When it comes time to renovate, sometimes you just need to treat yourself a little. Top electrical upgrades can make your home on the cutting edge, and who doesn’t want a house decked out with gadgets James Bond would be proud of?
Luxuries are about making your home life easier but upgrades can actually go a long way to increase the value of your home come time to sell.
From automation to handy lighting, there are many things you can do to make your place a little bit fancier. Here are the top electrical upgrades that will change the way that you live.
This one is for the clutter conscious, or even maybe just someone who is always losing things. Charging pads are a new technology that does away with all cabling, allowing you to simply rest the phone, smartwatch or tablet on the surface to charge the device. Charging pads can now come built into furniture such as side tables and desk lamps, which have inbuilt charging bases to discreetly charge your phone.
You may have seen touchless taps at venues, but have you ever considered installing them in your home? There are many benefits of a sensor-operated faucet, such as stopping the spread of germs as well as controlling the amount of water used – you’ll never forget to turn the tap off again! Most units are programmable so you can set the length of time the water runs for as well as the temperature of the water.
Heated Bathroom Floors
Heated bathroom floors are a luxury you’ll thank yourself for, come the colder months. With thin radiant mats installed underneath your tiles, you’ll never have to experience cold feet again. Most systems are adaptable with a thermostat and timer system to turn on before you shower every morning. One added benefit is that heated flooring can help to stop mould growth in humid bathrooms!
Under-Cabinet /Skirtboard LED Lighting
Under-cabinet and/or skirt board LED lights can be a great way to provide a soft light in your kitchen for different purposes. Lights from high cabinets can be practical as you prepare dinner, and from low cabinets, they can shine a warm glow on the kitchen floor. Skirtboard lighting is perfect for giving you a little bit of light to get up the hallway for a midnight snack.
Programmable thermostats are great, but they’re a bit last millennium. You can now get thermostats with motion sensors that turn off when they detect that no one is home, and turn on when they are. What’s even cooler is that over time the thermostat will learn everyone in the house’s rhythms and learn to predict when people get home to make sure the house is at a suitable temperature.
Smart locks can be integrated as part of your home security system and can be added to an existing door. The lock works as a touchscreen that can lock or unlock your home with a passcode, just like you would your phone. You can customise the unit so that it gives particular codes to certain people at certain times, for instance, you could just give your cleaner a certain code for 8 am Tuesday.
Smart Home Systems
Smart home systems are the be-all and end-all of electrical upgrades as they can integrate all of the technology within a household, including lighting, locking, heating and even music. These systems, when coupled with automation, can make you feel like you are living in a house of the future. Some hubs are even artificially intelligent and will tell you the weather for tomorrow, start a movie for you or even set you an alarm, all through voice command.
Top Electrical Upgrades For Your Kitchen
A kitchen remodel is an exciting renovation that can completely refresh one of the most used rooms in your house. New cupboards, white goods, appliances and benches can all go a long way to improve the overall feeling and impact of your home. But what about electricals?
Electrical upgrades such as switching and lighting can not only lift the aesthetics of your kitchen but can also improve its practicality.
Electrical upgrades are a great way to boost the looks and functionality of your kitchen. Here are some great additions you should consider.
Everyone has had those mornings, you need to boil a kettle, put toast on and use the juicer at the same time. But what if you need to charge your phone? No one has time to rearrange power outlets, so one solution is to install a panel of USB outlets in your kitchen. With all the USB reliant devices in modern households, a dedicated outlet can make charging a breeze. Simply install it next to your bench space and you’ll never need an adapter again.
Traditional outlets are so… traditional. If you want to go a step further to improve the aesthetic appeal of your kitchen there are many options for your power outlets.
Pop-up outlets are a great choice for the clutter conscious. They stay hidden on the bench until you need an extra appliance, all you need to do is hit the button and it’s there.
Recessed outlets are awesome if you are short of bench space. Those extra few centimetres taken up by plugs at the back of the appliance can be a real nuisance and dangling cords can sure be unsightly. Recessed outlets allow you to tuck them into the wall for a flush fit.
Under-cabinet outlets can make your walls look less cluttered and can also give you easy access to appliances without any loose cords.
Perfect for finding that obscure spice right at the back of the shelf, pantry lights can be made to automatically switch on when the door is opened and turn off again when you’re done. Walk-in pantries can even be fitted with motion sensors!
Overhead lights are great for cooking, but what if you need a midnight snack? Baseboard lights illuminate the skirting or baseboard just above your floor, giving you just enough light to make it through the hallway to the fridge.
Stylised Light Switches
Not a lot of people are aware that light switches can come in many shapes and sizes. They don’t have to be the standard white-on-white finish that is fitted in most houses. Designer light switches can be tailored to suit any kitchen aesthetic. Need blue to suit your splash-backs? No problem. What about stainless steel or stone to suit your finishes? Consider it done.
BONUS: 5 Signs It’s Time to Upgrade Your Electrical Switchboard
Electrical switchboards are one of the most important parts of your home, after all, what would you do without electricity? These devices route the electricity right to where you need it, delivering the conveniences and comforts we are accustomed to.
Despite this, electrical switchboards can become outdated and even overwhelmed with the requirements of technology, such as lighting and appliances. If you suspect that your electrical switchboard might not be able to keep up with modern energy needs, it might be time for an upgrade.
Although many of our appliances claim to be energy efficient, households are consuming more and more energy each day, so it’s no surprise that old electrical switchboards can’t keep up.
It’s important to be aware of the signs that might point towards a need to upgrade your electrical switchboard. Here’s what to look out for.
You Live in an Old House
If you live in an older house your power board may not be up to the task of supporting the variety of appliances that are required in our modern lives. In times past, a single 60-amp electrical switchboard did the job, however, now homes generally require a single-phase 80amp or three-phase 80amp. Your panel should display its specifications, however, if you are unsure it might be a good idea to get an electrician to take a look.
Your Appliances Aren’t Performing Properly
If you notice that your appliances aren’t working to the best of their ability, it might be a sign that your electrical switchboard panel isn’t keeping up. Some signs of an overworked panel include appliances cutting out, lights flickering and corrosion or signs of melting around the unit itself. If you regularly find that using multiple appliances trips breakers, this could also be a good indication that your electrical switchboard may need an upgrade.
Your electrical switchboard Uses a Fuse Rather Than Residual Circuit Breakers (RCBO)
Prior to the 1970s, most homes were built with fuses, which essentially operate in the same way as a circuit breaker, and protect from surges, however, they are prone to melting, blowing, short-circuiting, and in the worst cases, fires. Fuse based systems were adequate for the power needs of a home 50 years ago, however, in the modern age, they can easily become overloaded. If you have a fuse based system, the best bet is to have an electrician install a Residual Circuit Breaker.
Your Breakers Are Frequently Tripping
Circuit breakers are designed to trip when they detect an irregularity in the flow of electricity and protect the system from the dangers of an influx of current, which can in the worst case cause fires. Tripping is an important feature to protect your system, however, if you find that your system is tripping regularly it’s a good indication that there’s something wrong with your electrical switchboard, or your electrical switchboard panel can’t cope with the electric draw in your home.
You’re Renovating or Have Purchased New Appliances
If you have recently renovated your home, it’s a good idea to make sure that your electrical switchboard can handle any new changes to the circuit. Similarly, any new appliances may burden your system and cause it to overload.
When it comes to upgrading your electrical switchboard it’s not just a matter of convenience, it’s also a matter of safety.
If you have any questions about electrical switchboards, or if you believe it may be time for an upgrade the best bet is to talk to a professional.