We are going to talk about some of the common electrical mistakes in this post. The web is filled with videos on do-it-yourself home improvement. There is nothing wrong with these videos if you don’t put yourself at risk of getting injured. Thanks to the boatload of information found online, the average homeowner can save some money by doing repair jobs on their own.
But how far can DIY home repairs go? You can fix a leaky pipe, replace a door handle, or install bathroom fixtures. But when the job requires handling the electrical system, it’s when it’s officially out of your league.
Unless you’re a licensed electrician or at least you have some experience doing electrical work, then you’re better off hiring a professional. The lack of expertise or training alone puts you at a considerably higher risk of starting a fire or getting electrocuted.
Fact: About 20% of Canadian residential fires in 2020 were attributed to electrical problems. But starting a fire isn’t the only danger of DIY electrical work. Without the necessary precautions and safety equipment, there’s always a possibility of severe injury and even death.
Accidents happen because an inexperienced and untrained individual is prone to making mistakes.
If you’re insistent in doing electrical work on your own, you must acknowledge the risk, learn of the common mistakes, and understand how to avoid them. Let’s talk about those mistakes.
Mistake 1 – Performing Major Electrical Work Without a Permit
There’s nothing wrong with DIY electrical work if you have the necessary permit on hand. The law says that a local inspector will have a close look at the result and either approve or disapprove of it. Working without a permit corresponds to a hefty fine when the inspector finds out. But the fine is the least of your concerns if you end up causing damage or injury.
Mistake 2 – Working Without a Junction Box
You have no reason to skip this step since a junction box (electrical box) is relatively cheap to buy and easy to install. The junction box aims to protect all existing electrical connections in case a short circuit happens.
Most homeowners don’t bother installing the electrical box since it adds another step to a simple project like putting a new light fixture or outlet. Nonetheless, it doesn’t take an expert to do it, plus the fact that most localities in Canada mandate accessible junction boxes inside a residential building.
Mistake 3 – Putting the Junction Box Near Combustible Materials
Installing a junction box is a relatively straightforward affair, but you can’t just put it anywhere you want. See to it that it’s flushed with the drywall and nowhere near combustible materials; the reason being the fact that sparks may contact wood or any other material that quickly catches fire.
Mistake 4 – Installing the Wrong Light Bulbs
Even the most straightforward job of installing a new light bulb could increase short circuits’ likelihood, not to mention the waste of money.
As much as you fancy using energy-efficient bulbs to replace old incandescent varieties, you must be careful in choosing the right type. You see, bulbs must be approved for the kind of fixture they’re put in. For example, you must purchase a light bulb designed for enclosed fixtures when you plan to put it in a sealed fixture.
Mistake 5 – Skimping on the Price
Hiring a local contractor means paying for their services; so, you chose to do your own electrical work to save money. Having said that, you decide to skimp on the price of the items you need to get the job done. Let me tell you right now that those aren’t the same things.
You’ll save money through a DIY approach, but you end up spending more by buying cheap and substandard products. As the adage says, “you get what you pay for.”
Never take the risk of buying electrical stuff with low quality in favor of the price because you’ll likely replace them soon after installation. There’s also a greater risk of starting a fire and short circuits with products manufactured below industry standards.
Mistake 6 – Hiring a Handyman for an Electrical Repair or Installation Project
And when you ultimately decide to get help, don’t make the mistake of calling for a handyman or an unlicensed contractor. Electrical work is not an experiment; the risks of getting injured or killed are real. See to it that you hire a licensed electrical contractor.
If you’re unsure, ask for proof of that license and insurance. You’ll never want someone working on your property with no regard for safety or who isn’t even qualified to fix whatever issue you have with your electrical system.
You’ll also face a potential fine if the local inspector finds out. It doesn’t matter if it’s a repair or installation job – only a licensed electrician offers the guarantee of safety.