Q: I can turn the lights on in my home but there is no power at the power points. What is the problem and could this be dangerous?
A: We often receive calls from customers telling us they have lost half the power in their house. So, why, or even how, does this happen? Lights and power points run on different circuits; when one trips it may not affect the other. To determine why your lights are working but there is no power to appliances, you will need to check your home’s switchboard.
The switchboard will have a mains switch that powers all circuits and then each circuit has its own trip switch, which should be labelled. If you find the socket circuit has tripped, switch it back on. If the switch keeps tripping off, it is time to complete an isolation test as one of your appliances is causing you to lose your power.
Unplug all your appliances – simply turning them off will not do – and turn the circuit back on. If it still won’t stay on then there is a fault between the switch and your sockets, and you will need to contact an electrician. If it stays on, then go through the process of individually plugging each appliance back in to determine which one is faulty. It’s the one that will trip the circuit.
To be certain, plug another appliance into the same power point to ensure it’s not an issue with the power point. If it’s the appliance, time to get it repaired or replaced, but if there appears to be a power point issue do not use it until a licensed electrician has assessed the situation.
Here are a few ways to further protect your home and family in the event of electrical failure:
1. Get a qualified electrician out to install a Residual Current Device (RCD) – these are life-saving devices designed to prevent you from receiving a fatal electrical shock;
2. Surge-diverter – Use surge protectors to protect your electrical appliances from excessive voltage spikes, causing appliance faults and power trips;
3. Upgrade your old switchboard – older style switchboards with ceramic fuses should be upgraded for the health of your home and its occupants.
Need help identifying an electrical fault? Just give us a call – 13 10 91. We are serving areas in Canberra, Newcastle, Central Coast, Hunter Valley, Lake Macquarie and Port Stephens.