Many homeowners know the pride and satisfaction that results from completing DIY repairs and improvements. But when it comes to electrical work, the stakes of making a rookie mistake can be high.
There are several common electrical projects that aren’t complicated or extensive, but even the simplest jobs can result in serious injury or property damage if they’re performed improperly. Before making any plans to engage in a DIY electrical project, it’s important to know the risks.
What Can Go Wrong
Electricians undergo an enormous amount of training in order to earn the licenses and certifications they need to do their work. That’s because mistakes could not only be dangerous for them, but also for anyone in the homes or buildings they’re working on. Even if you know your way around the circuit box, here’s what an electrical mishap can bring:
- Electrocution. Though the term is sometimes misapplied to non-fatal electrical shock, electrocution is when a person is killed by electrical current flowing through the body. The voltage in ordinary residential electrical wiring can be life threatening.
- Electrical shock. While not immediately fatal, a serious electrical shock can lead to additional side effects, including seizures, breathing difficulty and cardiac arrest.
- Burns. Even minor shocks will almost always result in some sort of contact burn, and these can be severe.
- Property destruction. Even if you come away unharmed, that doesn’t mean your home will be so lucky. Faulty electrical work can spark fires.
Hiring Electricians Saves Money
One of the most common reasons why electrical novices attempt this sort of work is to save money. But that plan can easily backfire even if no one gets hurt in the process.
Poorly performed electrical work can spark destructive fires. It can also fry circuits, destroy fixtures and even damage major appliances. When things go wrong, the cost of repairs is usually several times what it would cost to hire an electrician in the first place.
Making matters much worse, homeowners insurance companies will typically ask for confirmation that electrical work was performed by a licensed electrician before covering any damage from a related event. If your insurance carrier learns that you did the work on your own to save a few dollars, you could lose your claim or even invalidate your policy. Be sure you understand your full policy details before engaging in DIY work.
Know the Code?
When you hire an electrician, you’re not just passing the risk along to a professional -- you’re hiring someone who has knowledge you don't even realize your lacking.
Electrical work is constantly getting safer and more reliable through updates to the electrical code. Licensed electricians are required to keep up with this code as it evolves, so when you work with a professional, you can count on receiving the safest electrical work possible. When you go it alone, you may follow outdated methods because you weren’t aware of the code update.
Don’t take a chance. Your life and home are too valuable. When you need electrical work performed safely and properly, call upon your knowledgeable, licensed, local electricians.