January 1st 2017, the first day of those New Year’s resolutions!
You know how it goes, the stress of catering for the family of what seems to be hundreds over Christmas has finally pushed you over the limit. Electric oven blaring, 4 cooktop rings going on high and the bloody thing trips out! The lack of power points prove to be an issue when you couldn’t plug the mixer, the kettle, the blender and the microwave in at once! The range hood is nowhere near strong enough to extract the smoke from the, now burning, Yorkshire puddings. What a nightmare! To top it all off, little Tommy has just thrown his Hatchimal (whatever that even is) into the soup pot and Grandpa has had his fair share of mulled wine and fallen asleep in the middle of the chaos. You swear on the baby Jesus that you will have a new, modern kitchen installed in the New Year, but it’s March and you still have no idea where to start…
Here a few tips to set you off on the right foot with the electrical implications and considerations:
1. Switchboard upgrades and Safety switch installations.
If you are ripping out an old kitchen and replacing it with new and altering the layout, the chances are that some re-wiring will be required. When circuits are altered, added to or re-wired it is a requirement by law that safety switch protection, if not already present, is introduced. It is usually more economical to upgrade the entire switchboard when installing safety switches however it is possible to only cover the circuits being worked on.
2. Power point placement matters.
We often get requests to keep power points out of sight but the truth is, sometimes they need to be out there. There was a period of time where it wasn’t cool to have power points above benchtops and all appliances were kept in units with their own dedicated outlet. Of course it wasn’t long after that we would be called back because there was nowhere to plug in a laptop or phone charger. Practicality before trends I say! There are also some really cool power points with USB charging outlets available which helps in this day of households with multiple devices, phones, tablets, i-pods, speakers etc. Pop up power banks are also a viable way to keep outlets out of sight for the minimalists out there.
3. Light it up! You can never get enough light in a kitchen.
If there is any room in a house which should have ample lighting it is the one in which you are using sharp knives, operating hot ovens and boiling pots and pans. It is a practical and versatile space with many uses and understandably you do not want light blaring in your face when using the kitchen for entertaining. LED downlights are a great option and provide a good spread of solid light whilst being agile enough to tone it down when required. Warm white (3000Kelvins) provides a light suitable for creating an ambient feeling through the use of LED dimmers. The LED dimming technology has improved immensely over the past couple of years with dimming to 10% levels easily achieved. Remember, you can dim it down but you can’t dim it up.
4. Make provisions for dedicated circuits for appliances.
Technology is evolving and appliances are getting thirstier than ever. The 20Amp circuit which was once enough to power your entire kitchen is likely now only good for one or two new appliances. The last thing you want is to have a new kitchen installed and only be able to use a couple of things at a time and be back at square one. It also avoids nuisance tripping of everything should there ever be a fault on one of your appliances. Your electrician should suggest dedicated circuits to you.
5. Use quality trades NOT the cheapest.
Money is tight, you need to make the dollars stretch to get the project finished, I get that, but the worst thing you can do is use the cheapest trades you can get your hands on to do the job. Of course if you can get a truly quality tradesperson for the cheapest price then you are onto a winner!! For the most part however, this is not the case. Now, I am not suggesting that using the most expensive tradesperson is the answer here. The key is in the research you put into each company you are considering. Ask to see examples of their past work, ask them for customer references and call them up. I think I speak for all quality tradies out there in saying that our customers are our number one marketing tool. We leave them happy and satisfied and in return they are happy to tell people about their positive experience.
Scott Electrics are a premium, high end electrical contractor and offer bespoke solutions to suit your needs. Working alongside you to ensure the best outcome for your new kitchen or renovation project.