Homeowner Electrical Safety

by Dave Collins on May 9, 2013

in Electrical Safety



Homeowner Home Improvement Electrical Safety

Electrical dangers are well-known among electricians, carpenters and homeowners alike. Most people know that the wrong move with electricity can kill you. However, even with this general knowledge, people continue to be fatally injured every year by electricity. This is especially prominent among homeowners, so let’s take a look at some homeowner electrical safety tips and tricks.

Call Before You Dig

Whenever you plan to dig in your yard, whether to plant a tree or to create a walkway, call your local electrical company for an electrical assessment. An employee will come to your home to mark the location of underground electrical wires (also available for gas and water services). Some areas offer a one call service where you call one number to have all three service providers mark your lines; check your phonebook for details.

Use Care in Demolition

In most cases, the current homeowners have not built their own homes. Instead, they have usually purchased the house from another owner, that owner from a previous owner, and so forth. In fact, homes may be over one hundred years old and may have had many renovations throughout these years.

For this reason, the location of electrical wires may be questionable in some cases. Although wires should be located next to the studs, some wiring may be located improperly within the walls. This opens up the home renovator to potential electrical contact when demolition occurs.

Therefore, whenever completing wall demolition, care should be taken to turn off the electricity before puncturing the wall. Once the electricity is turned off, carefully make a few holes in the wall. Then check the location of wires. If improperly placed free within the cavity (rather than properly attached to the studs), take as much care as possible in wall removal to ensure you do not puncture electrical lines.

Hire the Experts

Some electrical home improvement tasks can be rather easily completed by an experienced homeowner. Changing out a ceiling light, for example, is often manageable by a homeowner. Other electrical home improvement projects may be more difficult (or even illegal) for homeowners to accomplish on their own. These can include the following:

  • Replacing an electrical panel
  • Rewiring the home to bring it up to code
  • Wiring a two-way or three-way light
  • Adding a ceiling light where it did not exist before
  • Replacing a fixture with a more complicated fixture, like replacing a bathroom fan with a fan/heater/light combo
  • Adding wiring to a new room in the home
  • Drawing electricity from the house to an exterior shed

Of course, some of these projects can be completed by experienced homeowners as long as the proper electrical permits and certified inspections are completed. However, rules vary, so check with your local government agency to ensure the legality before completing any electrical repairs.

Electricity can be dangerous, especially in home repairs, but if you follow the proper precautions and hire the experts as needed, you can be sure to ensure your safety and your family’s safety.

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