Preventative Maintenance

by | Mar 15, 2021 | Residential electrician

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The best way to deal with a problem is to prevent it from happening. This is precisely the purpose of preventative maintenance.

An important service for any residential home or business, preventative maintenance can provide you peace of mind by identifying potential risks in your electrical systems. In some cases, it is required by New Zealand standards.

Emergency Lights

Under New Zealand standards, all commercial and office buildings should be fitted with emergency lighting within all escape routes. Since these are required by law, you must ensure they are in working order.

During the maintenance check, an electrician will:

  • Check all emergency fittings
  • Record results
  • Ensure all lights are charging off the mains power

Lux levels, which measure the level of light intensity, should also be tested.

These test should be carried:

  • Monthly, for a duration of 120 minutes
  • Annually, for a duration of 240 minutes

For the safety of the building’s occupants, the emergency lighting will stay illuminated throughout testing.

Switchboards

Switchboards are the powerhouse of the electrical system. They house the varying connections between electric circuits.

Testing is best done during daylight savings, as this allows the electrician to test the operation of:

  • Time clocks
  • Daylight sensors
  • Operation switches

Your electrician will also:

  • Look over the switchboard to identify any potentially dangerous electrical issues and ensure the switchboard meets the current electrical standard
  • Check for dust build-up, which can cause a breakdown in the switchboard
  • Test earth faults
  • Ensure the insulation resistance between all live conductors and earth are satisfactory
  • Check for potential shock hazards
  • Confirm that there are no faults in any circuit connections
  • Tighten any loose terminals (loose terminals are one of the leading causes of electrical fires, so it is absolutely vital that these are correctly fastened)

For commercial properties, it is recommended that thermal imaging tests be performed once a year on switchboards. Thermal imaging is used to detect poor connections, deteriorating insulation, excess heating, or any other potential electrical hazards.

This is a non-invasive test and can even reduce insurance premiums. Some insurance companies require thermal imaging for commercial properties. However, even if your property is non-commercial, thermal imaging is still hugely beneficial for your safety.

Residual Current Device

A residual current device (RDC) is fitted within modern switchboards and protects against electrical fires and shocks. If there is a wiring fault or a wire accidentally becoming exposed, the RDC will automatically switch off the circuit, preventing you from injury.

The majority of electrical fatalities could have been avoided if proper preventative maintenance of RDCs had been carried out beforehand. 

It is recommended that these are tested monthly and annually. You can perform monthly tests simply by pressing the test button. Annual tests should be performed by a professional using an RCD tester.

Testing will only take about five minutes per RCD. While for residential properties, this won’t be much of an interruption, it would be best for the testing to be done outside business hours on a commercial property as the power will need to be shut off.

There are two main tests an electrician will run:

  • Operating time test. This measures how long it takes an RCD to trip.
  • Push-button test. The push-button test ensures that it will trip in the event of an earth leakage and break the electrical circuit to prevent an electrical shock from occurring.

Lighting Sweeps

When not properly maintained, fluorescent lighting can eat into your power bill. Flickering fluorescent lighting can be stressful to staff and result in low productivity.

It is recommended that an electrician performs a lighting sweep once a month to check for inefficient lighting, confirm that all fittings are in working order, and identify any faulty switches.

LED lights, which are more energy-efficient, need to be maintained less frequently. Inspections of these lights only need to be carried out once every six months.

During the lighting sweep, your electrician will also:

  • Check and test exterior lighting
  • Replace any burned-out bulbs
  • Ensure each light has the same colour temperature
  • Dust and clean lens surfaces
  • Safely remove any lighting elements containing mercury or lead

Test and Tag

Appliances should be routinely tested for damage and to measure their continuity, insulation, polarity, and physical condition.

Once an appliance has been tested (and has passed), a tag will be attached indicating when it was tested, when the next test is due and will include a tracking code.

Portable appliance testing (PAT) can be arranged alongside annual preventative maintenance of other electrical systems to minimise disruptions.

This testing table details the frequency in which varying appliances should be tested:

Testing emergency lighting, switchboards, RDCs, fluorescent or LED lighting, and appliances can mean the difference between a safe or a hazardous environment.

No Shock’s preventative maintenance service includes all of the above. Whether it’s for your home or office building, our team of trusted experts are ready to ensure the safety of your property.

Get in touch with us today to discuss how we can help. 

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