Smart and easy fixes for hidden household problems
Your home is a haven, a sanctuary where you and your family retreat to rest, relax and have fun. Unfortunately you may not be completely protected from potential household hazards and unexpected dangers. In South Africa, external factors such as fluctuating electricity, the rising cost of energy, and sudden extreme weather such as thunderstorms, lightning and hail can potentially damage the outside and inside of your home, as well as affect the overall well-being and comfort of your family. However, by knowing what causes these dangers and by understanding how you can protect yourself against them, you can create both a safer and more energy efficient home whilst giving you and your family peace of mind.
“If the electrical supply to a home is left unchecked and mismanaged, it can cause expensive and risk-filled problems for the home. More tragically, a botched electrical job can prove to be fatal to the home’s inhabitants,” says Nico van der Merwe, Retail Business director at Schneider Electric South Africa.
Below are three common problems that put your home at risk and the simple solutions that result in a more comfortable and safe space.
Problem #1: Damage to household equipment due to power surges
Often, we leave appliances and electronics switched on and plugged in all day, but even if these are turned off to avoid consuming power, they are still vulnerable to power surges, which can cause harmful damage. Power surges are caused by fluctuating electricity from sudden blackouts or due to unexpected weather conditions like lightning. Today, this scenario is a reality for many South African homes, due to rolling blackouts as a result of a lack of energy supply. The sudden rise and fall of power caused by these unexpected conditions delivers dangerous spikes in energy that can short-circuit appliances and internally damage expensive electronics.
The solution: You can protect your electronics from spikes and surges by investing in voltage regulators and surge protectors that can adjust and normalise power consumption. Schneider Electric offers products such as automatic voltage regulators (AVRs), which instantly adjust high and low voltages to safe levels, and surge protection devices (SPDs) that can protect electrical and electronic equipment against lightning-induced surges. Additionally, an uninterruptible power supply (or battery surge protector) can provide short-term battery power to electronics to ensure a proper shutdown. In conditions where power interruption is out of your hands, these Schneider Electric solutions provide protection and safety for your equipment.
Problem #2: Potential fire hazards caused by unregulated electricity
If power surges caused by lack of electricity can damage the home, there is also harm caused by having an excess of energy. The amount of electricity that flows into your house from power distribution grids carries a constant voltage but different areas of the home require varying amounts of energy because your devices and equipment require different amounts of power. Similar to power surges, if the electrical wiring around the home has too much energy current flowing through the wires and fuses, it could reach unsafe levels and create problems and equipment failures, which put your home at a high risk of household fires and other mishaps.
The solution: Invest in a circuit breaker, which regulates the output of energy. Part of Schneider Electric’s residential solutions, the circuit-breaker is one of the most important safety devices to have in a home. It monitors the electrical current that goes through your home and cuts off the power when the flow of energy gets too high. The circuit breaker helps return energy levels to a safe zone, continuously and efficiently regulating the energy levels flowing through your home.
Problem #3: High-energy consumption caused by uncomfortable environments
During the summer months, lighting and temperature controls can mean the difference between a stuffy living space and relief from the unforgiveable weather. Little do you know that your home may be equipped with lighting fixtures that consume more energy than others, and temperatures controls that fail to provide a healthy and comfortable ambience. Your lighting utility can consume high amounts of energy and contribute to uncomfortable heat, while temperature controls can cause discomfort and unhealthy environment by keeping your home too hot or too cold.
The solution: Optimise your home’s environment with efficient ambience controls. Schneider Electric offers a unique residential solution that can control lighting and temperatures automatically. The integrated system can provide comfort all day by giving you control to adjust and customise your ambience-preference settings while increasing your savings on energy consumption.
“As South Africans, we are faced with an insufficient electricity supply scenario, fluctuating power rates and, at times, harsh weather conditions. Decreasing energy bills and potential hazards is part of the country’s energy consciousness and solutions to these challenges should be simple, efficient, green and reliable. Schneider Electric's expertise is guided by the belief that every house and each family deserve a safe, comfortable and energy efficient home. Smart choices are accessible and affordable so take action and give yourself a safe and vibrant home.”