There are so many improvements you can easily do to your home yourself. However, some home repairs are better left to professionals unless you have experience. Check out these five common mistakes people make when they try to DIY electrical repairs.
Forgetting to Turn Off the Electricity
It may seem obvious to turn off the electricity to an area of your home before you start working on electrical equipment. However, it is also incredibly easy to forget this because you can't see electricity or the consequences of not turning it off until you've been electrocuted. Even if you aren't messing with cords and wires when fiddling with an electrical system in your home, make sure to turn off the power. True, some skilled electricians have the experience and protective gear to work with hot wires, but unless you are a trained electrician, it's best to simply shut off the flow.
Fiddling With the Breaker Box too Much
Yes, the breaker box is one of the first places you want to go because it's how you turn off electricity to different areas of your home. Most likely, you've messed with the breakers before to reset them. However, there are more than just the breaker switches in the breaker box. There are also service lugs that connect service cables to the breaker box. Even if you turn off the power, it's not the best idea to mess with these lugs or the cables. The lugs are typically always hot even after you shut off the breakers, so you may still get injured.
Fixing Appliances on Your Own
Fixing, or at least attempting to fix, an appliance may seem simple enough. All you have to do is make sure the appliance is unplugged, right? Well, that isn't always the case. Many big appliances, such as air conditioners have devices known as capacitors. These store a little bit of electrical juice, so the appliance is ready to start immediately. Even when you unplug the appliance, these capacitors stay filled with power, so if you get too close with a metal tool, you may get electrocuted.
Failing to use a Junction Box
Electrical wiring is a serious matter, which is why it's important to know what you're doing. It may seem like installing a new porch light may not be that hard, but it isn't as easy as unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one. You'll need to connect the wires of the new light to the wires in your home. This creates a weak point, so you need to protect these connections with a junction box. If one isn't already there, you'll want to install one. The junction box protects the connections from damage. Failing to use a junction box could lead to serious damage or even fire.
Using Items That Just Don't Fit
Sometimes, just because something seems to work, it doesn't mean it's the best solution. When replacing wires or electrical devices, you always want to make sure you're getting the right size. There are many different sizes of electrical wire, and they are all used for different devices. If you are unsure what size you need, you may choose one that is too big or too small. This could lead to overheating or shorting of the fuse. Overheating is particularly dangerous as it could start a fire and additional damage.
When in doubt, it's best to hire an electrician for any electrical work or repair you need done around your home. There are too many variables and too many ways for you to get injured. For more information, contact an electrician in your area like those found at McDonald Electric today.