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Top 7 Electrical Renovation Tips by Pete Butcher


Get the most out of your renovating budget when it comes to updating the electrical wiring and fittings in your home.  We have put a few ideas together to highlight areas that should be considered in your home renovation budget.

Our Top 7 Electrical Wiring Tips To Consider When Renovating Your Home

1. Re-Wiring & Switchboard Upgrades

Electrical wiring and circuit boards don’t last forever – older homes should be inspected by a licensed electrician to ensure no dangerous wiring is present. If you intend to add extra power points to your electrical circuit or running new lighting circuits but still have the original switchboard, you will need to have a safety switch installed to meet current Australian Standards AS3000. Depending on the age of the home your electrician may recommend updating all existing electrical wiring and the circuit board at the same time.

2. Building Maintenance

Building Reports often pick up things like rotted timber on fascia boards where the mains electricity is connected to the exterior of the house. However, if you have owned the house for many years you may not be aware of these types of maintenance issues until it’s time to repaint the outside of your home. If you need to have the timber fascia replaced in this area, a level 2 electrician will need to disconnect and reconnect the mains power to the house temporarily to allow the repair work to take place.

3. Hard Wired Smoke Alarms

Hard wired smoke alarms with a battery back up are installed to alert your family that there is a fire in the home. Smoke alarms that are operated by battery alone do not meet today’s Building Code and Australian Standards. Batteries are often removed and not replaced which leads to possible dangerous scenarios. Hard wired smoke alarms only rely on a battery as a backup if there is a power outage. An electrician will know the best place to install the alarms in your home to keep you safe.

4. New Lights and Fans

A great way to update the look of the interior of your home is to replace all of the old lights and fans with new fittings. You will also be saving money on your bills with an energy efficient lighting system. There are loads of lighting options available in your local electrical wholesale lighting show rooms, or contact us at Hunter Electrics for more info and receive a trade discount. LED Downlights are a great option to consider as they help reduce your power consumption along with reducing fire hazards common with old Halogen Down Lights.

5. Kitchen Renovations

Remember to include installation costs for an electrician to install any new kitchen appliances such as ovens, cooktops and range hoods. If you are changing the layout of your kitchen you will likely need power outlets installed to accommodate your fridge, range hood, microwave and dishwasher. Don’t forget to include any new light fittings, such as pendant lights or down lights over an island bench for great bench lighting or additional power outlets required above your benchtop. Electric cooktops will require Isolation Switch’s within 1.5m from your cooktop which is for safety to isolate power quick and effectively when needed.

6. Additional Power points, switches and sensors

Whilst an electrician is carrying out work on your home it’s a great opportunity to consider installing any additional power or TV outlets. Have you ever wished you had 2-way switching for your hallway or kitchen? Now would be the time to install any future proof switches. What about a sensor in the garage to turn the garage light on when you get out of the car or some security sensor lights?

7. Wall Mounting TV’s

If you are carrying out internal layout changes to your home, you could consider asking your local carpenter or builder to create a niche so that your television can be recessed. For a more cost effective solution, we can wall mount your flat screen television to your wall using a bracket system to avoid any building work.

*Always use a licensed electrician to carry out any electrical renovation wiring work around the home. Don’t attempt to remove any rotted or damaged fascia boards where electricity is connected without consulting with your local electrician.

If you live in Maitland, Cessnock, Singleton and the surrounding Hunter Valley areas Hunter Electrics can provide you with a quotation to complete any electrical wiring renovation work around your home.

Call Pete on 0423 098 241

By Peter Butcher, Business Owner – Hunter Electrics.  Lic No. 195208C

August 9, 2016 |

When should you rewire a house?

when-should-you-rewire-a house

‘Out of mind, out of sight’ is an adage that can be easily applied to the electrical wiring of an older home, particularly when there are no obvious problems with the lighting or electricity. However, there are many reasons why it’s worth asking an electrician to take a look at wiring in older homes.

The Main Reason for Rewiring A House Is Safety

The danger of non-compliant, or degraded wiring in older homes is the most obvious reason to consider re-wiring a home. There is a very real danger of electric shock or injury from non-compliant or deteriorated electrical wiring. Residential fires are another concern, and many of these occur every year due to wiring faults. Some older homes may not have mains powered smoke alarms installed which are a mandatory clause within the Building Code, adding further to the risks associated with electrical fires. For this reason, DIY wiring – or undertaking any electrical work if you are not a qualified electrician is a recipe for disaster.

when-should-you-rewire-your-homeUpgrade to Meet Modern Electrical Needs

We use so many appliances in modern life, from computers to TVs, from home theatre systems to kitchen appliances. Older homes are often simply unable to cope with our changing electrical needs. The majority of older homes only have one circuit for power outlets and one for lighting with NO safety switch protection. Upgrading the wiring in older homes can enable you to set up different circuits as needed, along with complying with the latest safety standards, so your family can function more easily in their day-to-day technological life. Wouldn’t you love additional power points in some rooms, and to put them exactly where you need them? What about the option for dimmer switches on lights, or to change to energy efficient lighting, even home automation can now be considered. If your electrical switchboard looks like the image shown here, it’s probably time to consider upgrading.

Other Considerations

  • Smoke Detectors – required by law, smoke detectors are best if they are hard-wired in and have a battery for back-up
  • Safety Switches – safety switches are mandatory in all new homes and for any new power points and lighting circuits installed within existing homes. They can prevent fatal electrocution and they also provide protection for appliances in your home. Recent changes to law require all existing homes to have a safety switch installed when any additional lighting circuits, fans or power points are installed.
  • Value-adding – rewiring a home will be far more attractive when you come to sell your property, both for safety and practical reasons

When you should worry

Get an electrician in to check the wiring in your older home if:

  • Fuses blow often
  • Your lights flicker or dim regularly
  • You can smell a persistent burning smell from an appliance or area of your home
  • Your power points feel warm or look discoloured
  • You suspect dodgy wiring may have been carried out in your home by previous owners

What does it cost to rewire a house

It generally costs anywhere from $3500 – $5000+ to rewire the typical 1950’s style 3 bedroom home and this cost includes upgrading the switch box. Without inspecting the home it’s very difficult to put an exact figure on what it would cost you to rewire your home, but that seems to be the average cost. Be mindful that there are many factors to consider that could affect the final cost and don’t forget to allow for the cost of new light and fan fittings.


Hunter Electrics offer free quotes to home owners in Branxton, Cessnock, Kurri Kurri, Maitland, Singleton and the general Hunter Valley region who are interested in finding out what it would cost to rewire their home.

For a full inspection and report on any property’s electrical wiring including Service Mains, Consumer Mains, Switch Boards, Earthing and Final Sub Circuit wiring please feel free to give me a call on 0423 098 241, or visit our website to submit an online enquiry www.hunterelectrics.com

By Peter Butcher, Hunter Electrics

Lic No. 195208C

July 8, 2016 |

Did you build or renovate a home between 2010 – 2013?


In August 2014 the ACCC issued a recall on all Infinity & Infinity Olsent branded electrical cables due to safety concerns.

It is estimated that over 40,000 homes nationwide are affected by this recall.

If you built a new home, had renovation work carried out or had new appliances installed from 2010 – 2013 your home could be affected by this recall.

Recalled cables fail to meet Australian electrical safety standards due to the poor quality insulation (plastic coating). Cables have been tested and they found that some of the cables were becoming brittle prematurely and would degrade at a faster rate when exposed to high temperatures.

What you need to do

If you haven’t done so already, you should contact a licensed electrician and/or your builder to find out if your home may have Infinity or Olsent branded electrical cables installed. The ACCC has warned that you shouldn’t inspect cables yourself.

Infinity & Olsent cable was available through at least 27 suppliers around Australia during 2010 – 2013. If you had any building or electrical work carried out during this time you should arrange an electrician to inspect your cables for you or speak to your builder to arrange the inspection. This recall may also relate to any new electrical appliances such as ovens and air conditioners that you may have had installed during this time.

These cables could pose a safety risk if you come into physical contact with  brittle or exposed cables and this could lead to electric shock or fire.

The ACCC’s taskforce found that ‘’There is no immediate danger; however, careful steps need to be taken to stop electric shock or fires from occurring in coming years—as early as 2016 for New South Wales.’’

This recall affects NSW home and business owners from 2010 – 2013.

If you live in Newcastle & the Hunter Region click on the button below to find a licensed electrician who can conduct an inspection for you.

infinity cables inspection newcastle

Image: ACCC website

For more detailed information about the Infinity Cable Recall visit the ACCC’s website at



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November 16, 2015 |

Smoke alarms save lives – But did you know they have a lifespan of 10 years?


The cool weather is here and heaters are coming out of storage to keep us warm this winter. At this time of year there is also an increase in the use of clothes dryers which is another concern when it comes to fire safety around the home. Are your smoke alarms in good working order?

Most of us are aware that since 2006 legislation requires NSW residents to have at least one working smoke alarm installed on each level of their home. This legislation relates to owner occupiers, rental properties and any other residential dwellings where people sleep. What a lot of people don’t realise is that all types of smoke alarms (battery operated or hard wired) should be replaced every 10 years.

Where can I purchase a smoke alarm?

  • Your local hardware store
  • Lighting stores
  • Some department stores & supermarkets carry battery operated smoke alarms

Who can install smoke alarms?

All hard wired smoke alarm units must be installed by a licensed electrician. Battery operated units can be installed by the home owner or a handyman.

Smoke alarm maintenance

NSW Fire & Rescue recommend the following maintenance:

  • Monthly – Test to make sure that the alarm is working
  • Six Monthly – Clean smoke alarm with a vacuum cleaner to remove any dust particles which may affect the smoke alarm. Battery operated smoke alarm 9V lead batteries should be changed twice a year.
  • Yearly – If the smoke alarm has an alkaline battery it should be changed yearly.
  • Every 10 Years – All types of smoke alarm units should be replaced every 10 years due to the loss of sensitivity to detect smoke. Refer to Fire & Rescue NSW website information below to find out the age of your smoke detector unit.

Replace your smoke alarm with a new unit every 10 years. Smoke alarms do not last forever and the sensitivity in all smoke alarms will reduce over time. All types of smoke alarms should be removed, replaced and disposed of every 10 years. To assist in identifying the age of smoke alarms the AS3786 standard requires a serial number or batch number (Clause4.1(c)). This is usually done as a batch number e.g. 2406 may mean that the product was manufactured in the 24th week of 2006. Some manufacturers place the date of manufacture on the smoke alarm and some now place the expiry date on the smoke alarm. The batch numbers or dates are usually on the base of the smoke alarm near the battery compartment.”

The Fire & Rescue NSW website has some great information to assist you in deciding where it is best to position your smoke alarms and what types of alarms are suitable. For more detailed information, visit http://www.fire.nsw.gov.au/.

Stay safe this winter.

Belinda Flanagan

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June 24, 2015 |

Why You Should Always Use a Licensed Electrician


SCD Electrical Services can help youUsing a licensed electrician for all electrical work is essential for safety reasons. We are a nation of ‘DIYers’ but when it comes to electricity it’s time to call in the professionals. Electricity should never be taken lightly – electrocution can kill you. According to Master Electricians Australia, 15 people in Australia are killed in preventable electrical accidents each year, with hundreds more treated for a range of electricity-related incidents.

It’s The Law

In NSW all electrical work must be carried out by a licensed electrician, whether it’s a commercial, domestic or industrial job. To check if an electrician is licensed, go to the NSW Online Licence Check form and enter their licence number. When an electrician approaches Build Local to advertise with us we check their licence details and encourage home owners to conduct their own checks with Fair Trading . It is a requirement for all contractors to display their licence information on all advertising so you will find the licence numbers listed in our electricians category.

SwitchboardProtect Yourself and Your Family

The risks of working with electricity cannot be overstated. Electricity does not discriminate. Doing electrical work yourself or employing someone who is unlicensed and inexperienced can put you and your family at risk of injury or even death. A licensed electrician will ensure they meet relevant safety standards and use all appropriate safety measures.

Protect Your Home

Dodgy electrical work is not only dangerous, it could actually create more problems and worsen an existing situation. Your home is probably your most valuable possession – don’t take risks with it. House fires can be caused by shoddy electrical wiring. In addition, if your home has illegal wiring your may find you are not covered by your home building insurance policy. It’s not worth the risk.

Great lighting optionsGet Good Advice

A good licensed electrician will be able to advise you on the latest energy efficient strategies to help you save money on future power bills. Choosing a cheap, unlicensed electrician can be a false economy, possibly costing you money further down the track. Good advice can save you money on future repairs.

To find a licenced electrician in Newcastle or the Hunter Region have a look at Build Local’s directory listings for electricians.

By Kelli Hawkins

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October 31, 2014 |

Safety in the home – The risks of overloading powerboards


Most of us have at least one power board in use at our home, but how safe are they?

Statistics from NSW Fire show that around 350 home or office fires occur each year in NSW due to electrical faults. We have put some tips together to help you identify any potential hazards associated with using power boards in your home.

Power Board Safety Tips 

Take a quick look at our power board safety tips below to see if you can make some changes to improve electrical safety in your home.

  • Use a power board with a built in safety switch/circuit breaker
  • Never overload the board by linking (piggy backing) into another power board
  • Check that plugs are firmly in place in the power sockets
  • Check the lead & board for signs of wear or damage and if in doubt, switch off the power and replace the board
  • Never place a power board under a rug or carpet and ensure that there is sufficient ventilation around the board
  • Heavy plug-in transformers can over balance power boards due to their weight and this may result in overheating due to a poor connection
  • To prevent dust build up in unused sockets you can place power boards on their side or install safety covers in unused sockets
  • Ensure electrical appliances are switched off or unplugged when not in use
  • Double adapters should not be plugged into power boards

For more information about power board safety in your home visit, Fire & Rescue NSW.

If you are in any doubt about the safety of your appliances or electrical wiring, talk to your local electrician.

A licensed electrician can conduct a safety audit of your home and offer you alternate solutions, such as installing additional power outlets in a room to eliminate the need for power boards.

To speak to a Hunter Region based electrician visit, Build Local – Find an Electrician

By Belinda Flanagan

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October 7, 2014 |

Surge Protection – Protect the appliances in your home


Find out the benefits of having a surge arrester installed in your meter box.

Damaging storms can produce electrical activity in the atmosphere and when lightning strikes it can hit power lines & transformers resulting in power surges to homes through your incoming mains cable.  This means that any electrical appliance that is plugged into a power point in your home may receive an unprecedented surge in power which is way beyond normal tolerances.  If this happens and you do not have a surge arrester fitted in your meter box, it can render some appliances beyond repair.

Even small surges of power can decrease the longevity of electronic equipment over a period of time which in turn costs you money to replace electrical appliances & equipment.  Installing appropriate surge protection at your home can save you money over the long term.

There are two layers of surge protection that you can use at home.  The standard surge protection that most of us would be familiar with at home just looks like a standard powerboard with inbuilt surge protection. Most home owners are aware that these should be used in areas where computer equipment, televisions or home theatre equipment is installed.  This level of protection however may not be able to handle large surges in electricity such as those generated by lightning storms.

The best option to protect the appliances within your home from large power surges such as those which occur during stormy weather is to have a simple surge protection device fitted in your power box called a surge arrester.  A surge arrester takes the burden of the power surge directly down to earth, in turn saving your home and appliances from being damaged.  A licensed electrician will need to install this level of protection in your home.

It is still good practice to unplug expensive devices during really bad storms because there is still a slight chance that a nearby lightning strike could result in a voltage too high for any surge protection to handle.

If you have any questions in relation to the installation of surge protection at your home or if would like a free quote to review your surge protection needs at home the team at Anthony Paul Electrical Contracting would be only too happy to assist you.

To find out more about our services visit, http://www.buildlocal.com.au/listings/anthony-paul-electrical-contracting-maitland/

Mary-Anne Paul

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April 7, 2014 |

Why it’s important to contact an electrician to review your electrical wiring


Whether you’ve bought an old house with old or dodgy electrical wiring or are renovating, you’ll probably need the property rewired – find out more here.

Rewiring a house is probably something most of us forget about. Because the wiring is ‘out of sight, out of mind’ it’s not usually thought of as a priority when renovating. It’s very important that the wiring is up to standard to prevent the possibility of fire hazards and electrical shock. Speaking from experience, we have found DIY Electrical work in older style homes that is nothing short of dangerous.

The vast majority of older houses have an out dated style of fabric sheathed wiring encased in a black steel conduit. This cabling when left alone can pose no immediate threat but when worked on, moved or disturbed it can not only be dangerous but can cause nuisance blowing of fuses. Time taken to find the fault and repair can be costly. It is now practice to replace the old wiring with new plastic sheath cabling in accordance with Australian Standards. These old wiring systems sometimes don’t have an Earthing System. The earthing system is vital in circuit protection.

The majority of older houses have only one circuit for all power outlets and one circuit for powering lights. This means that all of the plug in appliances in your home are powered from one circuit. This is why most houses have the problem of blowing fuses or tripping of electrical items. For example, heard of people saying that you can’t have the heater and the toaster going at the same time? This is why a rewire is important. A rewire of the power circuits will all but eliminate this issue by splitting the outlets in your home over multiple circuits. This is also the case with the light circuit. With the implement of down lights and bathroom heating like IXL Tastics, the lighting cabling and circuit protection may not be rated highly enough to handle the increase load.

Upgrading your Main Switchboard is also important. Circuit Protection is not only paramount for the safety of your home, but also the safety of your family. Circuit Breakers and Residual Current Devices (RCD’s), or Safety Switches as they’re more commonly known, provide protection for all of the wiring in your home. Circuit Breakers have the advantage over older style fuses in that a circuit breaker trips due to a faulty appliance, the circuit breakers and safety switches can be reset rather than the hassle of rewiring a fuse. Safety Switches are essential on power circuits as they will trip in an instance of detecting a fault. Air Conditioners, Hot Water systems, Stoves and Cooktops also have to have protection by way of a Circuit Breaker.

It is now a requirement by law that all newly built houses have a Smoke Detector installed. These Smoke Detectors have to be hard wired to the lighting circuit with a battery backup. These are possibly the most important device you can have in your home and can be installed as part of the rewire. These run off your home lighting circuit and have the advantage that in the event of a blackout, the battery keeps the smoke detector operational.

Generally a rewire involves replacement of wiring, replacement of switches and power points, upgrading of main switchboard components and investigate the existing earthing system. We can also add power points if needed and upgrade lighting with energy efficient lights whilst onsite.

Call now for a free, no obligation quote for a rewire and peace of mind in knowing that your property, possessions and loved ones are protected in a Electrically safe environment.

Scott Davies – SCD Electrical Services

For more information about SCD Electrical Services visit, http://www.buildlocal.com.au/listings/scd-electrical-services/

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February 23, 2014 |
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