When it comes to electrical repairs, the key is to take your safety seriously. That means following some simple do-it-yourself tips to avoid shocks and fires.
For example, when replacing a light switch, shut off power to the circuit at both the switch and the circuit breaker. Then, remove the switch cover and replace it with a new one.
1. Know Your Tools
Having the right tools for your projects can help you make sure your work gets done safely. A good tool kit doesn’t need to be expensive, and can be used for a variety of jobs around your home.
The tools you should have on hand include a voltage tester, volt meter, wire crimp tool, wire stripper and more.
A good set of screwdrivers is also essential. Choose insulated ones for safety and ensure they have the proper sizes.
Wire crimping is a common job for electricians and a quality crimp tool can save you a lot of time. These can be easily found at home centers and hardware stores.
2. Be Prepared
Trying to tackle DIY electrical repairs can be dangerous and risky. One wrong wire connection or an attempt to skip a step can lead to electrocution and fire.
This is especially true if you aren’t experienced. It’s important to remember that electricians have been through schooling to ensure they know what they are doing.
You should always test outlets and switches before working on them. This is a simple and inexpensive way to make sure you aren’t working on an energized circuit.
You should also test outlets that aren’t used often, like outdoor ones and those in the basement or attic. You can buy an outlet tester at any hardware store for around a dollar.
3. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Dirty
Whether you’re dealing with a downed power line or an extension cord, you should be extremely careful. A fallen line could carry a deadly electrical current.
Stay away from fallen powerlines, and call us if you see one. Keep yourself and others at least 30 feet away from downed lines.
Water is a conductor of electricity and a downed wire near a puddle can electrify it, creating a dangerous hazard.
If you must work with a downed line, shuffle away with small steps to minimize the chance of getting shocked.
Never throw or move objects that are normally considered to be nonconductors, such as ropes and strings, up into a power line. This can cause short circuits and could result in injury.
Also, make sure that any plugged-in appliances and tools are kept out of places where they might be exposed to water, like a rain gutter or swimming pool.
4. Stay Away From Fallen Powerlines
When storms come through, lines may fall – often hidden in debris or even buried in water. It’s important to stay away from them to keep yourself safe.
Always assume a downed power line is energized and stay away from it at all times. It can shock and injure you if you touch it, and any objects that are touching or near it are also energized.
If you see a downed power line, immediately call 911 or your electric utility provider, and keep all people at least 10 metres (33 feet) away until emergency service workers can arrive to help.
Shuffling away is the best way to minimize your risk of an electric shock, because as you move further away from a downed power line, voltage decreases. This means that you can receive a serious shock if you walk or run quickly.
5. Stay Away From Extension Cords
If you have an extension cord, make sure to put it away when not in use. This will keep your electrical outlets from being tripped on, which can cause fires and sparks.
Additionally, be sure to inspect your extension cord for cracks and other damage before using it. This includes damaged prongs, exposed wires from cuts or gnawing, and the plug separating from the cord.
Over time, electrical cords can develop fine shorts inside their internal wiring that can lead to arcing. These arcs are dangerous and can even ignite house fires.
6. Don’t Be Afraid to Try Something New
Electricity is an incredible force that deserves our respect. It can help power our appliances and light our homes, but it can also be dangerous when done wrong.
It can cause electrocution and property damage if not dealt with properly. That’s why it’s so important to know your limits and to always ask for professional assistance.
Our recent survey found that half of all serious electrical shocks in the UK are caused by DIY mistakes.
One of the biggest errors is drilling, nailing or screwing things into cables hidden inside walls. That’s why it’s so essential to invest in a quality cable detector that will find any cables before you start working on them.
7. Don’t Forget About Static Electricity
Static electricity occurs when 2 objects rub against each other. When you shuffle your feet across a carpet in socks, electrons move from your feet to the carpet.
When you touch a doorknob, you feel a small shock because electrons jump from you to the knob, which conducts electricity.
To prevent static electricity buildup, use antistatic mats in high traffic areas of your home.
Additionally, increase the humidity in your home to help eliminate static electricity buildup. This can be done with a humidifier.
8. Don’t Be Afraid to Get Help
You don’t need to be a pro to perform basic electrical repairs on your own. Just be sure to respect electricity and use proper tools.
If you’re not confident in your DIY abilities, consider hiring a professional to complete the work. It can save you time and money.
One of the most common mistakes homeowners make when doing electrical repairs is installing wires too short. It can cause faulty connections that can lead to fires or serious electric shocks.
A lot of DIYers also try to create electrical connections outside of an electrical box, which can pose a serious hazard. This is especially dangerous when children or pets are in the home.
9. Don’t Be Afraid to Ask Questions
Many DIY enthusiasts think that electrical repairs around the house are a great way to save money. But it’s important to remember that electrical work is dangerous and needs to be done by a professional.
Getting shocked can cause serious injury or property damage. That’s why it’s important to be careful and not do any electrical repairs without a license or expertise.
You should always turn off the circuit breaker before starting any electrical repair job. This will ensure that you don’t accidentally shock yourself or others when you work on an electrical wire.
10. Don’t Forget About Safety
While it’s fun to do-it-yourself and try new things, electrical repairs should never be taken on by untrained individuals. This is because they can cause serious damage to your property and even death if you aren’t careful.
When doing electrical work, remember to keep yourself safe by wearing safety glasses and a hat. Also, make sure you have all the proper tools on hand to complete your project. These should include a pair of pliers, a wire stripper, a screwdriver, and a utility knife with rubber handles.