DIY or Do-It-Yourself projects can be a great way to improve the value of your home and save money at the same time but where electrical work is concerned, DIY is one phrase that should never be considered. One of the biggest dangers of DIY Electrical work is simply the fact that electricity can be deadly when not handled properly.
The Electrical Safety Foundation reported that electricity is the cause of more than $140,000 fires each year, resulting in 400 deaths, 4,000 injuries, and $1.6 billion in property damages.
Below are some of the dangers associated with DIY electrical work.
When doing a DIY electrical project, if you make a mistake you can very well be shocked for it. A minor shock is not serious but it is considered lucky when it comes to electrical injuries. Serious instances of electrocution can cause deep burns, the higher the voltage the more you are at risk for internal injuries. This means a high voltage shock can result in nerve damage that affects control over your lungs, heart and ventricular fibrillation which can be deadly. Anyone attempting to help that is physically touching you or the electrical point would also get electrocuted.
Simple mistakes can lead to an electrical fire. Electrical fires are dangerous and unlike regular fires, it’s dangerous to use water to extinguish the flames. The water will conduct the electricity and electrocute anyone nearby who gets wet.
Here are some common errors that can lead to a potential electrical fire.
- Incorrect bulb wattage: Replacing a light bulb is simple enough, but using the wrong wattage could lead to an electrical fire.
- Wrong fuse size or amperage: A fuse is a safety device that breaks the circuit if the current running through it goes above what is considered safe. If the wrong fuse is put in (e.g. the amateur puts in a larger fuse, thinking it can handle higher currents), it could be a fire hazard.
- Improper use of electrical wire: Not all wires are made equal. There are Romex wires (the non-metallic sheathed kind), single strand wires, and all other sorts of lines and cables. Because of this, you can’t just put any wire on any electrical system. But since you don’t know the difference, your DIY project is a massive short circuit waiting to happen.
- Faulty installation of switches and outlets: To the untrained, switch and outlets are complex. Imagine having to figure out which wire is neutral or ground, then splicing the correct cables together. Because of this, any attempt to install such systems could lead to errors, a short circuit, or even an electrical fire.
Code violations and building permits
- Nearly all communities require you to have a building permit for any significant electrical work. This isn’t just to keep track of the taxable value of your home or office! It’s also to make sure that any work done meets the local building and safety codes. In most cases, the permit must be requested by a licensed, professional electrician or an electrical contractor who employs licensed electricians.
Remember that unlicensed electrical work is against the law so individuals guilty of this can face severe fines of up to $100,000, while companies can be penalized up to $500,000, depending on the state or territory. You can also serve a prison sentence of two years. If your violation causes deaths, you’ll have to deal with larger penalties and a lengthier prison term.
Even if you are able to avoid a fire or other safety issue when performing DIY electrical repairs, connecting your wiring improperly can cause it to fail. Having to pay a professional electrician on top of the money and time you already spent to attempt DIY electrical wiring—will cost you more money in the end.
However, in every instance, a certified and professional electrician should be sought to complete all electrical service work. It is simply too dangerous not to use a skilled and qualified electrician. Always make sure you hire a professional electrician. Transworld, Inc. Electrical Contractor requires that all our electricians are licensed and certified; we do not hire electrician helpers.