Home Improvement Tips

No Zap Zone: Electrical Projects You Should Leave to a Professional

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Even if you are competent DIY enthusiast there will still be jobs that you know should only be tackled by someone with professional qualifications to their name, and if you are only average when it comes to home repairs, there are even more reasons to know your limits.

Electrical projects are a classic example of how you can cause more harm than good trying to do the work yourself, and it could actually create a situation where you are put in danger.

Here is a look at some typical electrical tasks around you home and some tips and insights on when to reach for your phone rather than your screwdriver. Including why upgrading outlets is not a great idea in an older property, when you shouldn’t be tempted to fix a fault, plus a sensible tip for anyone thinking of fitting a new light fixture.

GFCI outlets could prove a risky task

If you live in an older style property there is a fair chance that you don’t currently have enough GFCI outlets installed.

Ground-Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCI) are a good way of protecting your home from electrical damage and preventing you from suffering an electric shock. These GFCI outlets were not always a basic requirement in older homes when they were being constructed, which is why it makes sense to upgrade your property with the right level of protection from electrical faults.

The irony is that by trying to install what is a preventative safety measure you could expose yourself to serious risk if you don’t know what you are doing.

Installing more GFCI outlets is something that should be left to experienced electrical contractors, who will know how to assess what you need and arrange to install them safely.

When sparks are flying

It is not just some seemingly regular upgrade jobs that need to be left to a professional, as it can be tempting to search for a solution to a common electrical fault yourself, with potentially disastrous consequences.

If you receive an electric shock when you turn a light switch on or sparks fly, that is an indication that there is probably a short somewhere in your electrical system.

The clues are there in the form of the electric shock and even sparks flying, but without knowing the exact source of the problem or understanding the wiring system sufficiently you could be exposing yourself to unnecessary danger.

Don’t be tempted to go searching for a solution to your shorting issue, get a professional to solve the problem instead.

Need some new wiring

There are a couple of good reasons why DIY enthusiasts are often prepared to tackle a job like installing some new wiring in their home, namely the chance to save some money and the belief that it is a job that is within their skill set.

It would obviously be cheaper to do the new wiring yourself, and you might reasonably think that installing a new light fitting or socket is not exactly that complicated or dangerous.

The point about most DIY electrical work is that you have to be 100% certain that all of your wiring work is completely safe and correctly installed. Any problems with the wiring could be cruelly exposed if you subsequently suffer some electrical damage to your home or you get an unexpected shock from the new fitting.

All new wiring has to be up to code and for this reason alone, it could prove a false economy trying to install new wiring yourself, if it then has to be corrected or ripped out by a professional at a later date.

Let there be light

Another popular DIY electrical project is installing a new light fixture.

It seems perfectly plausible for a number of homeowners to consider that this is a job that they could undertake without the need for any professional help, especially if there is an existing fitting there and all you are doing is changing them over.

There is no doubt that this is probably one of the simplest DIY electrical tasks in theory, but there is more to this project than first meets the eye.

First of all, you need to be up to the challenge of safely removing the old light fixture, while remembering where the wires came from, then positioning the new fixture in place at the same time.

This is a job that often requires more than one pair of hands to complete safely and quickly, plus you have to be totally sure that you have wired it up correctly and securely.

There is a reason why electrical contractors have to spend several years gaining all their qualifications, so don’t let your natural DIY enthusiasm put you in a position where you are tackling a project that really needs to be left to a professional.

Harriet Franklin works in a DIY store and has come to learn some invaluable things when it comes to helping people with their DIY tasks over the years.