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What do you want from your exterior lights? To increase security? To create a romantic mood? To highlight aspects of your garden or landscaping?

Today, lights do all these and more. They can act as deterrents to burglars (see our post Home Security Systems – Choosing the best option), they can provide privacy, and they can even help you with household chores.

Many of us do not see our homes in daylight for much of the year – except at weekends. We leave for work before daybreak and arrive home after dark so chores like hanging out washing or putting out rubbish are done in the dark. Exterior lighting that guides you to the clothesline or the front gate reduces the likelihood of accidents, and makes it possible to get these chores done quickly and easily.

Safety when entering and exiting garages or carports is important to us all. It can be nerve-wracking to get into or out of your car in complete darkness. Lights on either side of your garage doors, which come on when a sensor is tripped, increase security while also helping you reach your front door without tripping over obstacles.

Instead of a sensor, you might prefer your exterior lights to be on a timer so they turn on and off at set times. This is particularly useful in commercial situations where staff need to access car parks after dark.

Garage door openers are never more useful than when connected to specific lights. This means that whenever you hit the “open door” button on your remote, it automatically triggers the lights. By the time you pull up at your house, the garage door is open and the lights are on.

Sometimes, functionality is less important than effect. For example, if you have a specimen tree that looks fabulous when lit-up, you could consider installing exterior lighting for this purpose. Or, if you have paths winding through your garden, they would look delightful with tiny lights all along them. Garden lighting can give depth to a property and help bring the outside in. Fortunately, garden lighting is low voltage, so beds do not need to be dug up for cables to be laid. Instead, they can sit just under the surface.

Water features such as fountains look stunning at night when lit from below and functional areas like spa and swimming pools can be infused with mystique when discreetly lit.

So, think about the effect as well as the function when choosing exterior lights for your property.

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Does your house need rewiring?

Many houses in and around Auckland are now well over half a century old. While that gives them character and a certain sense of style, it also makes them potentially hazardous to live in.

You may not be aware that many houses built in the 1940s and 1950s were wired with vulcanised industrial rubber, or VIR. Naturally, over time, the rubber breaks down. This causes the insulation to then become brittle and fall off, which can expose the house to a possible electrical wiring fire.

For some time owners of older homes have been warned by the relevant authorities to replace this old wiring, if their home still had it. Many people have heeded the warning, but there are still many houses which retain the original wiring and are therefore dangerous. Is yours among them?

If your property has been purchased in recent years, you may be blissfully unaware of the state of your electrical wiring. It may, of course, have been upgraded to modern TPS (tough plastic sheath cable), which is extremely long lasting. But, again, it may not.

The smart thing to do is check. If safety is not sufficient reason to have your wiring looked at, here’s another: Many insurance companies are now refusing to renew their cover on houses which have not been rewired. That alone tells you how serious the issue is.

However, the solution is not difficult. Give Hall Electrical a call and we’ll come and check out your wiring. We will even provide a full report on the state of your electrical wiring for your insurance company.
If we find that your house does need rewiring, we will give you a free quote that details all the necessary work and how much it is likely to cost.

If you decide to rewire your house, it usually takes two to three days. But here’s the good news: we won’t leave you without lights or power during that time. Plus your fridge and freezer will be quite safe while the power is off. We’ll make absolutely sure of it.

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RightLight is a programme championed by the NZ Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (EECA). The initiative is designed to help people learn about efficient lighting.

The website provides lighting efficiency tips for the home and business. The site contains information on the following areas:

Home Environments: How to Save Money, Why Change, Choosing the Right Light

Choosing the right energy efficient light will become an easier task with knowledge the website provides in these areas;

    • Replacing existing bulbs; how to choose, bulbs & fittings, what watt?, which white?, where to buy, case study
    • Types of bulbs; compact fluorescent lamps, halogen spotlights, new generation halogen globe, linear fluorescent tubes, light emitting diodes, specialist halogen bulbs
    • Building or Renovating; design tips, virtual designer, room by room, lighting control systems, style gallery

Business Environments: Office, Industrial, Retail, Education

Each business environment has specific considerations in the following areas;

  • The right light level
  • Types of light
  • Lighting controls
  • Things you can do
  • Next steps

The Rightlight website has so much information so people might find it a little overwhelming. If less is more, then go straight for the quick tips page if you’re interested in business environments. If your focused on the home then head to the resources section tips page. Here are a few selected tips from the website you might find useful;

Quick Efficient Lighting Tips for Business

  • Install occupancy sensors in office and car parks
  • Use table lamps or task lighting for desks/work areas vs entire room lighting
  • Install day light sensors to dim lights when not required in full

Quick Efficient Lighting Tips for the Home

  • Turn lights off (the simplest way)
  • Use CFLs (compact fluorescent lamp)
  • Light-coloured walls
  • Task specific lights (one solution doesn’t work in all areas)
  • Low watt lamps in bedroom
  • Additional conveniently located light switches
  • Outdoor security lights on sensors

Need an Electrician for your Efficient Lighting Requirements?

Hall Electrical can assist you with your electrical repair, faults, design, installation and maintenance. Call us on 09 379 9198

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Electrician for Hot Water Cylinder Repairs: Wiring, Elements & Thermostats

Many of the issues to do with hot water cylinder faults are typically a plumbers domain of expertise. However, electrical power and (re)wiring are of course an Electricians. Common hot water faults are;

  • No hot water at all
  • Water is too hot, or too cold
  • Noisy cylinder

Repairing your hot water cylinder will always be a priority. If it’s your own home you’ll want to enjoy trouble free and predicable hot water. If it’s an investment property you’ll want to resolve the issue for your tenants asap to keep them happy, and ensure you protect your investment by getting the hot water cylinder and system checked out. Common repair services include;

  • Power supply to cylinder check
  • Cylinder wiring & connectivity check
  • Rewiring
  • Element replacement
  • Thermostat replacement

However, not all hot water cylinders can be repaired. Eventually time can take its toll and a replacement unit will be required. When a new hot water cylinder is installed a registered electrician must wire up the cylinder to the power supply

Need an Electrician for your Hot Water Cylinder Repair or Replacement?

Hall Electrical can assist you with your electrical repair call us on 09 379 9198

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We regularly rewire houses, usually a couple of homes a week, so we know the problems that can occur and what it takes to get everything right.

I have tried to answer the most frequently asked questions:

Do we have to move out?
No. Power will be off for parts of the day or days but it won’t cause major problems. We never leave fridges or freezers off and try to cause as little disruption as possible.

Do we have to stay home?
No. We can be trusted to be in your home if you go out .We will even make sure the cat stays inside if that is what you want.

All our team has Police Security Clearance leaving you confident we won’t nosey around or touch things.

How long will it take to rewire?
Usually in a normal sized home it takes one to one and a half days to rewire the lights and the same to rewire the power.

Two storey homes take a little longer as they can be tricky.

Do I need to buy torches?
No. We make sure before we leave at the end of each day that the lights and power are going again. You will hardly know we have been there.

Do you have to make holes?
Sometimes but we really try to avoid it. Occasionally we just can’t get the new wiring in without making holes but we will tell you first and give you all the options.

Can we use our kitchen?
Yes, we always make sure you are fully functional to cook dinner every night.

Learn more about our House Rewiring Service

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Q: How can I save money on my power bills?

A: With the price of electricity continuing to climb, taking steps to reduce your power usage is very sensible. Here are 11 ways to do that;

  1. Consider replacing your existing heating source with heat pumps. These are the most efficient way to heat your home and some models also help clean the air, making them ideal for allergy and asthma sufferers.
  2. Install timers on your heated towel rail. This ensures you always have dry towels when you need them, but are not using any more power than necessary.
  3. Replace manual outdoor lights with sensor lights. These come on when there is movement within their field of vision, such as when you are returning home or leaving in dark.
  4. The largest user of electricity in any home is the hot water cylinder. Turn it down to 60° and you’ll feel the effect in your wallet but not in your shower.
  5. To conserve warmth, on winter evenings close your curtains as soon as the sun goes down. Close doors to rooms that don’t need
  6. Replace windows with double glazing to reduce the amount of heat escaping outside.
  7. Stop up any draughts you can find to prevent cold air seeping in.
  8. Use your microwave instead of your oven to cook food. Heating the oven uses lots of power so when using it cook several dishes at once.
  9. A gas hob is more economical than an electric one, partly because the gas is instant whereas it takes time for an electric element to heat up.
  10. Install a ceiling fan (the type with blades) to move warm air down. This is especially useful if your house has high ceilings. Warm air rises and a fan will bring it back down to where it’s needed.
  11. Insulate your ceiling, walls and floors. There is a government subsidy available to help with this through EECA. Visit to see if you are eligible.
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I go into homes all the time and see multiboxes running multiple appliances and double adapters plugged into each other and then plugged into 1 power point.

Quite often there are extension cords running off through doorways (or secured around the door frame using household pins) into other rooms with another multibox plugged in. This is a recipe for disaster.

When too many things are plugged into one outlet you start overloading the whole electrical system.

Overloading and loose connections are two major causes of electrical fires in New Zealand. The more connections there are between the switchboard and the appliance the more chance of overheating and then catching fire.

You only have your loved ones and friends in your home so why risk it.

The solution:

  • Swap that single power point for a double or quad power point.
  • Install another power point where you need one and eliminate the extension cord.
  • Have an electrician check to see the fuses or circuit breakers are rated to do there correct job.
  • Balance electrical loads so not too much is on one circuit
  • If you use an extension cord don’t use it rolled up as this causes overheating as well
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In the many years we have been installing home security systems here at Hall Electrical, one thing has become very evident. As a deterrent, light works better than sound. Think about how often you hear a burglar alarm going off in a house or car but don’t even bother to investigate. It just happens too often.
Burglars know this and behave just as we do – they ignore it and get on with stealing your precious possessions.

But, when they suddenly find themselves in the centre of a beam of light, they are much more likely to turn tail and disappear. Being visible – especially if your property is overlooked by others – makes recognising a face and therefore apprehension by the police very much easier. Burglars know this and act accordingly.

So, when considering a home security system, keep this firmly in mind.
Something else you may not be aware of is that many more people come on to your property than you realise, especially at night. And the darker it is, the more confident they are about moving around undetected.

Installing lights around your property that automatically turn on when there is movement achieves three goals:

  • It stops burglars in their tracks because suddenly they can be seen.
  • It discourages them from coming back.
  • It prevents damage to your property.

In order to gain access, burglars break locks or windows, and this can be costly to repair. Plus, knowing that someone has been inside your home, looking through your belongings is very upsetting. But if you make it harder for burglars or prowlers to get inside in the first place, it will save you both money and stress.

There are several obvious areas where you need to install automatic security lights. These include your carport, paths and walkways, and all entrances to your house. You should also light up your front gate to deter unwanted visitors from even setting foot on your property. You may even wish to install a device at your entrance that sounds a siren in your house (or beeps or chirps) whenever someone comes in your gate.

It is also advisable to light up any dark alcoves on your property where someone might be able to lurk unseen. This is especially important if you have young children.
Lighting up your property should be your first step in home security. To my mind, it is the cheapest and most effective form of deterrent.

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magine this: you’re having a busy day doing the washing and ironing, making meals for the week ahead, and getting your housework done.

Suddenly, in the middle of it all, the power goes off. Sometimes to your whole house, but more commonly to just one group of power sockets or lights.

What do you do and how do you fix it?

Before calling an electrician, try solving the problem yourself. It’s easy to work out which of the two most common household electrical faults is the culprit – an overload or a wiring fault.

Lights can blow the fuse if a light bulb blows or a fault occurs on the circuit. To identify the problem:

  • Turn off all the lights and reset the tripped fuse.
  • Turn on the lights one at a time.
  • If there is a faulty light, it will trip the fuse.
  • Turn it off, reset the fuse, and turn on other lights again – ensuring the faulty one is left switched off.

With power points, nine times out of ten the fault will be with an appliance. While all may be working perfectly fine, too many appliances on one circuit can cause the fuse to blow. A faulty appliance or wiring can also blow the fuse. To identify the culprit:

  • Turn off all your appliances.
  • Turn them on one at a time.
  • If one trips the fuse straight away, you know the appliance is faulty.
  • If the fuse blows after a little while, the problem is an overload.

Determining whether it is a fault or an overload will make it quicker for an electrician to fix. Instead of spending time identifying the cause, he can head straight to the fault, saving him time and you money. And remember, always choose a qualified, registered electrician to carry out repairs on your home. After all, the lives of your loved ones are extremely precious.

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Every Yellow Pages in the country contains pages and pages of electricians and electrical contractors. So, when you need one for either an emergency or some improvements you’re planning, how do you choose?

It’s hard to tell merely from an advert whether a company is reputable, whether it has been around long, whether it will charge you what it has quoted and whether the electricians they send you are properly qualified to do the job.

At the very least, you need a registered electrician. This is someone who has spent four years working and studying full-time in the electrical industry. They will have passed written and practical tests, achieved nationally recognised unit standards, and successfully sat a final exam on theory and the extremely complex electrical regulations.

On top of this, registered electricians must each year renew their practising licence, issued by the Electricity Registration Board, so that they are up to speed on any changes in the industry. When an electrician comes to your house or place of work, always ask to see this practising licence.

Using a registered electrician will guarantees that all electrical work is carried out safely and competently. And, if the electrical contracting company you use is a Master Electrician, a member of the Electrical Contractors Association, the threshold for quality workmanship is even higher.

As a member, a Master Electrician electrical contractor undertakes to conduct business in a safe, competent and professional manner. Under the Association’s rules, a member’s workmanship is backed by a $10,000 guarantee.

One question we are often asked is how much electrical work can someone do who is not a registered electrician, but who is perhaps a pretty good home handyman? The answer is not very much. Non-registered electricians are not allowed, by law, to make anything live, nor can they hook up anything to a switchboard.

Registered electricians, on the other hand, carry test equipment to check that every aspect of the work they do is safe whereas unqualified electricians simply may not know whether their work is safe or not. And given that the people most likely to be using electrical equipment in your house are your friends and loved ones, why would you want to play Russian roulette with their safety and their lives? Always, always use a registered or Master electrician when doing electrical work around your home.