Dangers of DIY Electrical Work


Simply put, electricity is very dangerous.  Even if you have experience with basic home repair you should not attempt an electrical job without consulting or hiring a professional electrical contractor. One mistake could cause a short circuit and start a house fire or you could electrocute yourself, causing major injury or even death.  Saving a few dollars by doing it yourself is not worth the safety risk to you, your family and your home.

Here are some potential dangers of DIY electrical work:

Using the wrong sized wire for a circuit. 

Electrical wire is available in different thicknesses.  Generally, thicker wires can handle more electrical current.  If you use a wire that is too small on a circuit that generates more electricity than it can handle, the wire will overheat and short out before the fuse of the circuit break activates.  This is a fire hazard.

Wires cut or stripped the wrong length. 

Wires cut too short make connections difficult and dangerous.  Plus, electrical code is specific on the length of stripped wires that are actually attached to your switches and outlets.  Too much stripped wire exposed inside the electrical box can cause big problems.

Faulty installation of a three-slot outlets. 

Most older homes do not have ground wires at outlet locations. Rookies have been known to switch out the 2 prong outlet for a 3 prong without a ground.  Not only does this violated code, in the event of a short circuit the cover plate will become energized with electricity and cause a deadly shock.

Using the wrong sized fuse. 

The purpose of the fuse is to break the electrical circuit if it is running above what is considered safe.  They are designed to protect your electrical system and your home.  If you put in the wrong sized fuse you could damage the effectiveness, causing the fuse to not break the circuit and this is a severe fire hazard.

Confusing hot and neutral wires when installing an outlet. 

If the hot wire is connected to the neutral terminal of an outlet you could get a serious shock.  It’s difficult to detect this mistake until someone is dangerously hurt because lights and other electrical devices will still work.

Stay safe and call a professional electrician.

A very common cause of house fires are due to electrical fires.  Faulty wiring is the number one cause of these fires.  Sometimes it’s because old wiring has worn out or because of poor installation.  Signs of faulty wiring include: fuses always seem to blow, a burning smell coming from appliances or outlets, discoloured, sparking or hot wall outlets or flickering lights.

If you live in an older home and have seen signs of poor electrical work, you should bring in a professional and certified electrician right away.  The longer it waits the more you are putting yourself and your home at a real safety risk.

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