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Common Mistakes Made by DIY Electricians at Home

No GFCIAny home can develop electrical problems at any given time. I see a lot of DIY mistakes and incorrectly repaired issues in homes from time to time, and electrical is included in the list of problems. There is good reason why electricians need to be trained and certified, aside from the immediate safety risks. People who attempt to do their own electrical work often make mistakes, and here are some good examples.

1.       Poor electrical box installation – an electrical box should not protrude from the wall. You have to take into account the thickness of the drywall so that the front of the box will be flush against the surface.

2.       Overloading of electrical boxes – with too many wires packed into one box there is the danger of overheating. Your equipment could short circuit and there is also the risk of a fire. The Electrical Code outlines the sizes of boxes that should be used in installations.

3.       Failure to properly support switches and electrical outlets – you should not have outlets and switches that shake every time you use them.

4.       Leaving cables exposed – these are prone to damage during installations, and this is a major building code violation as well

5.       Not cutting wires to the correct length – wires that are too short can put stress on connections and pose a hazard. It is easier to work with wires that extend a few inches from boxes.

6.       Setting up connections outside of electrical boxes – the boxes are meant to shield these connections. Sparks from these connections could cause fires without this protection.

7.       Failure to add ground wires where necessary – electrical systems can work without grounding wires but they play a vital role in protecting the system and your appliances. No two-slot outlet should be installed in a spot where a three-slot outlet should be.

8.       Switching hot and neutral wires – this common electrical wiring error can cause damage to your equipment even it seems to be working properly for a while. This switch is also one of the main reasons why people get electrical shocks in the home.

Surprisingly, some homeowners set out to do electrical work without already having the proper tools on hand. Essential items include needle-nose pliers, a voltage tester, wire stripper, and electrical tape. The bottom line is, when it comes to major electrical jobs, call a professional. Changing a light switch can be easy, but many tasks must meet Electrical Code standards to protect your home and family.

A professional electrician can back up their work with a good business record and good workmanship. Those are some of the things I look for when performing a home inspection. Proper wiring, working lighting, properly installed GFCI outlets, and a clean electrical box are just a few of the things that are picked by any good home inspector. Give me a call at 480-570-5615 if you’re in Gilbert or the surrounding areas and would like to schedule a consultation or home inspection.

Kevin Shroyer - PrimeSpec Consulting, LLC

Kevin Shroyer is the owner of PrimeSpec Consulting, LLC - A home inspection company located in Gilbert, AZ. Having over 25 years in the building trades industries, he brings a level of knowledge and quality unmatched in the business. Need an inspection in the Phoenix. AZ area? Call 480-570-5615 for a free quote.

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