The sparky on safety and sav­ings

NZ House & Garden - - SPECIAL FEATURE -

Yes, Bryce Leckie is one of those peo­ple whose name seems des­tined to de­fine a ca­reer. (Of course, he should live in Aus­tralia where the col­lo­quial term for sparkies is leck­ies). He rec­om­mends get­ting your elec­tri­cian in­volved as early as pos­si­ble in a ren­o­va­tion or build­ing project and to en­sure light­ing costs are in­cor­po­rated into the over­all bud­get. As a Mas­ter Elec­tri­cian, Bryce takes his com­pany’s rep­u­ta­tion se­ri­ously: “What you can’t see is as im­por­tant as what you can.”


1 Even for a small main­te­nance job such as fix­ing a light switch an elec­tri­cian should is­sue an elec­tri­cal safety cer­tifi­cate. For in­stal­la­tion works, get a cer­tifi­cate of com­pli­ance.

2 Re­place in­can­des­cent light bulbs with LED. What you spend now you’re likely to get back in power sav­ings over four or five years. And be­cause LED bulbs last up to 50,000 hours, you may never have to change that bulb again.

3 Be wary of buying light fit­tings se­cond-hand or di­rectly from over­seas. If you do, the im­porter/sup­plier must pro­vide a Sup­plier Dec­la­ra­tion of Con­form­ity for New Zealand. For a sec­ond­hand fit­ting, a good elec­tri­cian will do the in­ves­ti­ga­tion for you, re­search­ing where the fit­ting came from, look­ing for ap­pro­pri­ate mark­ings and per­form­ing vis­ual checks and elec­tri­cal test­ing.

4 The trend for three pen­dant lights or a hor­i­zon­tal strip pen­dant over the kitchen bench­top brings the eye­line down, so they make a space feel a lot smaller – con­sider if it will work in your space.

5 In bath­rooms, there are, un­der­stand­ably, com­plex reg­u­la­tions that need to be ne­go­ti­ated. Light fit­tings need to have an IP rating (ingress pro­tec­tion) in most ar­eas of the bath­room as the room is di­vided into zones around the bath and shower ac­cord­ing to New Zealand stan­dards. Your elec­tri­cian will know whether you can in­stall that gor­geous chan­de­lier you had en­vis­aged in the space.

6 LED strip light­ing can be set un­der the lip of a bath to cre­ate a ro­man­tic am­bi­ence, or re­cessed be­hind the mir­ror so it washes back on the wall for softer light. Mini LED down­lights can be put around the perime­ter of the shower or in­stalled un­der­neath a van­ity on a sen­sor for those late-night trips to the loo.

7 While good qual­ity func­tional light is es­sen­tial in the kitchen, most homes have open-plan liv­ing these days so make sure you team this with enough am­bi­ent light for the evenings and en­ter­tain­ing.

8 Sim­ple au­to­ma­tion – light­ing sen­sors in the bath­room, walk-in wardrobe and scullery – is in­ex­pen­sive and worth­while. Smart sys­tems used to con­trol light­ing and power are be­com­ing a lot less com­pli­cated than they were when first in­tro­duced.

9 If some­thing goes wrong, try to re­solve the prob­lem di­rectly with your elec­tri­cian. For ex­tra re­as­sur­ance, if the elec­tri­cian is a mem­ber of Mas­ter Elec­tri­cians, the body of­fers a $20,000 work­man­ship guar­an­tee. The claim pe­riod is up to 12 months fol­low­ing in­stal­la­tion or Cer­tifi­cate of Com­pli­ance is­sue date.

10 A good elec­tri­cian will put some thought into dis­guis­ing the things you don’t want to see. Power out­lets can be put in­side cup­boards, the cord of your heated towel rail hid­den in the wall. It takes co­or­di­na­tion be­tween builder and elec­tri­cian to get this work done at the right time. >

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