There are a lot of incredible things that homeowners can do on their own. In today’s DIY world, it’s amazing to see what the average person can complete with two hands and no previous training. Re-tiling a bathroom, installing fences, or renovating a room used to only be jobs for experienced contractors. Now, homeowners are grabbing their power tools and handling these projects themselves. While this can be a very rewarding process, there are certain projects that should be left to the professionals. The majority of those projects involve electrical work. Certain home electrical projects aren’t only complicated, but they can also be dangerous to attempt. Here are a few examples of home electrical projects that you should never do on your own.
Repairing an Electrical Panel
Not only do you have to have extensive training to repair or install an electrical panel, but you also need an electrical permit to do it. That basically makes it illegal to try to repair an electrical panel on your own. Panel work can be incredibly complicated and very dangerous to attempt to fix on your own.
Replacing Aluminum Wiring
From 1965 to about 1973, single-strand aluminum wiring was the chosen metal for electrical systems because the price of copper suddenly skyrocketed. To save money, builders and electricians turned to aluminum. Unfortunately, at that time, no one really understood the dangers of using single-strand aluminum wiring and how it could pose a problem. After a terrible house fire in 1974, the fire department discovered that the fire was caused by aluminum wiring.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission, otherwise known as the CPSC, noted that “homes constructed with aluminum wire are 55 times more likely to have one or more connections reach fire hazard conditions than a home wired with copper.” There are specific properties of aluminum that make it a more dangerous metal to use in these electrical wiring circumstances.
In comparison to copper, aluminum can lead to loose connections, which is the main ingredient for fire hazards. Replacing aluminum wiring is the perfect example of home electrical projects that should never be completed on your own.
Altering, Extending, or Installing Power Cables
This is another example of a job that needs to be completed by a professional. Once cables are installed or altered, the job needs to be inspected and tested by a licensed electrical inspector. This is because you’re not permitted to connect your own cable work to the electricity supply on your own.
Your electrical inspector will want to see that this has been completed by a licensed electrician. The inspector will only issue a Certificate of Compliance if it meets their safety requirements.
Installing New Switches
If you’ve noticed that your fittings or sockets are wearing out in your home, it may be time to install new switches. This may appear to be a fairly easy task at first, but it’s much more complex than you think. For instance, you have to make sure to check for hot wires before you can begin any work.
If you’re unaware of how to do this, it can lead to injuries or fires. You’ll need an experienced electrician to use special tools to unscrew the switch in order to pull it away from the box. This is another great example of home electrical projects that shouldn’t be done by yourself.
Installing a Junction Box
No wiring splices are permitted on the outside of an approved enclosure. This code is set in place by the National Electrical Code (NEC). That’s when a junction box comes into play.
A junction box is basically an electrical box that gets attached to the framing of a home and contains the splice of two or more circuit cables or wires. The junction box must be in place with a removable cover for access.
While this may sound like it could be done on your own, it’s never recommended to try it. You’ll need certain tools that you may not have unless you’re a professional electrician. This home electrical project requires you to test wires and voltage. If this project is done incorrectly, it can be very dangerous and expensive to repair.
For More Information on Home Electrical Projects
It’s important to have a professional to handle anything that involves electricity. Tasks that appear to be simple at first can easily turn into home repair nightmares. When electrical issues aren’t repaired properly, you’re putting your home and your family at risk. Just a small mistake can lead to big problems in the future.
In addition to being dangerous, home electrical projects can also become very expensive if the project isn’t completely the right way. Don’t waste your time and money on a project that’s fit for an expert. Contact an experienced and licensed electrician today to learn more!