Do’s and Don’ts of DYI Electrical Projects

Spring has sprung and although there are plenty of electricians in Arkansas qualified to tackle your spring project list, at Gary Houston Electric Company, we know you’re itching to jump in with both feet and take the DIY world by storm. A winter spent watching HGTV does that to a person.

There are some tasks around the home you can do safely IF (and this is a big IF) you have a full understanding of what you are about to do and how you’re going to do it. We don’t mean pretty sure, either. Working around electricity and doing it wrong has only two likely outcomes, both bad, so if you don’t fully understand the task, please call us. We’ll have a licensed electrician on the way, and for a lot less than replacing your home or a trip to the hospital (or worse) will set you back.

So, here goes. Let’s look at a few “dos” first:

  • DO – Have the proper tools for the job (and know how to use them).
  • DO – Test the circuit after you’ve cut the power (use a multimeter or circuit tester, – see above).
  • DO – Use proper wire strippers to prep wire ends (A knife can damage the wiring – or you – and using your teeth – do we even need to say why that’s a bad idea?).
  • Do – Have a flashlight handy.
  • DO – Test all switches BEFORE you start work – and if you leave the area even for a minute – test them again.
  • DO – Label all the wires after removing any switches or outlets so you’ll know where to reattach them (once all those wires are hanging loose they start looking alike).

Now some don’ts:

  • DON’T – Trust breaker box labels, especially if you didn’t put them in. You could be in for a nasty shock if you just flip the switch that says “Kitchen” and start in ripping light fixtures down.
  • DON’T – Attempt any job bigger than changing a light fixture, replacing a wall receptacle, or attaching a dryer cord. Rewiring jobs, breaker boxes, room additions, if you aren’t a licensed electrician, you need one for those kinds of jobs.
  • DON’T – Rush the job. Give yourself plenty of time and take all of it. Getting in a rush is never a good idea with electricity.
  • DON’T – Bite off more than you can chew. Remember the first rule of holes; when you discover you’re in one, stop digging.

Then, call Gary Houston at 501-375-8330 and we’ll have a licensed electrician headed your way. Or, before you start, you can contact us online here and we’ll be glad to come out and look things over. Estimates are always free and the cost of having a professional do the job is often far less than you might think.