With the weather warming up in Queensland, now is the perfect time to book a regular air conditioning service. Alternatively, if you are noticing a few air conditioner problems that need attending to (like your unit not cooling efficiently), then a service will ensure it’s ready for the onslaught of what are often brutally hot summers in the Sunshine State. Here is a guide on how to choose an electrician for your air conditioner, including tips on how to hire the right electrician and the types of licences that are required.
When do I need an electrician?
In Australia, you are legally allowed to change your lightbulbs and operate appliances the way they are designed to operate. However, for most electrical work beyond that, you must hire a qualified, licensed electrician. Even if it’s a basic job you think you can do yourself, electricity is definitely not to be messed with as DIY electrical work can result in injury, fire and worse, so it’s always better to be safer than sorry.
When it comes to air conditioners, there are some jobs you can do yourself, including cleaning the exterior and some of the internal elements like the filters. However, for everything else, you should hire a professional. Regular maintenance (it’s recommended twice a year, before winter and summer) by an air conditioning expert will ensure your unit is kept in tip-top condition and alert them to any potential problems that could surface further down the track.
There are also other factors to consider when it comes to choosing an electrician, including:
- What sort of work is to be done
- Where the electrician is based
- How reliable and trustworthy the business is
- What they will charge for the job
- Whether they are licensed and registered as an electrical contractor.
How to hire the right electrician
Here are a few tips on hiring the right electrician for the job:
- Find a local electrician. It will not only be more convenient, any travel expenses may be reduced or not charged at all.
- Source a company with experience. A business with a wide range of electrical services is a good start, as it indicates they have experience working with a wide range of electrical systems and all of the knowledge and tools necessary to provide you with targeted and high-quality electrical solutions.
- Get several quotes. Not all electricians will charge the same amount for the same work, but they should be around the same cost. Compare quotes from a few different businesses and check out their online reviews.
- Check with other contractors. If you are having your kitchen renovated, your builder will likely know a good electrician who they are comfortable working with. Referrals are valuable!
- Ask to see their licence. They won’t hesitate to do this if their qualifications are up to date. You can also check with state authorities if you’re in doubt. In Queensland, head to the Government’s WorkSafe website for more information.
- Ask whether you’ll get a certificate of electrical compliance after the work is completed, which is mandatory for any work done. These certificates indicate that the work complies fully with the state or territory’s applicable electrical legislation and the Wiring Rules (also known as Australian Standard AS/NZS 3000:2007) and the work’s been adequately tested and approved. If they won’t supply this or the above, look elsewhere!
What are the advantages of a licensed electrician?
There are lots of advantages to choosing a licensed electrician, but here are four key factors:
- They ensure safety. Dealing with electricity is always risky, so only skilled and qualified individuals should work with electrical systems. This protects you and your family, and the electricians themselves, as poor electrical work can be fatal.
- They are accountable. Electricians must meet a certain standard to receive their licence when it comes to ability and qualifications. Licences are typically granted by a governing body that state governments usually administer. This means that they can be revoked or removed in the event of negligence or malpractice. Hence, electricians are accountable for their work and conform to a very high standard of workmanship and quality.
- They follow the law. Hiring a licensed electrician is the law, and penalties can apply if you attempt to do your own electrical work without a licence. Your insurance policy will also not cover any damage that occurs in your home from unlicensed electrical work.
- They can save you money. Unreliable electrical work can have negative implications on your home’s electrical fittings and appliances, which can easily be damaged by faulty wiring or power surges. This can lead to compromised systems and expensive repair bills.
What qualifications do electricians need?
A professional electrician will work safely and within Queensland’s applicable electrical legislation and to the standards set out in the Wiring Rules (Australian Standard AS/NZS 3000:2007). Most states also require electricians to be ‘Registered Electrical Contractors’ (RECs) before they can operate an electrical contracting business or perform electrical work for profit.
Types of electrical licences
In Queensland, a business that provides electrical work services to others must have an electrical contractor license, and there are two basic types.
- Electrical contractor licence
- Electrical worker licence
It is essential you understand that not all electrical contractors can perform all types of electrical work. Never use an electrical contractor’s services to perform work not covered by their licence.
A business with a gold electrical contractor licence is licensed to perform all types of electrical work for the public, including:
- Installing a ceiling fan or power points
- Installing or altering a switchboard or safety switches
- Installing a split-cycle air conditioner
- Repairing a washing machine.
Electricians who hold a silver electrical contractor licence are restricted to the testing, maintenance and repair of the type of electrical equipment printed on the front of the licence. This licence does not allow the person to install electrical equipment.
In Queensland, a person can only perform electrical work if they hold an electrical work licence. These can be issued in a number of classes, and the type of electrical work the person is licensed to perform is printed on the front of the licence. In this example, the worker is a licensed electrical fitter/mechanic.
A green electrical work licence means the worker is restricted to particular types of equipment and work. A restricted electrical work licence does not cover the installation of electrical equipment.
- 2023, How to choose an electrician, Build
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