What You Should Know About Electrical Installations

Electrical installations can look mysterious. There are some basic requirements for installing electricity and important information you need to know.. Quality of workmanship, standards of performance, and possible hazards are some of the more important issues in electrical installation, and it’s worth familiarizing yourself with the basic requirements.

The basics:
New technology requires a very wide range of new electrical installations. These are very different from the old systems, particularly in communications, media systems and IT areas.

All electrical installations are regulated. Installation of electrical fittings must:

  • Comply with Australian Standards
  • Comply with safety best practice requirements
  • Have certified safety compliant components under state certification regulations or Australian Standard compliance marks, including “Regulatory compliant”, or Electrical Safety Type Test marks
  • Be conducted by appropriately licensed contractors

These are the fundamental quality checks and safeguards on all electrical installations. The Australian Standards safety marks are also particularly good indicators of age of components.

Issues, problems, and hazards

Everybody’s seen old or doubtful-looking electrical installations. The rule of thumb is that the worse it looks, the less likely an installation has been professionally done or serviced. These tacky-looking messes are real hazards. Electrical wiring and connections need to be done properly.

Electrical “handymen” jury rig installations, but professionals don’t. It’s too risky. Any installation which looks anything less than professionally connected needs work. If anything looks at all wrong or out of place, be suspicious rather than sorry.

Important: Make sure you have a good system for dealing with electrical faults and related issues.

Things to look out for:

  • Smells of ozone or burnt plastic: Wiring issues.
  • Scorch marks: The electrical board may have taken damage and be unsafe, even if there wasn’t a fire.
  • Any overheating appliance: Either the appliance is unsafe or there’s a power issue.
  • Odd noises or behavior in machinery: Electrical installations can be damaged by operating machinery which can create hazards by damaging wiring. The system should be taken offline instantly and checked ASAP.
  • Water around electrical fittings: Very serious problem, requiring immediate service. Water can do tremendous damage very quickly near live power sources. Water damaged areas around electrical fittings should be repaired, because they’re no longer water resistant.
  • Anything flickering: It’s normally the appliance, but if not it’s the power. Again, be suspicious.

How to check out your electrical installation for quality

It’s a good idea to get your electrical contractor to do a general system audit regularly. This is also good practice administratively, as well as for quality checking.

Note: Testing of electrical systems is conducted during the maintenance program, and is efficient insofar as safety checking and operational status are involved. Properly conducted maintenance will find and fix faults, but it’s not an audit process.

An audit is a further stage of quality control, and can be used as a planning tool for future installation needs. You’ll also find that these checks provide good information for business budgeting and forward costing of new electrical wiring installations and related plant and equipment requirements.