Why You Should Never DIY Electrical Repairs
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Posted December 20, 2019
On average, American homeowners have nine unfinished home projects on their to-do list. 55% of these homeowners will also attempt to complete these projects themselves. But, only 31% of these do-it-yourselfers report that their DIY projects were successful. DIY culture is booming in the U.S. due to a vast amount of home improvement TV shows and tutorials readily available on the Internet. These tutorials and TV shows can make projects seem easier than they actually are. These tutorials and shows also don’t always account for individual project needs. They might leave out vital steps, making the project appear much simpler than it actually is. Other factors they might leave out are safety precautions, building codes, and materials needed to complete the project successfully. This is especially true when it comes to completing DIY electrical repairs. In fact, electrical repairs should always be left to the professionals.
Want to find out why? Read on to learn why you should definitely skip DIY electrical repairs and opt for a professional to complete the job.
Why You Should Leave Electrical Repairs to the Professionals
An electrical malfunction is listed by the U.S. Fire Administration as one of the top causes of house fires. To avoid the risk of malfunctioning electrical repairs, call a professional. Take note of these additional reasons electrical repairs should always be left to the professionals.
When you attempt to complete electrical repairs on your own you put your own health, the health of others, and your property at risk.
Completing electrical work is dangerous business. When completing electrical repairs electrocution, shock and fires could result. Items in your home also have higher voltages. The higher the voltage, the more dangerous the project.
Hidden junction boxes and connections are also tricky to maneuver around. Since these components are meant to be out of sight, the chance of getting shocked by them increases.
Fires could also occur due to faulty wiring. Faulty wiring causes shorts which then can ignite a house fire. Faulty wiring can also go undetected for years leaving the homeowner to feel like it was a DIY job well done until a fire occurs.
All of these risk factors can result in serious injury or even death. In the U.S. alone 51,000 house fires are caused by electrical components and systems. These fires cost a total of $1.3 billion dollars in property damage per year.
To reduce risks, proper procedures need to be followed. If you decide to do electrical work on your home, then receive any necessary permits for completing the work. When the work is complete, then make sure to have your work inspected by a licensed electrical inspector.
The best way to minimize risks, however, is to hire a professional licensed electrician.
Electricians are trained and complete apprenticeship hours to perfect their craft and adhere to safety protocols. They also must pass a licensing test in order to work as an electrician.
To become an electrician, an individual needs to complete 600 hours of in-class instruction covering safety, electrical circuits, and blueprint reading. Electricians will then complete on-the-job training under the supervision of a licensed electrician.
These requirements for becoming an electrician illustrate that working with electrical components and wiring is risky and difficult. It’s work that shouldn’t be taken lightly no matter how many online tutorials someone watches.
It may seem like turning off the power to complete electrical repairs is all that is necessary, but when the power comes back on the wiring may cause safety problems.
Electricians are trained to learn how to minimize immediate and long-term safety risks. They know what kind of component and wiring needs to be installed, why, and where. As an untrained DIYer, these safety protocols and electrical component knowledge are too complicated to always follow properly.
If you want to keep your electrical components and homes safe, then focus on general work every homeowner can do. Use light bulbs matching the wattage of the fixture, replace frayed or broken cords, and avoid overloading outlets.
Be alert to the signs of electrical problems in your home as well. Some signs of an electrical problem include lights dimming or flickering and/or the circuit breaker tripping frequently. Another sign of an electrical problem that could be harmful is hearing a buzzing or sizzling sound from your electrical system.
If any of these warning signs appear, they could point to faulty wiring or a need to replace your electrical panel. Always contact a qualified electrician to inspect your home and fix the problem.
For some electrical work, a permit is required in order to legally do the work. These permits ensure that local codes and safety protocols are properly followed. Professional electricians and contractors must also obtain permits to complete jobs.
Some of these permits also require that you remain in the residence at least a year after the repairs are completed if you intend on doing the work yourself.
It’s also illegal in some places to do electrical work and get paid to complete the project with a license. People who own or work for a business are also not allowed to conduct electrical repairs without a license. If you are caught doing electrical work without a permit or a license you could face fines and even jail time for continued violations.
If you or another person, even someone in your family got hurt as a result of improper electrical work, then you could also be prosecuted.
Some laws state that you are allowed to complete certain electrical work without a license only if it’s for a close relative, your own home, and does not include any commercial or industrial components such as a public meter. You are allowed to work on an appliance of a close relative, for example, but you are not allowed to complete any additional low voltage work on their home. When working on appliances, certain codes and safety protocols still must be followed.
For allowable electrical repairs, the repairs must be completed only for your home. Allowable electrical repairs include replacing switches, repairing light fixtures, and replacing fuse cartridges and wires. For all allowable electrical repairs, check with your local laws to ensure the electrical work you are completing is legal.
If you do choose to install wiring in your home you must hire a licensed electrical inspector to connect the cables to the electric supply. The inspector will also check the wiring to make sure it’s up to code. If the wiring is up to code, then the inspector will issue you a Certificate of Compliance.
It’s also important to hire a licensed professional. Many handymen and unlicensed electricians are willing to do the work. But, this also comes with risk for you as a homeowner.
Licensed contractors carry insurance and workman’s compensation. This means that they take on the liability for their workers and the work they are conducting.
If an unlicensed contractor or handyman’s worker got hurt while working on your home, then the worker could sue you. They could sue for medical bills and lost wages since the incident occurred on your property.
To avoid this type of issue, it’s important to hire a licensed electrician service or contractor. You should also ask to see their license and proof of insurance. Make sure that their insurance also includes workmen’s compensation.
Even if an unlicensed contractor has a stellar reputation, it’s important to protect yourself and your financial well-being. Licensed contract and electrical work may cost more upfront, but you can rest easy knowing that you will not be held responsible for any mishaps.
These laws apply to other trades as well. Such as painting, carpentry, and HVAC work also need to be completed by an individual or company who is licensed and has insurance.
4. Failed Inspections
Another issue concerning DIY electrical work is failed inspections. If you completed electrical work on your home which required a permit, then it’s also necessary for a licensed electrical inspector to inspect the work once it’s complete to ensure it’s up to code and safe. If you complete electrical work without getting an inspection, then heavy fines could result.
Electrical inspectors are charged with ensuring the safety of all the electrical components of your home before they can be used. It is simply standard procedure for them to check electrical components because of the risk involved if the electrical work turns out to be faulty.
When you attempt to sell your home, any DIY electrical repairs will also be discovered by the buyer’s home inspector or during the point of sale inspection completed by a city inspector. If electrical repairs without a permit are discovered then the city inspector may require the work to be exposed and inspected which could be more expenses for you such as tearing down drywall.
The buyer’s inspector won’t pull permits for electrical and other work done on the home. However, they will notice and alert the buyer if the electrical work is improperly completed. This alone could cost you the sale of your home because buyers want to live in a safe home.
They also want to live in a home that is compliant and up to safety and building codes. The potential buyer of your home, if they are knowledgeable, will not want to take on the risk of taking on fines and paying for the job to be done correctly and compliantly.
If the buyer of your home does hire a licensed electrician who discovers violations and a lack of permits, then you will likely be fined heavily if the sale is still under contract. At this time, you may be forced to pay for the faulty electrical work before the close of the sale.
If the faulty electrical work is discovered after the sale, then you may still be held liable. This could trigger your home’s buyer to consider legal action against you for not informing them about the lack of permits and faulty electrical work. Especially, if the unpermitted work was not listed on the home disclosure.
5. Insurance Concerns
Insurance companies have the right to deny any claims resulting from negligence. If you’re not getting the proper permits and getting a licensed electrical inspector to inspect your work, then your insurance company may deem you negligent if damage to your home occurs as a result.
For example, if your home catches fire due to faulty and illegal electrical work, then the insurance company has the right to deny your claim.
They may also deem you negligent if you simply didn’t know that faulty electrical work had been done to your home. Your home is your responsibility. Some other people involved may be partly or mostly at fault, but your insurance company will be the deciding factor as to whether or not your claim resulted from negligence.
Sadly, the only negligence you may be guilty of is simply from you not knowing about the faulty electrical work in the first place. That’s why it’s also a good idea to have a licensed electrician inspect a home before purchasing it.
A denied claim is a high price to pay especially when hiring an electrician would have been far more economical.
Electrical Repairs: Always Hire a Professional
When any electrical repairs are needed, make sure to thoroughly do your research. Ask a qualified electrician for their opinion as well. Make sure that your contractor and/or electrician is also following the law.
They must get the proper permits, have insurance, and have their work inspected.
The best course of action is to always leave electrical work to the professionals. If you are itching to complete a DIY project, then stick to painting and other cosmetic projects!
Check out our blog post to learn more about the electrical amp service in your home and which electrical line may be right for you. It may be time to upgrade!
If you are in need of a qualified electrician, then contact us today to request an appointment so that we can connect you with a highly skilled, background checked, and drug tested electrician to complete electrical work on your home.