Top 6 Tips To Keep Your Family Safe From Fire Hazards

Each year more people die and are injured in house fires than bushfires. In 2017 there were 1,532 preventable house fires in Melbourne resulting in the loss of three lives and causing $32 million property damage.

  • 48 per cent of those fires started in the kitchen
  • 7 per cent in the bedroom
  • 5 per cent in the lounge room
  • 3 per cent in the laundry

There are some very simple rules to follow to help keep you safe in your home. Print them out and discuss them with your partner, family or housemates. They could save your life one day.

Keep emergency numbers near the phone

  • Ensure emergency numbers are keyed into all the phones in your home.
  • Dial 000 (triple zero) for fire, police and ambulance.
  • It’s never too early to teach children how to responsibly contact emergency services.

Practise your home fire escape plan regularly

  • Identify the quickest, safest way to get out of the house from every room,
    including upper floors.
  • Agree on a place to meet outside (letter box or nature strip) and practise it.
  • Ensure your house number is clearly visible so emergency services can find you quickly.
  • Document your plan.

Stop, drop, cover and roll

  • If your clothes catch fire – stop, drop, cover your face with your hands and roll to smother the flames.
  • To help someone else, throw a woollen blanket over them to extinguish the flames.

Get down low and go go go!

  • If there’s smoke in your house, get down low and go, go, go!
  • In a fire, the safest area for breathing is near the floor where the air is cooler and cleaner, so remember to crawl low in smoke.

Check doors for heat before opening

  • Use the back of your hand to check for heat, then get down low and crawl to safety.
  • Close doors behind you if possible. If the door is hot, use another exit.
  • Get everyone out of the house as quickly as possible.

Call the fire brigade

  • Call the fire brigade from a neighbour’s house, public or mobile phone and wait for them to arrive.
  • Tell them where the fire is and if anyone is still inside.
  • Never go back inside for any reason.

One of the easiest ways to ensure that your home is safe is to have your electrical switchboard inspected and ensure there are safety switches installed.

To schedule your annual safety check call us on 1300 390 045

This is a FREE service to all our Home Protection Shield Plan Members

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Top Plumbing Tips For A More Comfortable Home

When it comes to plumbing, many things can go wrong. Some plumbing issues are very easy to repair, while others can become quite a bit more difficult. No matter how difficult or simple the plumbing problem may appear, it’s wise to have some plumbing knowledge to ensure that repairs are done correctly and efficiently. After all, it’s your home, and you don’t want any nasty surprises by trying to do the work yourself without knowing what to do.

Use this article to help you understand what’s happening and make the best decision for your family’s plumbing needs

Prolong the life of your toilet. Avoid using harsh chemicals such as bleach tablets, blue toilet deodorizers, or the other odor removers inside your toilet. These may deodorize, but they can seriously damage the rubber pieces in the toilet, causing poor functionality or even complete breakdown of the fixture. This will create a messy surprise that no one wants.

Only water down the drain! Don’t pour cooking grease, leftover frying fat or any oils down your sink drain. These materials may be liquid when you pour them in, but they will solidify and can constrict the space in your pipes. If you own a garbage disposal, grease can even cause the blades to stop working if they have fat on them.

Upgrade your shower heads. Not all shower heads are the same. Save money on water costs by investing in energy efficient shower heads that still give you a good shower but put out less water. A single energy efficient shower head can save you $100 or more each year.

Watch what you flush. Too many people use their toilet like a trashcan. To limit toilet problems, reduce what you flush down the toilet. Never flush paper towels, tissue, diapers, or feminine hygiene products. Even flushable wipes can cause problems! These things do not break up correctly and they can clog your pipes.

Use a screen. Hair is a common material in drain clogs. Stop the clog by covering your drains with screens to keep hair from going into the pipes. You can remove hair much easier from a screen as opposed to getting it out of the inside of a pipe.

It’s easy to forget about your plumbing when it’s working well. But when a plumbing emergency happens, it can get messy, uncomfortable, and even unsafe very quickly! Taking preventative measures means you will not have to spend as much on plumbing repairs. Drain clogs are probably the most frequent issue you will run into with your plumbing. Fortunately, there are ways to prevent plumbing emergencies from happening, and even ways to save money to make sure your family is safer and more comfortable.

Simple Electrical Tips When Trouble Strikes

Has this ever happened to you?

You want to turn on the coffeemaker in the morning… only to press the button and not see any coffee being brewed! Or maybe you plug in your phone to charge but it never charges!

We never really think about our home’s electrical systems until something doesn’t work correctly. And then we notice that something’s wrong!

Your home is made up of many systems, one of them being the electrical system: wires run through your home to power your lights, fans, and receptacles so you plug in your appliances and gadgets.

So, when something is not working, what should you do?

First, see if there is power anywhere else in the house. It could be that there’s a power outage affecting your home or the whole block but you didn’t notice because it was such a sunny day!

If there’s power elsewhere, make sure there is nothing wrong with the appliance or gadget that you’re trying to plug in! (It happens a lot: you might think there’s something wrong with your home’s power when in fact your coffeemaker has just decided to stop working or your phone cord has actually broken.)

If there’s nothing wrong with the device then the problem may be associated with that power point and/or any other powered items sharing the same electrical line. (For example, maybe there are too many appliances plugged in and turned on to that one line.) Unplug other items that share the same circuit.

Next, head to your electrical switchboard (sometimes people call it a “fuse box” or “circuit panel”) and look for any breaker that has been tripped. Reset it to restore power to that line. (Your switchboard is made up of circuit breakers that will temporarily “break” the line when something is wrong.)

If power is restored to the line, great! Go back to making coffee… and just keep an eye on how many items you plugging in to the power point that share the line at any one time.

If power is not restored, you may consider calling an electrical expert to help you. Do not attempt to investigate further or do your own electrical repairs. Electrical current is dangerous and can even be deadly. Leave it to the pros. Get an electrical expert to help you and they’ll quickly and easily diagnose the problem and give you a recommendation to help you solve it.

Our home’s electricity is something we don’t think about… until we no longer have it available to us. Use this simple list to help you troubleshoot any electrical issues you face in your home.

Spring Home Maintenance

 

In spring, focus on freshening up your home and protecting your property against the season’s strong winds, warm days and leading into the summer rains.

Outdoor Tasks

  • Clean gutters and downpipes. Learn how to maintain your gutters. Remember ladder safety here
  • Inspect roof and chimney for cracks and damage
  • Touch up peeling or damaged paint.
  • Wash all windows inside and out
  • Install screens on doors and windows (those summer bugs can be pesky!)
  • Clean outdoor furniture and air out cushions (be mindful for any hidden creepy crawlies)
  • Service your lawn mower
  • Fertilize your lawn

Indoor Tasks

  • Test smoke alarms and change batteries
  • Wash and change seasonal bedding
  • Dust blinds and vacuum curtains throughout your home
  • Clean kitchen and bathroom cabinets and throw away outdated food, medicines and cosmetics
  • Have air conditioner outside professionally inspected and serviced
  • Test electrical switchboard and safety switches

Like your car, your home needs regular maintenance and occasional tune-ups to stay in tip-top shape.

Fortunately, you can complete most of these tasks by yourself and schedule the professionals for any indoor or outdoor tasks.

Regular home maintenance is essential to ensure a safe and efficient home.  It’s a good idea to set aside some money in your budget each month for home maintenance and repair.  As a rule of thumb, homeowners spend between 1% to 3% of their home’s value on maintenance and repair each year.

Following these simple maintenance checklist every year can help your home look its best, keep utility bills down and prevent more costly repairs in the future.

The schedule safety checks and servicing you can call us on 1300 390 045

The Hidden Secret To Keeping Your Home Insurance Policy Valid

Close-up Photo Of Flooded Floor In Kitchen From Water Leak

Do You Know That a simple task of replacing an old tap for a new one, could void your warranty and potentially void your home insurance policy in the event of major water damage?

And we’re guessing that if you have ever stepped into a big box retailer to buy a new tap that no information has been provided to you at the point of sale or by the person installing the new tap…..

Now imagine that new tap blowing off and causing major water damage inside your home.

Your first instinct may be to ask if your insurance policy will cover all that damage.  The floors, the skirting boards, the carpet, the walls, the swollen cabinetry, the furniture damaged by water…the list goes on.

We have attended to thousands of service calls to replace kitchen taps over the last 15 years and one of the most important bits of information we provide our customers with is the fact that the manufacturer’s warranty for that tap will be voided if the water pressure is above 500kPa and no valve is present on the meter to maintain the water pressure limit.

According to the Victorian Building Authority “Common Audit Failure: report published on 5th October 2017 the 2nd highest failure from practitioners was to to demonstrate the static pressure to any outlet other than a fire hose outlet, within a building does not exceed 500kPa.

“But I’m not so concerned because the tap only cost me $x from the big box supplier and Ill just replace it again if it fails…”

This is a common comment we have heard often.

This is where it gets juicy….

If your water pressure is tested and it is above 500kPa and you DO NOT have a pressure limiting valve installed – not only will the manufacturer void the warranty on the tap – YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY MAY CHOOSE TO NOT COVER THE DAMAGE.

That’s right….so that relatively cheap tap or decision not to invest in the valve to protect your home, could potentially cost you more than you had bargained for…not to mention the stress, inconvenience and headache that comes with it.

That is why our service experts ALWAYS test your water pressure to ensure it meets the VBA requirements and to educate you about the importance of protecting water fixtures….for your safety and peace of mind.

 

How To Safely and Easily Troubleshoot A Faulty Safety Switch

My safety switch wont turn back on – what can I do?

This is one of the most common questions we receive and there is something you can do before the experts come out.

The first thing to do is identify what appliances are connected to the safety switch. HINT: There should be a label underneath each switch identifying appliances or areas of your home.

The first step is to turn off all appliances (and even disconnect/remove the power cord from the power point).

Once all appliances have been disconnected, ensure the safety switch is back in the “ON” position.

Then, one by one, turn each appliance on.

If for instance you turn on the dishwasher and the safety switch trips – it’s pretty safe to say that the the dishwasher is the appliance that is tripping and could be faulty.

Common culprits are normally kettles, dishwashers, washing machines, dryers, tank pumps.  The fridge being the number 1 culprit! Other common culprits are pool pumps andigniter powerpoints for gas cooktops and water heaters.

If your switchboard does not have safety switches, this would be something you should attend to immediately.  The role of the safety switch is to prevent electrical faults that could lead to electrical fires in your home.  Always keep you and your family safe by having safety switches and surge protection in your home.

Remember also not to overload power boards.  It’s better to have more power points installed throughout your home than overload power boards or run extension cords.

For homes and families that have many devices, you can also change over power points to include USB adaptors making.

In any event we are here to answer all your questions and help troubleshoot as a first point of call.  Call us on 1300 390 045 to have a chat.

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Air Conditioning – How to Recognise a Faulty Air Conditioner

Who doesn’t love a bit of air conditioning? These useful systems are a great way to stay cool in the summer and a fantastic way to enjoy warmth during those colder months – but try as we might, there really is no way to guarantee that our units will stay functioning well into the future. It’s easy to look at the internal fan unit and think that’s all there is to keep an eye on, but what you might not know is that there are a multitude of cables running within your walls, not to mention an external unit that will have its own responsibilities.

When can problems arise?

When can’t they, right? Electricity is great to have access to, but one of the drawbacks is that any device or appliance that relies on it can suffer with an issue at any time, and for any number of reasons. Technically speaking, there are three systems that all air conditioning units consist of. There’s the internal fan, the cables and ventilation shafts and the external unit.

If you’ve spotted that your system could be suffering with a problem, then you’ll undoubtedly want to have it rectified as soon as possible. A good electrician will be able to help with air conditioning repair in Melbourne – but there’s really no harm in trying to find out the cause of the problem yourself. As long as you stay well away from the electrical outlets and avoid cables; recognising the issue can be as simple as you’d imagine.

What types of problems can these units face?

Have you noticed that your unit isn’t turning on when you want it to? If so, then the first place to check is your remote control. It might just need new batteries and this is something that you’ll be able to take care of with ease. If the problem isn’t remote-related however, then you might want to give a local electrician a quick call – as the issue might be a little more electrical in nature.

It’s also not unheard of for air conditioners and HVAC units to suffer with water build-ups internally, but as you can imagine liquid and electricity don’t mix, so if you suspect this – avoid touching the unit at all costs. The most common sign of this event will be a fine mist being emitted from the internal unit when it’s on – or the smell of damp coming from the unit itself.

The most common problem actually doesn’t occur indoors, but outside where the fan and cables are exposed to the elements. If your air smells like leaves, then foliage may have been sucked into the external fan, or if the air supply isn’t as strong as you’d imagine – then there could be a blockage in the pipes. In any event, it’s always a good idea to get in touch with an expert and have them take care of the fault.

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Blocked Drains – What Should You Do If You’re Facing a Blockage?

People like to say that there are only two guarantees in life; death and taxes. We like to think a little outside of the box however, so we’ve thrown an extra ‘guarantee’ into the mix – in the form of blocked drains. These events can occur at the most inconvenient of times and if left untreated, there’s no telling just how substantial the cause of the blockage can become.

What might have started as a few stray hairs can soon lead to a huge clump; heaven forbid if sand or oil manages to make their way into your pipework, too! In these events you’ll typically have just a few options, but what might they be exactly?

Call out the professionals

This is by far the most beneficial (and potentially effective) option at your disposal. By getting in touch with a trained and qualified plumber you won’t have to face damaging your drain and pipes further by attempting to rectify the matter, nor will you need to deal with the unsavoury cause of the blockage either!

It can be pretty appealing to try to remove the blockage yourself, but considering the damage that you might cause if the problem travels further into your pipework – this is the last thing that you might want to do.

Turn off your water supply

As briefly mentioned above, if you allow the blockage to travel further into your pipework; this could result in a larger problem, or even unnecessary damage. Instead of switching the shower head on and turning it to full-blast, it makes much more sense to switch your water supply off to stop anyone else from inadvertently affecting the blockage in your drain.

With the supply off, you won’t have to worry too much about the clump travelling further down into your pipes; and you can then get in touch with an expert to have them take care of the event for you.

If a little DIY is on the cards, then only try the most reputable blockage removers

Sometimes you might find that calling an expert is out of the question – especially if you’re keen to dislodge the cause as soon as possible. It is worth noting that plenty of plumbers offer emergency services, so you could still give them a call if you need them urgently. But if you really are keen to take care of the cause yourself, then your final option will be to invest in a sink and plughole un-blocker.

These products are readily available in stores; but as most will rely on oil-based chemicals to shift the blockage to another location in your pipework (whilst hopefully breaking it down), we wouldn’t blame you for getting in touch with the professionals instead.

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Electrical – How Important Is It to Maintain the Electricity in Your Home?

What’s the one thing that most home owners rely on more than anything else in their homes? Electricity of course. Sure, we all need water on a daily basis – especially when staying hydrated, showering, or taking care of the next load of laundry – but without electrical power, we’d really be left in the dark.

There are three main reasons when electric cables and connections will need to be addressed.

First; if a new home is in the process of being built, then a reliable electrician will need to be called out to take care of the connectivity.

Second; if your home could do with a new set of power outlets, then you will undoubtedly need an expert to pay you a visit and take care of this requirement.

Third; if you’ve noticed issues with certain cables, power outlets, or electrical appliances – then a quick spot of maintenance could well be on the cards.

Why is it so important to leave these tasks to the professionals?

Electricity might be one of the most versatile resources in the world, with uses that are still being discovered; but boy oh boy can it be dangerous. Every single year, hundreds of people die as a result of electrocution and although most homes are well-equipped to moderate the flow of energy within walls, under floorboards and inside of devices – there’s really no guarantee.

Even if the job seems fairly straight forward, it’s never a good idea to attempt a repair or check-up unless you have the right amount of experience. All good electricians will boast a range of licenses and certificates and without these, they simply wouldn’t be able to ply their trade. Knowing that the person that’s dealing with your maintenance is as highly trained as they are experienced can be very reassuring.

Is there anything that you can do to help?

For those of you that might hate having to rely on others to get the job done and would like to play a part in the project; the good news is that you can! Instead of unscrewing ports and outlets, or removing cables to expose any areas that may have suffered with damage; it’s best to leave these tasks to the experts.

But what you can do is direct your electrician to your fuse box when they turn up. Rather than risking flicking the wrong switches off, you might just want to take a back seat and let the pros do what they do best. They’ll be able to almost instantly identify which switches control which parts of your home and once they turn them off – they’ll be able to take care of the maintenance with relative ease.