Property on fire

by | Feb 7, 2023 | Uncategorized

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There’s a certain time of year, for every property manager when a thorough inspection helps keep them in the good books with the property owner. We want to put our hands up to offer a service of an annual audit of rental properties to stop electrical fires before they happen. Why? Because we’ve seen what happens when you don’t. And at an average cost of $300 plus GST (which does depend on the house), we think it’s well worth doing. But don’t take our word for it – here’s the evidence.

Dirty stoves are the worst – not only do they house infestations of cockroaches, but they’re also great hidey-holes for rats and mice. When we go in to fix a stove, we often find a dead mouse. So if they haven’t caused the issue, then it’s general wear and tear on the elements and controls.

If an element blows (usually because it’s old), it tends to take out the circuit as well, which means you’ve just lost a stove. A budget model ranges from $700-$1,000 and the mid-range is $1,000-$1,500.

Check out the element pictured; it’s blown out on the middle ring there. If there’s food around, that will cause it to light up, and voila, house fire.

A dirty rangehood will reduce the life of the unit. The sticky grease clogs up everything, including the motor. Then the motor must work harder to function, it uses more energy and then burns out.

If it’s hot, guess what that grease does? And a new rangehood is typically priced from a little over $300 to over $2,000.

Porcelain fuses in old switchboards are not suitable for today’s electrical needs. Not only do they not meet current regulations, but they are also a fire hazard. And if there’s an old switchboard, there’s likely to be old wiring, switches, and light fittings.

An example of this going wrong was a cable that melted, about 500mm from the switchboard. It happened because the fuse on an old switchboard didn’t trip when it was supposed to. If we hadn’t found it in one of our audits, it would have started a fire.

We’ve also seen examples of some classic Kiwi DIY. We’ve seen tenants put the wrong sized wire to fix a fuse, even a nail, and one time a paperclip.

The photos above are from the result of a fire started by old cabling – they had already ripped the jib off the walls and were starting on the rebuild when we took the photos. You can see how hot it got by the melted heat pump and remote. The middle photo shows the original cabling burnt to a crisp.

We check the switchboard as part of our annual audit, checking for incorrect fuse wires and terminals for correct tightness (loose connections can cause overheating and electrical fires).

We write up a report on the switchboard and an electrical review of the entire property. We would much rather be at the top of the cliff stopping electrical fires from happening, than being the ambulance at the bottom of the cliff, repairing all the damage.

Get in touch and talk with myself or Matt to get your audit booked.

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