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DIY or Call An Electrician?

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Electrical Repair Service

Electrical DIY or Call an Electrician?

Thanks to YouTube, there is an abundance of online tutorials that can walk you through the process of doing electrical repair workThis means that many homeowners in the Coachella Valley will be tempted to use those online tutorials to complete DIY electrical work around the house and get out of paying an electrician.

Hydes will always suggest you call an electrician instead of doing it yourself—not just because it’s good for business, but because doing electrical work when you haven’t been trained is extremely dangerous and we don’t want anyone in our community getting hurt!

The Goal is Safety No Matter What You Choose

When it comes to dealing with electricity, safety is the name of the game. It’s crucial to understand that electricity isn’t something to mess around with – it can be seriously dangerous and even fatal. The key factor isn’t just the voltage but also the path it takes through your body and how long you’re exposed to it.

Pro Tip: Before you dive into any electrical project, always double-check that the power in that area is switched off.

If you’re a bit of a handy person around the house, tackling tasks like changing a switch or light fixture can be a breeze. Just be sure to pay attention to how you’re removing the old one and install the new one the same way.

In most homes, the hot wire is typically black or red, the neutral wire is white, and the ground wire is either bare or green. If you’re dealing with anything beyond that, it’s a good idea to bring in a qualified electrician. And remember, if a project requires a permit, it’s a job for an electrician. Better safe than sorry!

That being said, there are a few electrical tasks you should never, ever attempt to DIY.

4 Times You Should Skip The DIY & Call An Electrician Instead

1. Installing Outlets

If you have a dead outlet, you may think replacing it is a simple proposition, but it can actually be dangerous if you don’t know what you’re doing. For one thing, not all outlets are created equal, and if you purchase the wrong kind of outlet it can put your home at risk of electrical fires. For another, if you install the outlet incorrectly, the best-case scenario is an outlet that doesn’t work; the worst-case will find you getting painful shocks from the outlet and possibly even shorting out the appliances you plug into it.

2. Lighting Installation & Repair

This is another of those tasks that seem easy when you’re watching a video tutorial on YouTube but that can actually go wrong if an untrained person takes it on. Installing a light fixture without proper knowledge of building codes will leave you with a nonfunctional light at best and fried wiring at worst. Compact fluorescents, under cabinet lighting and LED strip lighting may seem easier but are still complex for the average DIY homeowner. Lighting repairs requires specialized electrical knowledge to avoid serious injury from electrical shocks. The only lighting repair you should ever take on without electrical training is changing a burnt-out bulb.

3. Adding Hardwired Smoke & Carbon Monoxide Detectors

If you want to buy a plug-in carbon monoxide detector or battery-operated fire alarm, we are all for it. They are less convenient than the hardwired versions, but just as effective. If, however, you want the hardwired versions of these safety devices, please call a qualified electrician to install them. Any code upgrades need to be done by a licensed contractor to make sure it meets local and national codes.

4. Electrical Panel Upgrades

It ought to be common sense that you should only have an electrician work on your electrical panel, but the tutorials do exist on YouTube, which means someone is going to be tempted to DIY a panel expansion or circuit breaker replacement. Please don’t. This is the kind of work that must be done by a trained professional, because if you get a panel upgrade wrong, major problems can occur. And if your insurance company finds out you didn’t have an electrician do the work, they won’t honor your claim for the damages. Do not try to work on your electrical panel; call an electrician.

Mistakes We’ve Noitced with DIY

Using the Wrong Material in the Wrong Location

Electrical Mistakes Using The Wrong Material In The Wrong Location

The most common mistake that we have found that the DYI projects is using the wrong material in the wrong location. Most notably wires, boxes, fixtures, devices, and ceiling fans rated for interior only being used on the exterior of the home.

Undersized & Exposed Wiring

Another, and more dangerous mistake, is undersized wire. Wire is sized by the amperage that it is used for and the breaker needs to correspond with that amperage. Examples would be a 50 amp oven with a 50 amp breaker on #10 wire that is rated for 30 amps, or putting a 20 amp breaker on a #14 wire rated for 15 amps because the 15 amp breaker keeps tripping.

Exposed Romex wiring and using extension cords as permanent wiring are also common. Romex wiring should never be seen, it is designed to run inside the walls and through uninhabited spaces. Extension cords are to be used for temporary wiring and are often under sized.

Overloading Electrical Outlets and Exposure

Overloading Electrical Outlets And Exposure

Overloading outlets can also be a problem. With extensions, splitters and power strips, a homeowner can plug multiple things into one outlet causing an overload of the circuit and possible overheating of the outlet itself.

Exposed connections, usually found in attics, crawl spaces and even inside walls, are electrical connections that are made without the benefit of a box or enclosure. 

Bypassing Safety Devices

Less common and but far more dangerous is the attempt to bypass safety equipment and metering devices. Some examples include sticking wires directly into an outlet and copper tubing or other metal objects in place of fuses or automotive jumper cables between electrical boxes. This is illegal and very hazardous.

Is it safe to attempt DIY electrical repairs?

In some instances it is save but if your home needs any electrical service work done, Hydes is happy to do the work for you. Our electricians will guarantee that your electrical projects are completed safely and correctly, so you can enjoy your home without worrying about shocks or fires.

Give us a call at (760) 360-2202 to schedule your electrical repair services today!

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