting agents or local councils!

How smart is your home?

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Over recent years the use of smart devices has slowly gained popularity in households. This should not come as a surprise because these devices offer ease and convenience, often enabling its users to manage multiple devices. These devices also help reduce energy consumption and electricity bills, as well as time. 

 

Nowadays, there is a wide range of smart devices designed for home automation. These include home hubs and controllers, surveillance systems, automatic locks or security systems, heating and cooling systems, smart lighting, smart home appliances, health or fitness devices, smart outdoor gadgets and so much more. With each passing time, these devices are added with smarter features.

 

Today, we will talk about home automation and the latest technology being installed in homes.

What is home automation?

Home automation is a technology which allows you to control home devices from a mobile device no matter where you are in the world: whether you are inside your home or on a holiday in the Bahamas! This technology includes isolated devices like sprinkler systems and thermostats and devices such as appliances, lights, heating or cooling systems, CCTV cameras, automatic door locks, windows, and smoke detectors that are linked to a network that can be remotely controlled.

In the past, centrally controlled automated systems were only available in large commercial buildings and upscale homes. Building automation usually includes heating, cooling and lighting systems and primary control of these functions are only accessible on specific areas in the building. 

How can I get started with home automation?

A lot of smart devices run on wireless communication protocols like Z-Wave, Zigbee or WiFi. Some systems entail setting up concealed physical wires throughout your home and connecting all the devices you want to automate. The wires then will be connected to the central hub.

Wired home automation systems are slowly losing favour because installing wires throughout your home is an additional cost. Aside from that, troubleshooting these systems can be quite complicated. 

Wireless systems, on the other hand, are very easy to set up. Device consolidation and device compatibility is usually not an issue, making it the preferred option for those considering home automation.

One of the major decisions you have to make is choosing the ‘hub’ or central controlling unit of your home automation system. The hub controls your devices no matter what wireless communication protocol they run on. So whether your lights run on Zigbee or your thermostat runs on WiFi, you can control both of them on your hub. 

You can program certain features or functions on your hub. This will allow you to control the doors whenever somebody is calling for you, be notified whenever the motion sensors detect some movement in the garage or close the window whenever the sunlight is too bright. 

Although you can use different applications to control your devices, it is advisable to use a hub to reduce the complexity of controlling many smart devices. As soon as all your devices are consolidated on the hub, the sensors of your smart devices will determine your lifestyle and behavioural patterns and work together to give you a seamless operation.

Here are some of the standards that you should consider when choosing a home automation hub.

  • Wireless NetworkThe hub must be able to support frequently used wireless communication protocols like WiFi, Z-Wave, Zigbee and etc. This will allow you to easily consolidate all smart devices with different brands and different range of capabilities.
  • Allocated App Manager. Your hub must have an app manager that is compatible with your smartphone’s operating system. This will help you manage and control your smart devices even if you are away from home. The app manager will also help you adjust the features and functions of your smart devices such as scheduling when the lights would turn on or off, programming the airconditioning to turn on when a certain temperature is reached or schedule your windows to close at dusk. 
  • Capacity to Expand. Aside from having an app manager, your hub must be able to accommodate and control several devices, as well as the capability to receive additional devices if you decide to add more smart devices in the future. 
  • Notifications. Your home automation system must be able to notify you through messages or calls whenever unwanted activities are detected.

New state-of-the-art technology that is being installed in homes

  • Smart Home Hubs and Controllers. Some devices work as a Bluetooth speaker and allow you to control your smart devices using the sound of your voice. These are powered by voice assistants like Alexa and Siri. Other devices work as a hub with the capability of connecting the latest home automation devices, a hub that works just like a remote control (with push buttons of course), a smart outlet that can control small appliances or monitor the energy usage of these devices and as a WiFi-powered power strip.
  • Smart Home Surveillance Cameras. The latest surveillance cameras can now stream and record videos in 4K, zoom in automatically, track motion, built-in spotlight, detect sound, connect with emergency services in one click, record time-lapse videos, offer a wider field of view and video doorbells.
  • Smart Locks and Home Security Systems. Smart Locks and Home Security Systems. The latest locks and security systems can now be connected to Z-Wave and Wi-Fi. They can also be controlled through voice commands. 24/7 monitoring can be enabled and excellent customer support is often bundled with this service. Another great feature is it can notify you when there is an intruder or when there is smoke, fire or flood.
  • Smart Heating and Cooling. The latest thermostats now offer a furnace monitor, multimedia support, larger display, improved audio components, user-friendly interface, remote temperature control, geofencing support, additional third-party support, and easy setup process. New airconditioning units are out with voice control as well!
  • Smart Lighting. The most recent smart lighting technology will not only allow you to control the intensity of the light: you can choose from the millions of colours already installed in its system. Most of them can support voice command using Google Assistant and Amazon Alexa, as well as connect with IFTTT applets. Smart light switches can now be connected to Wi-Fi and controlled through a mobile app. It can also tell you the news, sports scores, weather, play your favourite music and even control other smart devices. How wonderful is that?
  • Smart Kitchen Appliances. If you think you’re no good at the kitchen, these smart kitchen appliances will tell you otherwise. A Wi-Fi-enabled smart grill can control cooking temperatures and prevent flare-ups. A smart baking scale will help you bake like a pro by telling you how much ingredients you need while a smart microwave can take voice commands from you!
  • Smart Vacuums. Aside from having Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant voice control, the latest smart vacuums can now deliver a stronger clean, multistory mapping, adaptive camera-based navigation, longer battery life and manual steering. Other vacuuming robots can even mop the floor too!