Electrical repairs are one of the most important types of DIY projects to make sure you are doing correctly. Even the simplest mistakes can create a fire hazard that can endanger your family and your home. While calling a professional electrician is always the safest route to take for electrical repairs, here are four mistakes that you should avoid if you are determined to handle simple electrical repairs yourself. Read more info below.
Replacing Fuses With Incorrect Sizes
Fuses that keep blowing after they are replaced can get frustrating very quickly. You may be tempted to solve the problem by simply installing a larger fuse, but this is one of the most dangerous things that you can do. Fuses are specifically sized for the gauge of the wires they are connected to, and using a larger fuse can cause the wire to overheat.
When a fuse keeps blowing, it is important to understand that the problem often lies with the circuit that the fuse is connected to, and not the fuse itself. You should check every outlet and appliance on that circuit for loose wiring or worn insulation so that you can eliminate the fire hazard.
Using Light Bulbs With the Wrong Wattage
If you are in desperate need of a replacement light bulb, you are not likely to check the wattage of the new bulb before you install it. While it may seem that high-wattage bulbs cause no problems and simply make the room brighter, you should remember that they also burn hotter. The higher wattage of the bulb puts extra strain on the contacts of the socket that they were not designed to handle, creating extra heat. While higher wattage bulbs may be an acceptable short-term fix, using them long-term poses a fire hazard through overheating.
Connecting Wires Outside of Electrical Boxes
Sparks and short circuits occur most frequently at wire connections, so it is important that your connections be housed in a junction box. Leaving wire connections unprotected is almost like asking for a fire. In addition to protecting your home from sparks, junction boxes make short circuits less likely to occur by protecting them from moisture. Because of this, it is especially important to use electrical boxes in places where your wires will be exposed to the elements, such as outdoor light fixtures or doorbells.
Installing Loose Outlets
You may think that installing electrical outlets and switches too loosely does nothing but harm their appearance, but it can also cause a fire hazard. If outlets and switches are loose enough to move around, it can allow the wires inside of them to loosen as well. As these wires wires become loose, it can cause arcing between the wires and the terminals. This electrical arcing can be especially dangerous because it is often a hidden hazard that does not trip the breaker that the outlet or switch is connected to.
One solution for loose outlets or switches is to place a shim under the screws holding the panel in place. This will keep the panel more firmly connected to the electrical box and prevent the wires inside from coming loose. If you do not want to buy a specialized spacer at the hardware store, you can simply put a washer on the bottom of the screw between the panel and the wall.
While most homeowners rely on a professional for all electrical repairs, there are a few simple repairs that virtually anyone can do at home. Keep these tips in mind when you are doing your own electrical repairs, and always remember to turn off the breaker to the circuit that you are working on.