Three Common Mistakes To Avoid When Doing DIY Electrical Projects
Working on electricity in your home as part of a DIY project can be dangerous if you make mistakes. Unless you are experienced in such projects, many of the more complicated projects should be left to a professional. However, that is not to say that you cannot undertake some of the easier jobs and build up your skill and confidence this way. Even very skilled DIY enthusiasts will still have to have their electrical work checked and verified by a qualified electrician. To help you with your electrical DIY projects, this article looks at some of the most common mistakes that are made and how to avoid them.
Making Connections Outside Of A Junction Box
When starting out with DIY electrical jobs, it can be easy to make a connection between wires without even considering a junction box. Avoid this, and get into the good habit of using a junction box every time you do make an electrical connection. The boxes not only protect the wires at the connection point, they will shield you and others from spark arising from a damaged connected. For example, if you are connecting an outside light to your property, fit a junction box and make the connection inside of the box.
Cutting Wires That Are Too Short
Cutting wires that are too short to make a connection is another common error. This can force you to make a poor connection. This, in turn, can increase the danger associated with the connection. Avoid this by ensuring that you leave enough wire protruding from an outlet or box – two or three inches will suffice. If you are making a repair and find that someone else has cut the wires too short, go to the hardware store and pick up some wire extensions. These have two holes, one for the short wire and another for the connecting wire. The connection is made inside the extension and allows you some extra length to safely work with.
Not Protecting Cable
It can be easy, especially in places such as the garage, basement or loft, to leave electrical cabling exposed and, for instance, running between the ceiling framing. This is dangerous – in fact, the electrical cabling code instructs you to never do this; the cable can easily become damaged. The solution to this is to purchase a protective sheathing for the cable. The sheath is screwed into the ceiling frame alongside the exposed cable. The cable is then placed inside the sheath, and will be protected.
Always turn the power to the property off when undertaking electrical repairs. If you cannot identify which circuit should be switched off, turn the power off at the mains.