Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Risks of DIY Electrical Work

Risks of DIY Electrical Work

Image credit: kk+

Electric shock, house fires, and possible death; even this isn’t always enough to deter people from doing DIY electrical work.

Hiring an electrician can be expensive so it’s easy to see why many are tempted to try and undertake their own electrical work around the home. Whatever your motive might be, trying to perform DIY work without the proper training can be a dangerous endeavor.

In the USA alone, there are as many as 26,100 electrical fire related incidents and $1 billion in property losses in a typical year.

Listed below are some common risks and why you should proceed with care when attempting any type of electrical work in your home.

Wrong Type of Electrical Wire

Many people make the error of using the wrong gauge of electrical wire when wiring. This is a common cause of electrical fires as it can cause overheating and shorting of the fuse.

Ill-fitting Plugs and Sockets

This may seem like the simplest electrical task but it’s surprising how many people do not fit them tightly enough. Leaving gaps in the sockets can cause loose wiring and arcing which puts them at risk of overheating and poses a great fire risk.

Wrong Bulb Wattage

Many people are unknowingly using a too high wattage bulb in their light bulbs and may not realize until it is too late. Even using a bulb one wattage higher than what the socket can handle could make the bulb explode or catch alight.

Using the Wrong Fuse

Again, this is a relatively simple task that many people do themselves regularly. But the danger here is that many people do not use the correct fuse for the appliance they are using which can again cause house fires. It is important, if you do insist on changing your own fuse; to make sure it is compatible with the appliance you are using it in.

Repairing Instead of Replacing

Many of us at some point will be tempted to try and repair old or damaged wiring on appliances especially if we use them often. Wiring should always be replaced and not repaired and should be done by someone who is a qualified for repairing that particular appliance. Any old or damaged wiring is a fire hazard, even more so if tampered with by someone without the appropriate training.

Overloading Plug Sockets

Another common cause of fires in the home is overloading plug sockets. Particularly in the case of extension leads, having more than one extension lead plugged into a 2 socket wall outlet is exceeding the amp capacity for the plug socket. This is another fire hazard as it can cause overheating. Never overload a plug socket and avoid leaving multiple things plugged in that you are not using.

Safety Checklist

4 important things to remember;

  • Don’t overload plug sockets

  • Don’t keep things plugged in unnecessarily

  • Check wires for fraying and wear and tear

  • Take good care of appliances

Hiring a Contractor

When hiring an electrical contractor always do your research and make sure that they are up to date with their qualifications and the new safety regulations as these can change regularly. Word of mouth is always a good method of finding a reputable and fully qualified electrician. If unsure, hiring a contractor through a professional federation is the most reliable way of all. They can give you a list of all approved contractors in your local area. When you have found a contractor, try and agree on a price for the job and not an hourly rate. This can save you money and headaches in the long run.

Guest Post By:

Article written by A. Elliott; a writer with an interest in home improvement and interior design, she occasionally writes for Juice Electrical, electrical wholesalers specializing in energy saving products.

Have you had a DIY Project go wrong?  Share your story below and maybe you’ll help someone else from making the same mistake.




  1. It's important to hire a reliable electrician to handle your electrical issues. In doing so, you are assured of quality service and result. Also, this can save your house and your lives from any danger of faulty wiring. Safety is the priority when it comes to these types of works, so you should never engage on a DIY work without proper knowledge.

    -Margert Woodcock

    1. I agree Margert. DIY projects can be very dangerous and, without the proper knowledge and tools, people can be seriously injured. Thanks for the comment.