Electrical projects are never simply cut-and-dried. You want to change the lighting in a room, but this requires rewiring the living room. You want to go green and put solar panels on the roof, and you’d love to save money by doing it yourself.
Our advice? Stop before you go any further. Watching a few hours of home improvement shows does not qualify you to perform electrical work. We’re offering up 3 reasons you should never do electrical do-it-yourself projects.
3 Reasons to Hire Professionals for Your DIY Electrical Projects
Electrical Work Needs to be Legal
No one is saying you cannot replace a lightbulb, a sconce or a ceiling fan. These projects are typically just replacing an item connected to the electrical system in your home. Altering a system, however, requires a lot more work.
If you do an electrical DIY project, even if it is safe, it may not be legal. You may find that your home fails an inspection when you try to rent out a guest room. It might have been a simple project at the time, but when the work isn’t up to code, you may not be allowed to proceed until it’s fixed. Or, you simply can’t sell it until the wiring is redone by a professional.
There is Serious Risk Involved
The first risk when doing a DIY electrical project is personal and immediate. There are lots of cases of accidental electrocutions. Sadly, this is because someone didn’t know proper lock-out and tag-out procedures while working on their own home. It’s very easy to get burned working with energized or overheated connections.
The other risk you’re taking is more long-term. Unknowingly, you may have connected too much to a junction box. Over time, it can easily overheat and catch fire. Anyone with an electrical engineering degree can run these numbers, but laymen aren’t trained to do the calculations properly. You could also pull too much power from a junction, regularly overloading it and blowing the breaker.
A little knowledge can be a dangerous thing. If you’ve earned an online electrical engineering degree, you probably know how to balance loads. That means you can recognize the need to tap into another power supply. However, you may not know how to properly join new wires to junction boxes, connect industrial-grade appliances or repair existing wires.
You Could be Personally Liable
If you do electrical work on your own, you’re introducing new risks for which you are personally liable. For example, DIY electrical projects are a common cause of house fires. This is why such work typically voids your home insurance policy when discovered. You can potentially lose your home in a fire and not receive the insurance money to rebuild.
In most jurisdictions, it is illegal to do any electrical work beyond the most basic tasks like swapping out light fixtures. You’re taking a real risk when you do electrical DIY work from damage to sensitive electronics to starting a fire. And you’ll void your home warranty and homeowner’s insurance if discovered. It may save you a pretty penny to start, but it’s doubtful it will help long-term.
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