The Risks of DIY Electrical Work

There are a lot of great reasons to take on your own home improvement projects.

Typically, DIY repair projects and upgrades are cheaper than working with a professional, and there’s no need to research the contractors in your area, comply with someone else’s schedule or deal with pesky service windows.

However, some repairs and home improvement projects are ill-suited for DIY, and electrical work is definitely one of them.

When it comes to electrical work, it’s almost never a good idea to handle it on your own. Keep reading to learn about just a few of the many reasons why.

6 reasons you should never attempt your own electrical work

#1. YouTube can only take you so far

As a new homeowner, I can’t tell you enough how thankful I am for good old YouTube tutorials. With just a quick search, I can learn anything, from how to properly unclog a drain to tips on preventative dishwasher maintenance. However, not every home repair project can or should be attempted on your own, even with the might of YouTube behind you.

Electrical work is one of those things you shouldn’t try to learn from a YouTube video. For one, most people don’t have basic electrical knowledge to fall back on to fill in any gaps in understanding left behind from the tutorial. Furthermore, most electrical projects are more complicated than your average DIY project.

#2. You could get shocked or electrocuted

Compared to many other home improvement projects, DIY electrical work is a lot more dangerous. When you’re painting your own walls, for example, the biggest risk is falling off your stepping stool, or ending up with an unattractive paint job. But, with electrical work, electrical shock is always a real risk.

Voltage levels in your average home range from around 110 volts for power outlets and lights to around 240 for larger appliances. At the low end, the shock could give you a jolt, but at the high end, the shock could be deadly.

All it takes is forgetting to turn off the power at your circuit breaker for a terrible accident to occur, and it happens all too often. It’s not worth the risk.

#3. You could violate building codes

The most common mistake homeowners make when taking on DIY home repairs is skipping necessary building permits and neglecting to comply with applicable codes. This is especially common where DIY electrical work is concerned, because many electrical projects require building permits.

If you skip a building permit, you won’t have access to a licensed inspector who can make sure that your electrical work complies with safety codes and regulations. It also means potentially risking the safety of your family and/or neighbors.

If caught, you could be penalized for failing to comply with codes or acquire the right building permits in a number of ways, including fines and possibly even imprisonment.

#4. You could start an electrical fire

Next to electrical shock, an electrical fire is probably the biggest, most dangerous risk of attempting your own electrical work. And, all it takes is one simple mistake, many of which are incredibly common.

A few common causes of electrical fires:

  • Faulty wiring – Age, improper installation and pest damage can all lead to wiring problems that can cause electrical fires.
  • Electric system overloads – Overloading your electrical system by plugging too many things into an outlet can lead to electrical fires.
  • Extension cord problems – If extension cords become old or damaged, if they’re improperly placed or relied on too heavily, they can cause electrical fires.
  • Incorrect lightbulb wattage – Installing a light bulb that has too-high-wattage for the fixture can lead to an electrical fire.

#5. You may need a professional anyway

Even if you equip yourself with the best YouTube tutorial and manage to avoid hurting yourself, someone else or your property, there’s always the risk of failure. It’s easy to do electrical work wrong, and you may end up having to hire a professional anyway.

Most people don’t have all of the tools they need on hand to do their own electrical work, which means that a DIY electrical project may require a trip to your local hardware store. Then, there’s the investment of time to consider.

A lot of people decide to do their own electrical work in order to avoid spending the money to hire someone, but it’s important to realize that DIY isn’t necessarily free. And, if you end up needing to hire a professional electrician anyway, you’ll end paying even more in the end.

#6. You could lose insurance coverage

If there’s one thing that insurance companies aren’t thrilled about, it’s risk. Insurance companies would rather not have to shell out the cash to fix things, and they certainly won’t cover a homeowner who is taking on more risk than necessary.

As I mentioned, there’s always the chance that your DIY fix won’t work, that you’ll cause further damage or that it won’t be compliant with building codes. And, unfortunately, the likelihood that your insurance company will cover you in these circumstances is slim to none, leaving you to foot the bill.

Gain peace of mind by finding the right electrician near you

There are a myriad of reasons as to why it’s not a good idea to do your own electrical work, which means that if you’re in need of electrical services, you’ll need to find the right local electrician for your needs.

Start your search for an electrician near you with Top Rated Local. You can learn about the best electricians in your area, read electrician reviews from across the web, compare electricians side by side and more — all from one place.

Not all electricians are made equal, but with Top Rated Local on your side, you’ll have everything you need to find the right one for your needs.

Find an electrician near you today!

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